When my last blog explained how much the KPL Top 8 was a sprint inside a marathon, I never meant to jinx the Bandari side.
Actually for the Neutrals, it was a sickening feeling watching that own goal go in. The odds though were from the onset stacked against Bandari- forgive not their approach to the game. So defensive, relying on set pieces for a breakthrough and not often threatening from open play.
Recipe for disaster if I may say but with no first time recently promoted ‘KPL Top 8’ finisher getting past the quarter final stage- the odds were stuck against the Dockers.
But that’s just that; The Bandari renaissance that showed so much promise last season already seems to be in tatters at just April of a new season- actually almost mirroring the 2011 season at the same stage and perfectly carbon copying their 2009 season.
You will note I picked the 2009 and 2011 seasons for the simple reason that in those two years, Bandari FC got relegated.
Where does the similarity lie then? In 2009, after 7 matches- Bandari had only garnered 7 points after 7 games (1W 4D 2L), in 2011 after 7 matches they had a point less after the same number of games (2W 5L). It might never get us to the perfect figures for a conclusive case point for a ‘curse’ to a start of a season but should patterns really matter in football, Bandari need to wake up real fast.
Today Bandari FC is out of the KPL Top 8 competition, a tournament we all hold in high regard. No tennis score lines here, no complacency and all to fight for. But in all honesty, that one cup defeat defines a lot about Bandari’s season and how it might turn out.
Getting knocked out of any Cup competition is always one reason to count ‘one reason less’ a team will not win the 3/3 cups up for contention. The reality Bandari got to deal with at this moment is that the FKF cup might be the only source of solace for them but survival first needs to be confirmed or else, it will be a ‘series’.
In actual terms, the next three Bandari fixtures will decide the direction of the KPL relegation dog fight heading into the final five match days of the first leg (Top Fry, KCB, Ulinzi) with the next three deciding what goes on at the top of the table (Chemelil, Sony, Sofapaka).
What then is ‘not allowing a season to crumble’?
Taking for example Bandari’s last two games, which have been against the top two teams of last season; for a combined total of 180 minutes, Bandari scored two goals and conceded two, the AFC goal coming late into stoppage time- an own goal to be precise.
The timings of both goals is what excites- they all come at a time when either Bandari are growing into the game (Sserenkuma, 3 minutes after the start of the second half) or just slumping and hoping the score line remains the same (Islam Omar own goal in the 90+2 minute).
Building a winning momentum is always good for every team, sadly for Bandari- the last time they even won three matches in a row was in 2008 (between 10/05/2008 and 12/07/2008).
Nine or seven points at least in the next three fixtures should provide a good launch pad for the ‘hard’ spell they will face in May.
Why not the second leg?
It’s no secret anymore; Bandari didn’t do some great business during the last transfer window.
Surviving and even pushing for Top 8 honours will need a little re-enforcement unless Twahir can prove he has it in him and his players over the next few weeks.
Lying at the last three positions over the first few weeks of the second leg is always a risky affair. In all honesty, having played Top 8 football- a finish below the tenth position to say the least shall be a failure on the part of the team.
Have in mind too, that when saving a season in the second leg- the pressure always comes in folds. What if the new players brought in never gel and get the right results? Such are some of the dangers and probabilities a team has to deal with in top flight football.
With all that said and done though, 23 matches is such a long time coming. Obviously, another reason why Bandari must not allow their heads to drop.