Bandari are surely the real league champs

Monday May 27 2019

Bandari winger Abdallah Hassan (right) celebrates his goal against Zoo Kericho with his team mates during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Mbaraki sports ground in Mombasa on May 19, 2019. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA |

Bandari winger Abdallah Hassan (right) celebrates his goal against Zoo Kericho with his team mates during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Mbaraki sports ground in Mombasa on May 19, 2019. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

PHILIP ONYANGO
By PHILIP ONYANGO
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Let me start by congratulating our bitter rivals Gor Mahia for winning their third straight SportPesa Premier League title with two matches to spare.

I know it was not easy especially that K’Ogalo had to content with congested fixtures that included continental assignments, huge financial challenges and substandard playing surfaces to get this unprecedented 18th league title. To this, I say congratulations, chuor timbe, your other name.

Gor Mahia deserved to win the title after investing heavily in both the playing unit and technical bench, roping in some of the most gifted players from the east African region, whose signatures come with huge financial implications. Mad respect.

However, I want to boast here that Bandari, who on Sunday sealed the second place in the log, are my 2018/2019 SportPesa Premier League champions, a point I will be very ready to prove if indeed the Kenya Premier League Limited will implement last week’s recommendations by the clubs that there be a level playing ground. This is by ensuring that all teams honour matches in venues approved by the KPL as suitable to host league matches.

Gor Mahia might eventually finish the league with a six points difference separating them and second-placed Bandari when the last round of matches are played next week, points I still believe, maybe they could have surrendered to Sony Sugar in Awendo, Chemelil Sugar in Chemelil and relegation bound Vihiga United at Bukhungu Stadium.

Bandari, at the furthest end of the country, had to travel over 1,000 kilometres week in week out for the congested fixtures which apart from claiming several players through injury as was the case just before the midseason, also left the playing unit and technical bench fatigued.

Now the verdict is out and all teams will have to transverse the country to honour their fixtures which to me makes next season very interesting. It should be the season we have been waiting for.

We also hope this congested schedule will be a thing of the past with the league managers giving teams enough time and space in between matches to play and rest.

Now that Bandari have sealed their second spot on the log, following a scoreless draw with challengers Sofapaka which gives them a four-point advantage, a win or a loss in their last fixture against Nzoia Sugar on Wednesday in Mumias will be inconsequential.

This means that Bandari coach Bernard Mwalala now has an option of fielding a second string side in the last fixture leaving behind his starters to prepare adequately for the SportPesa Shield final against their bogey team Kariobangi Sharks on June 1, a match I tip the dockers to win.

The team patron, KPA Managing Director Daniel Manduku, has promised the players a week-long training camp in South Africa should they win the Shield and has directed for an increase in their pay. Well in order for the ambitious club that is going places.

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