Zoo scamper to find stride as KPL takes shape

Idah Sosthenes (L) of Thika United FC fouls Nicholas Kipkurui of Zoo Kericho FC during ...
Idah Sosthenes (L) of Thika United FC fouls Nicholas Kipkurui of Zoo Kericho FC during their SportPesa Premier League match played at Thika sub county stadium in Thika on April 09, 2017. Thika United FC won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Arriving to the top flight with so much promise after being denied thrice in a row, Zoo Kericho FC have suffered a nightmare introduction to life in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) with their fifth straight loss marking the side as an early candidate for relegation.

That the former National Super League (NSL) giants are yet to score a single goal in at least 450 minutes of KPL football invokes some hindsight of their struggles down below as the league begins to take shape.

Only three points separate top spot from sixth with record title titleholders Gor Mahia FC leading that tight pack on 12 points. Posta Rangers, Bandari FC, Sofapaka FC and AFC Leopards complete the list of sides that have already hit double figures in points tally.

Responding to questions over Zoo’s floundering form, Head Coach Sammy Okoth had last week told journalists his side is improving gradually and despite revival in round five, a rampant Sofapaka side scored twice in three minutes and inside a tormenting first seven minutes.

That match ended 3-0 and marked what is likely to be a turbulent spell in the top flight for the side that enjoys an enormous support in its Kericho hometown. ‘

“We are coming up well despite the losses, although luck has not been on our side.

“The players are improving and will soon defend their presence in the Premier League. We may have started poorly but that is not the pattern for the whole season,” the tactician said.

According to the traditional way of promoting and relegating teams, Zoo had failed to make it on sporting merit having finished outside top two in last season’s NSL campaign.

The league expansion by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the club licensing criteria eventually saw Zoo promoted, alongside Nakumatt FC which has however fought hard to prove her worth in the league with four points so far.

-Rangers splendid at the back-

Rangers Coach Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omolo hailed his team for ‘splendid defensive display’ noting it kept their unbeaten record in Monday’s 1-0 win over resilient Mathare United.

“We defended very well after scoring. The backline was extra vigilant to contain Mathare strikers who grew more dangerous towards the end of the match.

“So far so good, we hope we can sustain the momentum going forward,” Omolo underscored.

The team was not distracted despite having four of first squad members in Harambee Stars camp for the Malawi friendly preparation.

Goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, defenders Simon Mbugua and Captain Joakins Atudo, and midfielder Geoffrey Kataka were in Stanley Okumbi’s camp for the better part of the week.

Compared to Gor that withdrew her five members who were called for the same duty, Posta players arguably proved power and substance in the two assignments.

Before their match against Muhoroni, Leopards Head Coach Stewart Hall had revealed he would employ ‘plan B’ to tame his opponents with several first team players injured.

It indeed worked, with Allan Kateregga scoring the lone goal that sent Muhoroni to relegation zone, just a place above Zoo.

Kariobangi Sharks registered their second win sinking Nakumatt 1-0, affirming caoch William Muluya’s sentiments they were learning from first three straight losses into the topflight.

The first runners up in the 2016 National Super League (NSL) are now 10th on the log.

Holders Tusker are still struggling to find last season’s rhythm that bore their double domestic trophies (KPL and FKF GOtv Shield).

A 1-1 draw against Ulinzi left the George ‘Best’ Nsimbe coached side at 14th, with a single win and two draws.

For Citizen TV updates
Join @citizentvke Telegram channel

Video Of The Day: On Viusasa, now you can download your videos and play them back later

Story By Jacob Icia
More by this author