The 2018/19 SportPesa Premier League got off to a pulsating start with defending champions and record title winners Gor Mahia given a reality check in Mombasa following their 2-1 loss to Bandari.
Mathare United, Vihiga United and Sofapaka also registered wins to set pace early while AFC Leopards and Kariobangi Sharks, two clubs tipped to end Gor’s two-year dominanceat the top flight shared spoils in a riveting encounter.
Returnees Western Stima started positively as they dismissed Posta Rangers in Nakuru while KCB did not just lose their first game but became the first team to draw a red card in the new season.
Gor’s loss at Mbaraki Sports Club coupled with spirited performances by Bandari, Leopards, Sharks, Mathare and to some extent Tusker, who picked a point in Awendo against Sony Sugar, aroused the football fraternity and heightened belief that K’Ogalo could be dethroned this season.
Tusker started the league poorly in the last two seasons but nearly picked three points against a tough Sony away from home. Robert Matano’s side were pegged back by Enock Agwanda’s 80th minute leveler to spark golden boot talk for the burly forward.
“The ultimate goal is to win this title and we are very prepared to go all the way.
We strengthened the team with new additions and have prepared well but we know we cannot win all matches. Getting a point away to Sony is very positive and we consider it a point gained rather than two lost,” said Matano.
Francis Kimanzi of Mathare is also buoyed by their great start away to Chemelil Sugar and foresees a thrilling race for the title potentially with his team at the apex in June when the season concludes.
“The team prepared well and we are happy to have retained most of our players unlike previous calendars when we lost quite a good number.
Our focus is to take each game at a time and I’m happy we started well. Hopefully, we will maintain the tempo till the end and win the title,” Kimanzi said.
Agwanda scored nine goals in the second half of last season and has already ignited talk of toping the scorer’s chart with his strike on Sunday. Mathare’s Clifford Alwanga also opened his account against Chemelil on a weekend that saw 17 goals scored.