Nzoia, Sharks face Tusker, Gor in KPL baptism of fire

Edgar Nzano Onyango (left) of Nzoia United FC celebrate with teammate Lawrence Juma after scoring ...
Edgar Nzano Onyango (left) of Nzoia United FC celebrate with teammate Lawrence Juma after scoring against Gor Mahia FC during their GOtv Shield tournament match at Mumias Sports Complex on August 28, 2016. Nzoia United FC won 1-0. Photo Oliver Ananda/

Tusker FC will launch their defence of the Kenyan Premier League crown against last year’s second division champions Nzoia United in a mouth-watering opener to the 2017 Kenyan Premier League season next Saturday.

According to the fixtures released by the KPL this afternoon, four opening round fixtures including the big clash between AFC Leopards and Ulinzi Stars have been rescheduled for a later date.

The highlight game of the opening Sunday will see promoted Kariobangi Sharks face a baptism of fire when they host wounded record title winners Gor Mahia.

Kakamega Homeboyz and Western Stima will also not be in action next weekend pending the determination of the pending two teams that will join the 16 listed for the 2017 KPL.

Sharks Head Coach William Muluya warned his charges are out to upset Gor as he prepares for his first feel of life in the country’s top flight.

With his opposite number at Gor, Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira rallying the 15-time champions to stamp their authority early in the campaign, the stage is set for a titanic battle.

“I’m delighted because we start with probably our best test.  We’ve had a good pre-season with plans otherwise interrupted by the delayed kick-off. The positive thing is that all clubs were affected so the difference will depend on how each of us managed the break.

“I believe in my squad and I believe they have what it takes to compete at the KPL level,” the former Mathare Youth tactician stated.

Kariobangi Sharks finished second on the 20-team National Super League (NSL) in the 2016 season behind Nzoia to earn automatic promotion.

Coincidentally, Gor whom they clash in the season’s opener finished second in the top division as Tusker took the league title they had held for three successive years from their grip.

Bandari FC host promoted Nakumatt FC with another while former NSL outfit Zoo Kericho FC play hosts to Posta Rangers.

Salim Babu’s Sony Sugar take on Chemelil FC at Awendo.

According to KPL, owing to the unavailability of the Nyayo National Stadium and the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, during different periods of the season, matches which would have been slotted to be played there have been marked as TBA.

The body further stated that Zoo’s home matches have been marked as TBA pending a further inspection of their turf – Kericho Green Stadium – by the Stadia Safety and Security Committee (SSSC).

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Story By Jacob Icia
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