How Gor Mahia outmatched rivals to the 2017 KPL title

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A high flying K’Ogalo beat former champions Ulinzi Stars 1-0 at Kericho Green Stadium to clinch a record 16th KPL title

Gor Mahia bagged a record 16th Kenyan Premier League title after edging out Ulinzi Stars by a solitary goal last Saturday.

The win over the soldiers' took K'Ogalo’s points tally to 66, 18 clear of second-placed Sofapaka, who can only accumulate 12 points from the remaining four games.

But where did Gor Mahia get it right as compared to chasing rivals Tusker, Sofapaka and Ulinzi Stars?

Consistency

Last season, Gor Mahia swallowed a bitter pill after finishing the season empty handed. It was painful considering Tusker walked home with the league title and GOtv Shield. Changes had to be made, but in terms of tactics.

Musa Mohammed of Gor Mahia v Ulinzi Stars.

The then coach Ze Maria, saw no need of overhauling the squad, but he made a few additions, notably the 2016 MVP Kenneth Muguna, who has since gone to cement his position in the team. When the season started, there was no need to gel, especially for players, because they were already used to each other.

As for Tusker, first, they lost title winning coach Paul Nkata, and brought in George Nsimbe. Most players are aging but the brewers so no point of replacing them. Allan Wanga, James Situma, Duncan Ochieng’ and Stephen Owusu are arguably well over their best days, but are still used regularly.

It also took time for the new coach (George Nsimbe) to find a winning formula. It was almost the same case with Sofapaka, though the latter was suffering because of financial instability. Massive changes, especially in the playing unit during the June transfer window did not help much.

As for the Kakamega Homeboyz, it is already an achievement for them being in the third position. None could have imagined the Mike Mururi coached side could be in that position at this point, so the lesser the words, the better.

Statistics

It is obvious; a bogus defense cannot win any team the title. Statistics on the pitch are vital for a team to be crowned.

Gor Mahia striker Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere

After 27 matches, Gor Mahia has conceded just 16 goals and scored 43. Only Homeboyz have conceded the same number of goals, with Kariobangi Sharks and Posta Rangers conceding 18 and 19 respectively.

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Batoto ba Mungu have scored 42 goals and conceded 25; Ulinzi Stars have scored 30 goals and conceded 23 while defending champions Tusker have scored 25 and conceded one more.

Statistics do not lie; if the striking department is weak, then the defense must be water tight. Gor Mahia’s back four of Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava, Karim Nizigiyimana and Godfrey Walusimbi has been intact for the past five seasons and the effect is evident.

While Gor Mahia has enjoyed a balanced squad with full of experience, and top class tacticians, the rivals have badly struggled to match them. If nothing is done, it will be the same case next season.

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