The quibble from Wednesday’s Gor Mahia v Tusker game is over now, as discussion moves away from the impact of red cards/penalties to more serious matters that define the game- goals and points.
For Gor Mahia, though, the analysis of their own performance against Tusker and maybe even Nakuru All Stars will continue over the next couple of days.
True enough, the Nakuru All Stars performance deflated Gor Mahia, confidence wasn’t anywhere near the 100% mark and coupled with injuries to two key players- facing Tusker wasn’t coming at the right time.
Naturally for the Tusker fans even with all the problems Gor Mahia had, rolling over them was never a possibility, receiving two red cards in the span of 10 minutes unthinkable and the hope for a fifth straight win- flattering.
Credit though to both teams, after just 6 matches their pedigree has already started to show.
Tusker FC are having their best start to a league campaign since the 2011 season when they garnered 15 points from the first 6 matches, today it’s just 1 point less but tied at 11 goals scored.
Gor Mahia on the other hand is already replicating their point tally after just 6 matches for their Champ13n winning season. Same as last season when they hit the 11 point mark after match day 6, they’ve this season already gone one goal better.
Back to Tusker FC; I will be quick to note that apart from the other recent champions who always fizzle out or flatter to deceive- they always keep tabs with the top of the log. Actually, among the last three KPL Champions it’s only Tusker FC that has been able to finish above her counterparts (Sofapaka, Ulinzi and Gor Mahia) on at least four different occasions (excuse Sofapaka from 2008 though)- consistency alert!
It’s therefore no surprise that Robert Matano had to be shown the door towards the end of last year when it was clear Tusker FC were going to register their worst ever league finish since 2008.
I tend to be a little biased when talking about the Tusker management- I think people don’t give them the credit they deserve most of the time. After watching Matano err in his maiden first leg as Tusker Coach, the nice and early capture of Kimanzi & the early plunge into the transfer market was a serious statement for all those who cared to notice.
Just six matches into a new season as Tusker Coach, Kimanzi’s efforts if not the managements effort is already showing signs of sprouting into something really beautiful.
For a team that was only able to have 5 different goal scorers during the first 6 matches of KPL 2013. This season they already have 7 different goal scorers, 3 on two goals apiece, the other on 5 each, a sharp contrast to last season when only Dunga had 2(even now has 2), and Were, Ssekayombya and Olunga each had a goal to their name.
And is it baffling that with over 8 matches to spare in the first leg, Kimanzi is just one win short of the total number of wins Robert Matano was able to register in Tusker’s 2013 KPL first leg.
It not only shows Kimanzi is getting the best out of his players, he’s still instilled the confidence in them. Jesse Were might have probably been on goal number 3 had he taken the Gor Mahia penalty he won, lots of credit too goes to the midfield shape that is not just creating chances- they are also seeing the back of the net in crucial games. (Khalid Aucho versus Tusker, Kevin Kimani scoring the winner while Monday sealing the win against Western Stima and Brian Osumba scoring the equaliser against Thika on the opening day of the season a match Tusker would have easily lost)
For all the praise Tusker, Kimanzi and the boys might have earned- just one aspect blights their brilliant start to the season. While the midfield and the forward seems to be doing the work for the brewers, the defence leaks and not just is the data worrying, it’s a special one in itself.
At match day 5, Nakuru All Stars might have looked the worst side in all our eyes, but did you know that at match day 6 of the 2014 KPL season, only Tusker FC is yet to register a clean sheet. Actually, Tusker has conceded a goal in every league tie this season.
However looking at the past four years in the league; the number of clean sheets the team that has won the title has had has witnessed a sharp increase at surprisingly the lowest standing at 15- that is when Tusker won the league in 2011. Over the last two years though, Gor Mahia and Tusker have had 19 clean sheets each. Therefore taking 19 clean sheets as a ‘Holy Grail’ of supremacy, Tusker FC might just have maybe 5 or less more games to continue giving away goals.
Well, I don’t think that would matter to the legion of Tusker faithful as long as their team continues to outscore opponents no matter the number of clean sheets.
But just to underline the possession talk Kimanzi boasted of during his post-match interview on Wednesday; at 9 men away- 48%:52% is honestly no mean feat. It wasn’t just evident in their play, calm and daring to attack instead of slumping, Tusker FC has made some really good progress in the span of a short time.
Where it’s due, we all need to learn to give credit.