They are not your typical modern promoted team, their name won’t appear on your social media timelines often, neither litter the back pages of your newsprint with the constant praise of the team’s top goal scorer or top goalkeeper. They don’t go throwing cash around wishing to be the next destination for every want away footballer, interestingly, they are sponsored by a body many would suggest can do that- but at what point do you sit back and notice this silent rising footballing act?
A look at the past six seasons reveal that amongst promoted teams that have done extremely well in their debut seasons as at match day 17, Sofapaka (2009) must have been the most inspiring and exciting of them entirely.
Having collected 34 points and sitting pretty top of the table, KRA FC is in all honesty, not any closer to the 2009 Sofapaka side, whether in terms of financial might or the quality sent out on the sales talk to do duty every match day. In fact, at match day 17 the 2009 Sofapaka side had scored 6 goals more than KRA have heading into match day 18.
In terms of goals conceded, the quality of the 2009 Sofapaka side still shows. Whereas at the same stage Sofapaka had only lost one match and conceded ten, KRA have lost an amazing five more shipping in fifteen goals. Allow me to get ahead of the pack, however, let it be noted that in the whole of that season, Sofapaka just conceded more than 1 goal against Tusker FC who finished 4th and City Stars who came 6th. KRA’s overall season tally is just around the corner, only don’t be cheated, at already 4 matches where they have lost by conceding 2 or more goals, the 2009 first timers record is not under any threat.
But why does going into Match Day 18 and possibly point number 30 does everything matter so much on the spur of the moment?
Well, inevitability, like a light bulb on a mountain top cannot be concealed. Sitting proudly on top of the rest, 3 points against Bandari FC (Surprisingly the team that first beat KRA FC 2-0 at the beginning of the season) shall bring KRA fc to that point where the main target of every promoted side in any league shall have been met- survival.
And with over 10 matches to spare after that, it’s fairly certain no worse thing can come about, perhaps an absolute karma that shall deny them any 3 points even after the Bandari game- no matter the result.
Results might be the ‘ultimate target’ in modern football, but barring that, KRA fc coach Ken Kenyatta like he admitted sometime in January when interviewed by the Standard would love his teams to experience a manner of play that which embodies his philosophy- efficient passing, clinical tackles and clever breaks to limit the adversary.
The reality on the earth after the seven months has been somewhat different- punishing terrains, hopeless defenders who resort to fouling at any instance and sometimes officiating decisions that surprise more than inspires means the long-term objective of survival can only be encountered in the shortest time possible be early wins and not by fully endless tactful demeanour. Besides, you can only take a beating for far too long in your quest to maintaining sanity.
In this regard, Ken Kenyata won’t be wrong, besides, apart from a few other coaches whose teams try to knock the ball around, most of the sides just aim for the opponents half in hope of a striker fumbling his way on goal.
Like this blog started, the noise will not be made when KRA clock the 30 point mark, the silence means nothing, a lost opportunity to document history, perhaps, but they won’t mind it- the noise always has a way of distracting even its seekers and devotees.
Those who decide to assume it, however, always have another chance; I would probably call it ‘the second season syndrome’.
That nevertheless always depends on many more factors, one of which Coach Ken Kenyatta is clearly wary of- “The local transfer market is immature, unregulated and unprofessional.” Mohammed Hassan must be the example (the one that moved to AFC Leopards but now is back after a horror 5 months).
KRA on the flipside must now be aware of this when it comes to coaches too, maybe only second to house helps in terms of moving jobs- the players, come somewhere between first and second, because theirs is a short career.
However despite all this, a perfect KPL debut season is on the brink of delivery for KRA FC. And like your office postman, you don’t pay and keep him because you admire him, you keep and pay him because he’s efficient and delivers- similarly, the Kenya Premier League has a way of keeping those who’re efficient albeit for one more season.