What you need to know:
- After spending several minutes while being attended to by the medics, the two players were driven out of the pitch in two ambulances.
- While Wendo returned to action with a bandaged head, Otieno was rushed to hospital. With a third ambulance on standby, the match continued without a hitch.
It was a huge sigh of relief for local footballers and fans after the delayed 2022/23 Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) finally kicked off over the weekend.
Initially, nine matches were planned for the first round of the competition, but two were postponed after the Sports Disputes Tribunal issued an injunction that stayed FKF’s decision to stop promotion and relegation of teams to top-tier league and the National Super League (NSL).
The matches that were postponed are; Posta Rangers FC against Mathare United and Vihiga Bullets against Wazito FC.
Big guns Gor Mahia, Tusker and AFC Leopards all won their weekend matches to start the competition brightly.
Here are the four talking points from the round one matches
Gor Mahia finally get the better of Nzoia Sugar
Since their return to the FKF-PL in 2016, Nzoia have been a tough opponent to most teams including the big guns.
It was thus a huge relief for K’Ogalo after they beat the Millers by a solitary goal – their first win over the Bungoma-based side in two years.
Striker Benson Omalla struck the winning goal for the record champions in the 53rd minute through a header.
Gor were lucky to bag all the maximum points from the match as Moses Mudavadi’s last minute equalizer for Nzoia was canceled.
In 2021, Nzoia completed a double over Gor, winning 2-1 and 2-0 in both legs respectively. Their two 2022 meetings resulted in identical 1-1 draws.
Absence of 10 key players not a problem for Aussems
AFC Leopards fans were left dejected Friday evening after it emerged that they will be without 10 key players in their season opener against Ulinzi Stars at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Lang’ata, Nairobi on Saturday.
FKF declined to register the 10 owing to a two-season Fifa transfer ban on the club.
However, the 12-time champions were on top of things with Nigerian import Kingley Ojo scoring both goals to give the coach Patrick Aussems' side a bright start.
It no doubt boosted the morale at Ingwe as they await the clearance of the 10 players by FKF.
Fans fill match venues
All venues that hosted FKF-PL matches registered impressive turnout by fans, painting a picture of how they had seriously missed the action.
It was Ingwe’s supporters who stole the show as they thronged the Ulinzi Sports Complex to cheer their team to victory against the soldiers.
Donned in Ingwe’s famous blue and white colours, the fans filled the air at Ulinzi Sports Complex with song and dance and extended their celebrations to Nairobi's CBD.
At Nyayo National Stadium, the Green Army were also in their hundreds to cheer Gor who beat Nzoia Sugar 1-0.
Also in attendance was Gor’s patron Raila Odinga and Information Communication and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo.
There were also impressive turnouts at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasanai Annex where KCB beat Kenya Police 1-0.
It was the same case at Bukhungu Stadium where defending champions Tusker defeated hosts kakemaga Homeboyz 2-1.
Clubs should invest in more ambulances
Safety measures in the FKF-PL and other lower tier leagues in the country have never been given the seriousness they deserve.
On several occasions, it has emerged that ambulances unveiled by home teams during matches lacked the requisite life-saving equipment.
During Gor Mahia's match against Nzoia Sugar at Nyayo National Stadium, the was clash of heads between Gor’s Ernest Wendo and Nzoia’s Stephen Otieno.
After spending several minutes while being attended to by the medics, the two players were driven out of the pitch in two ambulances.
While Wendo returned to action with a bandaged head, Otieno was rushed to hospital. With a third ambulance on standby, the match continued without a hitch.