The banquet at the big boy’s party hits a crescendo this weekend in Meru. At the goal of it all, one set of players will walk away absolutely devastated, the other somewhat between nirvana and wonderland holding a KPL Top 8 trophy pointing it towards the sphere.
Don’t strain and draw out the crystal ball just yet, any bit of clairvoyance shall leave either the low or yellow side sick- let it come naturally, afterwards all, that’s what it meant to be.
Deny any team their most renowned performers and they will struggle, deny the other any sorts of continuity and they will copy, such is the level of our club’s philosophies. Such too has been the chronicle of the KPL Top 8 since its existence. Actually, kindly take down- No Coach has been to two KPL top 8 finals since it started.
In what has been their 2nd best scoring KPL Top 8 campaign ever heading into the finals, Tusker FC the defending champions have somehow had the most difficult path heading into these finals AFC Leopards for whatever reason anyone would desire to dismiss them, shall have the 3-0 thumping of KCB as a testimony of their season turnaround.
The debate even before the semi-final was decided revolved around a venue that was to be used for the final. The Kenya Premier League has, nonetheless stuck to their guns and insisted the finals shall be held in Meru. AFC Leopards reluctantly accepting to travel to Tusker’s home ground for a match of this nature, perhaps reflects the growing authoritative nature of KPL the company outgrowing its known incidences of chair shifting.
Proving not to read too much into any of these pre-match positions, the KPL Top 8 has in the near past acted as a course of study for a mid-season launch and refuelling point for a gruesome KPL season finish.
AFC Leopards return to the coronation seat of Kenya Premier League summit has taken a beating since 1998, a KPL Top 8 final win wouldn’t make it any better, depending with what they do with it, perhaps, it can spur them to a closer return coupled with last years’ experience of finishing second.
Forgive their late April and partly early May fall of form, Tusker FC under coach Kimanzi has made so much gain. At Tusker, you realize, winning a cup competition is not everything; the compulsion with the KPL trophy is what determines jobs and who holds them.
It wouldn’t be convincing right now to say any of these sides is built around the shoulders of any players, the reverse would actually mean- they both float on the managerial genius of their managers and a pint of the collective nature of the individuals sent out to do the job. Such is what defines the recent past of the two teams.
The case of Shikokoti, who might now lift two KPL Top 8 trophies in a row best defines this; a fail in the formula of De Jong will bring to question the workability of this system going into the second leg while the success of the same will have Kimanzi, like Bobby and Rishadi Shedu coiled in defeat.
For the game, Tusker has made so much history- some not documented in writing or even words. The KPL Top 8 presents another such chance. They recognize it, they can put a show, they have done it in the past, surely they must not let this historic opportunity pass them.
AFC Leopards have, simply put, been the better squad, maybe let’s just admit it, the best team in the last week or maybe even two/three weeks in our absence. And if they can proceed with their fine physique, there is every reason to believe they can make out enough to place one of the most extraordinary title finishes in recent time. Before that, all the same, let the KPL Top 8 finals begin.
(Image via the KPL official page)