Date: 11 May 2017 21:31
Only 10 of the 34 rounds of matches have been played in the SportPesa Premier League so far, but a quick post-mortem of events reveals that it is becoming rough for league coaches and players.
Chemelil Sugar coach Abdalla Juma has heaped blame on the unfavourable playing schedules that their teams have had to contend with, now that each of the 18 SPL clubs have been forced to play as many as five matches in 14 days.
This is largely because the 2017 season began one month behind schedule, together with the fact that the league format was expanded to accommodate two more teams.
Teams playing outside Nairobi have been hit the hardest, as they have to cover long distances to and from Nairobi, sometimes all the way to Mombasa before returning home sometimes just a day to their next assignments.
Chemelil Sugar, for instance, have played five games in 14 days while shuffling between Thika and Chemelil throughout that period. Their coach Abdalla Juma said that this has had a direct impact on his team’s performance.
“This is a challenge. In fact it is very difficult both for us and for the players. We had a game just two days ago, and today we are playing again, it means that even if I wanted to use a different strategies for today’s match I can’t execute that successfully because of the little time we have I between games,” he said after their 2-0 loss to Gor Mahia on Wednesday.
“Fatigue among players is something else that we have had to deal with. These players are not machines. When they keep swinging to and from places that are 500 kilometres away, travelling almost always by bus it makes them very tired.”
So far, two heads of technical benches have had to step aside due to poor performances.
Thika United chairman James Nandwa and Western Stima coach Henry Omino have been replaced by Nicholas Muyoti and Patrick Odhiambo respectively, and the air is thick that Salim Babu (Sony Sugar), Stewart Hall (AFC Leopards) and Francis Kimanzi (Mathare United) could follow suit if their team’s performance remain poor.
While Hall started off the season well at Leopards, he has transformed from being an inspirational coach into an openly frustrated one.
He turned the heat of Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Gor Mahia on his players, saying that they were too young to deal with the pressure of facing a team of Gor Mahia’s quality.
Well, his players responded with yet another embarrassing show on Wednesday away in Awendo against whom they lost 1-0.