As the dust settles on the 2021-22 Kenya Cup season, I want to start by thanking everyone involved in making the season possible from the players, team and union officials, fans, media, your efforts did not go unnoticed, you are the real MVPs. So, what will be some of the talking points from this memorable season?
It is finally…TANG TANG!
After what must have been five long years, it is finally Kabras’ time to claim their second Kenya Cup title, and what a way to end that wait, with a second half onslaught to claim a 34-28 result against first time finalists Menengai Oilers, in front of their adoring fans at the Bull ring in Kakamega.
To put Kabras’ consistency in the league into perspective, they were promoted to the top flight at the start of the 14/15 season and have played in every final since. While that stat might be impressive, I am pretty sure that the side is now working at how to improve their 5-2 return in finals.
Apart from Kabras, the other side that impressed was the Menengai Oilers who as mentioned made their first Kenya Cup final by dislodging 4-peat winners KCB at the den. Oilers’ have steadily risen through the ranks and will firmly be in the title favourites conversation next season. Another side to look out for is the Leos, who have now made it to back to back semi finals.
This has been an ongoing cry for as long as I can remember, but this season’s have been a bit louder than previous times.
We need to sit down as a fraternity and decide on how to continuously improve the officiating levels of our game, now! Is it investing more in ref development, increasing our pool of quality referees? We need to start this journey immediatelt, our solutions can not always be ‘Play above the ref…’ ‘Wewe si uingie uref…’ ‘Hiyo kazi ni hard…’ and other such stories. If we keep sweeping this issue under the carpet, we will not be doing ourselves any favours.
The Relegation ‘Battle’
The battle for survival in the 2021-22 season will go down as one of the most memorable of recent times, with up to six teams at one point fighting to avoid those two bottom slots. The battle has been so intense that even after the season, we are still not sure who between Quins and Impala will be joining Nondies in the Championship next season.
The first communication from the union through the final league standings indicated that it was Quins being relegated, a few days later, a clarification was issued that it was Impala to go down. This all stems from the league manual, which states that a tie between two teams shall be determined by the matches between those two teams. The bone of contention is around the word/phrase ‘matches.’
However the ruling goes, here is hoping that the losing side will accept the decision and not drag this back to a boardroom.
The Women’s League
The idea to start a women’s Kenya Cup was great, but its implementation leaves a lot of room for improvement. While it is understandable that the first season was always going to be a challenge, adding on to the already tough situation Covid left us in. We can improve on making these matches a bit more accessible for the fans, through better timings and or media.
The women’s final between Yamanashi Impala and Mwamba for example, which was initially supposed to be played before the men’s, was postponed to the 19th, at a location yet to be confirmed.
Really looking forward to a better and bigger women’s league next season!
KRU Owning The League
At some point in 2016 or thereabout, KRU gave up control of a considerable chunk of the Kenya cup to the club chairmen (the caucus), while this decision was made to grow the league, I think it is about time to re evaluate it.
On numerous occasions this season for instance, KRU has announced the week’s upcoming fixtures and locations on a Monday, only to change them two days later. The play off matches which should be the league’s biggest assets, culminating with the final have yet to hit their potential, leaving the hosting of these crucial matches entirely to clubs is not working.
Ahead of next season, clubs and KRU should agree on a win-win formula, that would improve the quality of the league for fans and potential sponsors, also could we please go back to 4PM kick offs? Thank you.
Once again, it took great effort from everyone involved to pull this season off successfully, a big thank you to you all, we’ll definitely have a bigger and better one next season.
Attention now quickly shifts to the Kenya Cup Women’s final, the Enterprise & Mwamba Cups as well as the Kenya Cup promotion battle this weekend, with fixtures across the country…once they are confirmed.
My challenge to you my fellow fans, starting with this weekend and going into the next seasons, is that we collectively take an active role at supporting our respective clubs, grab as many friends as you can every weekend, take them to your home/away games, pay gate and introduce them to the game they play in heaven…