AFC Leopards, Tusker, Sofapaka and Ulinzi Stars were once again expected to challenge Gor Mahia for the SportPesa Premier League title having underachieved last season but early indications are that they are in for another struggle unless things change quickly in the 2018/19 season.
Instead, it is Bandari, Mathare, Kakamega Homeboyz and newly-promoted Western Stima who are hogging the limelight, having recored maximum points in the opening two matches while the aforementioned struggle to gain points.
Bandari, who finished second last season, had made it clear that this campaign is ‘theirs’ and they seem to be living true to that promise.
The dockers opened the season with a 2-1 victory over the biggest scalp of them all, Gor Mahia, before serving the same dose to Sofapaka on Sunday. Against Sofapaka, they conceded in the first minute but upped the ante in the second half to claim maximum points.
That never-say-die attitude coupled with the fact that they have got the better of two title contenders gives Bandari belief that a title tilt is possible this year. Consistency has also been key to the success of Bandari who have maintained the bulk of the squad that finished second.
In contrast, Tusker who off-loaded almost 13 players have found the going extremely tough as they have to taste victory to the disappointment of their fans.
The brewers drew 1-1 with Sony Sugar on the opening day before a shock 1-0 reverse to Stima left them scratching their heads for answers. While Tusker struggle, Stima, Homeboyz and Mathare are perhaps ahead of schedule as far as their season’s target is concerned.
Mathare confirmed their place at the summit of the table with a comfortable 3-0 win over Nzoia Sugar FC and not to be outdone, Homeboyz inflicted Leopards a 3-0 defeat at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, leaving Ingwe with just one point and set for yet another season of pain.
Meanwhile, Kariobangi Sharks, fresh from a barren draw with Asante Kotoko in the Africa CAF Confederation Cup, resume league action today when they take on Sony Sugar at Kasarani Stadium from 3pm.
Against Kotoko, Sharks were wasteful as they drew 0-0 and coach William Muluya will hope to have rectified the mistakes as they seek a maximum point haul. Sharks start firm favourites and are expected to lean heavily on James Mazembe, Duke Abuya, Sydney Lokale and George Abege.