No return date for Kenyan Premier League
Brian Asewe (Left) of Kericho Zoo battles for the ball with Daniel Sakari of Kariobangi Sharks during the Kenya Premier League match played at Afraha stadium in Nakuru on November 3,2019.Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard

Officials unsure of KPL’s restart date

Kenyan Premier League was supposed to end on May 23 but was suspended last month

Kenyan Premier League to wait longer after government extended curfew by three weeks.

Kenyan Premier League (KPL) CEO Jack Oguda has reiterated that the league will remain suspended indefinitely until the coronavirus pandemic is contained.

This comes barely three days after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the extension of both the nationwide dusk- to-dawn curfew (7pm-5am) and the cessation of movement in to and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties by 21 days.

The league, which was supposed to end on May 23, was suspended last month with less than ten rounds of matches to go as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus.

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But Saturday’s announcement by the Head of State has again thrown the league’s conclusion into doubt.

And with this uncertainty and teams having indefinitely suspended their training sessions, no KPL or Football Kenya Federation (FKF) official knows when both the league and FKF Betway Cup will be back in action.

But Oguda insists the league, which was initially slated to resume on April 4, will only restart after they get the green light from the government.

“We still have to respect the government and Ministry of Health’s directives. We therefore cannot resume playing until we receive a go-ahead, “ Oguda said.

“It is a sorry state for football both nationally and globally, but our health and safety is paramount. As we speak, we don’t have a timeline and I’m not sure when the league will be back.”

The current situation has however generated a lot of speculations on what should happen to the league if the season ends prematurely.

While KPL have stressed that they will not rush to a decision over how this season will finish, FKF have already suggested the use f the current standings to decide the champions and the teams to be relegated.

Gor Mahia at the top

But many believe there is still plenty to play for in the remaining ten matches to decide both the champions and teams to be relegated.

Record champions Gor Mahia are at the top of the table standings with 54 points from 23 games, seven points ahead of second placed Kakamega Homeboyz, who have a game in hand.

Tusker are third with 46 points from 22 games, while at the bottom-placed Kisumu All Stars are tied on nine points with 17th placed Chemelil Sugar.

Should the league is cancelled, Gor Mahia will be declared champions (their fourth consecutive title), while Chemelil will join already relegated Sony Sugar in the National Super League (NSL) next season. Kisumu All Stars will battle with third-place finisher in NSL in the promotion/relegation play-offs.

Though Uhuru promised last week to use the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to cushion athletes from ravages of the pandemic, the latest directive has left both the officials and the players in limbo.

With no hope of any income in terms of salaries, match allowances/bonuses and training allowances, majority of the players and their families are desperate.

“It’s a very difficult situation not only financially but also mentally because it has affected our daily lives.

We have been out without training and matches for weeks now,” said Gor Mahia captain Kenneth Muguna.

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