The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) 2018/19 season comes to a close on Wednesday 29 May with all the matches slated to Kick Off at the same time.
With Gor Mahia having been crowned Champions, and Vihiga United and Mount Kenya having waved goodbye to the league, the race left now is for the golden boot and the team (between Posta Rangers, Chemelil Sugar FC and Zoo Kericho) which will participate in the playoffs.
But who have been the best performers of the season?
Goalkeeper: Faruk Shikhalo (Bandari FC)
Bandari has conceded 27 goals thus far; a record that is only bettered by champions Gor Mahia. The same number of goals has been shipped by Sony Sugar who has had an exemplary performance but Faruk carries the day over Sony’s Kevin Otieno due to the fact that he has had more appearance than his counterpart.
Gor Mahia could have easily had a candidate for the slot but it was another season where their three keepers were rotated week in week out.
Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia)
Harambee Stars first choice right back will have to carry the day for another season. A natural defensive midfielder, Otieno has slotted well in his new role since last season and had another exemplary season and was another constant figure in the Gor Mahia defence despite the chunk of fixtures his team had to participate in.
Haron Shakava (Gor Mahia)
Five KPL titles to his name put Shakava as one of the most successful defenders in Gor Mahia history. Led his team from the front in both the local and international stage where they reached the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederations Cup. Another constant figure in the defence.
Michael Kibwage (KCB FC)
Leading a new team in any top flight at that tender age should have handed Kibwage a slot in any team of the season. Roped from AFC Leopards, he came with a bit of experience but with the expectations for the club after their money moves, Kibwage kept his cool to lead a team that had a terrible start to the season.
He has been a pillar at the back of the KCB defence and his heroics at the back handed him the armband of the Kenya U23 side when they took on Sudan in an Olympic Qualifier earlier in the year.
Titus Achesa (Sofapaka FC)
In a season that they fell short in the later stages of the campaign, Achesa has been one consistent figure on the Sofapaka left flank. Apart from defending, he has been one contributor in Sofapaka attacks. David Owino of Mathare United deserves a special mention due to his consistency too in his team.
Derick Otanga (Sony Sugar FC)
It has been an overwhelming season for Sony Sugar FC who didn’t start the season as expected. When coach Patrick Odhiambo took over the team towards the end of the first leg, the team were flirting with relegation but finds themselves at position four as we head into the final day.
With Agwanda having bailed the team out last season, Otanga was to be the man to help his team this season with the teenager being the highest scoring midfielder already this season with 13 goals; all from open play.
Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia)
Injuries had threatened to derail his season and his absence in games a times exposed Gor Mahia in games. His presence in front of his back four gave the likes of Kenneth Muguna and Francis Kahata to go about their duties without much struggle. Started important CAF games for the club and seems to have been the preferred first choice DM for coach Hassan Oktay.
Cliff Nyakeya (Mathare United)
Many feel this should be Nyakeya’s last season in the KPL if he is to realize his dream of playing professional football. Having scored 12 goals last season, the midfielder has bettered that outing with a goal more this season despite being predominantly a midfielder. He has been one key member of the Mathare United team and has been comfortable with anyone who he has partnered with in the Mathare United attacking front.
Enosh Ochieng (Ulinzi Stars)
Enosh outing this season has been a surprise to many. His goal scoring prowess has not been in question since his Muhoroni Youth days but the 17 goals haul has been a surprise to many. In a turbulent season where the soldiers have blown hot and cold, under Benjamin Nayngweso and the ousted Dunstan Nyaudo, he has remained a glimmer of hope for the side and outshone Ezekiel Okare who had been roped to bang the goals for the team.
His heroics has earned him a place in the Harambee Stars CHAN squad.
Allan Wanga (Kakamega Homeboyz)
Out of the blues, Wanga leads the goalscoring charts heading into the final day. He has been a favourite for Harambee Stars coach too and his AFCON place seems secured. He has proved once again that age is just a number after stints out of the country. Despite the troubles experienced by the club that saw him be a coach on an interim basis at some point, the distractions couldn’t keep him down in grabbing the onion bag.
He has been one reason why Homeboyz is comfortably sitting seventh on the log. His 18-goal haul means he has scored almost half of the club’s goals this season with his team having troubled the opposing nets 47 times this season.
Umaru Kasumba (Sofapaka FC)
Consistency has been key for Kasumba. It is another season where he hopes he will be lucky with the golden boot. He has been one factor in Sofapaka’s 48 goal haul. He is already being linked with a move to Gor Mahia to replace the departing Jacques Tuyisenge with a trial in Germany already in place. He will be coming up against Allan Wanga in the final day and will hope his defenders can block Wanga as he troubles the Homeboyz defence.
Goalkeepers: Kevin Omondi (Sony Sugar FC), Fredrick Odhiambo (Gor Mahia)
Defenders: Amani Kyata (Mount Kenya United), Felly Mulumba (Bandari FC), Faina Jacobs (Sofapaka FC), Robert Ayala (Sony Sugar FC), Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia)
Midfielders: Whyvonee Isuza (AFC Leopards), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker FC), Samuel Onyango (Gor Mahia), Danson Chetambe (Zoo Kericho), James Kinyanjui (Mathare United)
Strikers: Nicholas Kipkurui (Gor Mahia), Kennedy Owino (KCB FC), David Majak (Tusker FC), Enock Agwanda (Sony Sugar), Yema Mwana (Bandari FC)
Young Player of the Year: James Kinyanjui (Mathare United)
Surprise Player of the season: Derick Otanga (Sony Sugar FC)
Surprise Team: Sony Sugar FC
Image by SPL
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