Superfoota.com is always glad to bring to you not just views of the main blogger
but a platform for other fans of the beautiful game to air their views and give their thoughts on various subjects affecting it.
This lovely Sunday 19th May thus; Our guest post brought to you by Vincent Agan tries to demystify the myth of goals, goalscorers and even takes a look at strikers performances across the globe in far much superior leagues. As always- please do have your say at the bottom of the piece by leaving your thoughts in the comment box.
In recent seasons, avid critics of the Kenyan Premier League have argued that the league is lacking in terms of goal scoring prowess.
Looking at the top goal scorers in recent Kenyan Premier League seasons, Sofapaka hitman, John Baraza topped the charts in the 2010 and 2012 seasons with 15 goals and 18 goals respectively while the 2011 golden boot winner, Sony’s Hugo Nzangu, managed a paltry 12 goals.
Compare this to the top marksmen in Europe’s top leagues – over the 2011-2012 season, Robin van Persie scored 30 league goals for Arsenal while Edinson Cavani registered 28 big ones for Napoli in the Serie A.
Elsewhere, Klaas-Jan Hunteelar put the ball past the bundesligakeepers 27 times for FC Schalke with Montpellier’s Olivier Giroud getting on the score sheet on 21 occassions. Yes, I am avoiding the Ronaldo and Messi numbers in la liga for obvious reasons!
But do the numbers alone tell the whole story?
First, the Kenya Premier League has only 16 teams. This means that each team only has to go through a 30-match season. Looking across the major leagues, the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the French Ligue 1 have 20 teams which translates to a 38-match season while the Bundesliga has 18 teams implying a 34-match season.
This surely means more playing time for the strikers in those leagues and therefore more opportunities to get on the score sheet compared to the forwards in the KPL.
The second point is a controversial one as it touches on (mis)management on the part of the clubs. Throughout the season, not just in the off season, Kenya Premier League clubs engage in wholesome changes to their squads and the technical bench.
Gor Mahia, for instance, released close to 10 of their first team players in the middle of the season after the appointment of Lugarusic as Coach. This should not be seen as criticizing the management style of a particular club but an example of a common occurrence in Kenyan football.
Wholesale changes lead to transitions, and if done frequently, will render the rhythm and the consistency of a team and the performance of individual players.
Karuturi, Thika Utd and maybe Gor Mahia are famed for their patient passing style while Ulinzi and Tusker prefer a more direct approach, fine, but doing an overview of the league, it’s hard to associate playing styles and football philosophies with particular sides.
I strongly feel that even top forwards need an understanding of their role in a consistent team system to bring out the best in them and this, sadly, has not been the case in our league.
But as organizational challenges continue to be overcome, clubs will develop systems and styles with which they’ll be identified with. Our players will be functioning in more established set-ups and then, and only then, will we be able to rate them against the world’s best.
And then, hopefully, intriguing battles for the golden boot will surely be on the cards and maybe, just maybe, the KPL will produce the clichéd 20-goal-a-season striker after all.