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KPL: Key defenders to watch in 2018 season

12:23 GMT+3 24/01/2018
Haroun Shakava of Gor Mahia.
Goal parades some of the top defenders who will be vital for their respective teams in the new Kenyan Premier League season

  • Haroun Shakava of Gor Mahia v Timothy Luda of Sofapaka

    #1 Haroun Shakava (Gor Mahia)

    The new Gor Mahia skipper has a huge task in front of him. His predecessor (Musa Mohammed) was arguably one of the most successful captains in the Green Army set up. Shakava has the ability to replicate his former captain's success. He made 30 appearances for K’Ogalo last season, about 2700 minutes on the pitch. The seven yellow cards accumulated say a lot about his zeal on the pitch, and desire to win. He scored one goal, understandable for the defender considering the fact that his main job is to defend.

  • George Owino of Mathare United with KPL Award

    #2 George Owino (Mathare United)

    Last season, the 33 year-old former international was among the key players, who did excellent job to ensure the ‘slum boys’ avoided relegation from the top flight. After making 30 appearances in the 2016 season, the Mathare United man went ahead to feature 34 times last season. With just one yellow card and a goal, it is obvious this man played a crucial part in the 2008's champion’s survival. He finished the season with a KPL defender of the year award. With Francis Kimanzi aiming at doing better this season, his skipper is definitely one of his vital assets.

  • Tusker midfielder Humphrey Mieno.

    #3 Charles Momanyi (Gor Mahia)

    He was one of the key performers for Kakamega Homeboyz last season. The defender made 33 appearances for the Mike Mururi coached side, 2931 minutes on the pitch with one goal and earned seven yellow cards. After Musa Mohammed's departure from Gor Mahia, Momanyi is expected to partner captain HaronShakava and the best thing to do is to ensure there is consistency in his game. Momanyi marshaled his defense effectively and as a result his team was among the best at the back. His tackles and perfect aerial skills will definitely endear him to K’Ogalo fans. 

  • Dennis Shikhayi of Harambee Stars v Burundi.

    #4 Dennis Sikhayi (AFC Leopards)

    The former Western Stima defender made twenty five appearances in the 2017 season; the 2206 minutes on the pitch were a strong statement for the national team coach, who included him in Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup squad, where the right back featured in every match for Kenya. With AFC Leopards taking part in Caf Confederation Cup, Sikhayi will want to do even better. His lung busting runs from the defense to help the attackers is another quality that has endeared him to coach Robert Matano. The fans and the entire technical bench hopes he will continue shining.

  • Gor Mahia defender Wellingtone Ochieng

    #5 Wellingtone Ochieng’ (Gor Mahia)

    Ochieng' was signed from Muhoroni Youth during the period when Abouba Sibomana was in top form. The fullback has quietly worked his way to the first eleven, prompting coach Dylan Kerr to give Godfrey Walusimbi a more advanced role. Last season, this man turned out 27 times for the champions, the most since his signing. He created several chances as well as scoring two goals. But the 2398 minutes played were mostly done on the defensive department, his job was to ensure that opponent wide attackers do not invade his territory regularly, and he performed well.

  • Antony Ndolo and Kamura Robinson

    #6 Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards)

    Well, this man had a mixed first season at AFC Leopards. The former Mathare United man had a strong start to the season, but lost it somewhere and when things looked quite well on him; he sustained a career threatening injury. Despite all that, Kamura made twenty five appearances, accumulating a total of 2236 minutes on the pitch. He was cautioned only once and the good thing about him was his set piece taking skills. Kamura has a chance to play his best football this season but he has to learn when to play dirty and when to make it nice from the back.

  • Bandari defender Felly Mulumba v George Odhiambo of Gor Mahia

    #7 Felly Mulumba (Bandari)

    The former Sofapaka FC man made thirty two starts last season, and one substitute appearance. As usual, his commitment was the main reason why the Dockers had a fine start. However, his competitiveness was questioned at some point but he answered his critics through an exemplary performance. At some point he was deployed in the defensive midfield role, a duty he took well and helped the team remain in the league. With the Coastal-based side aiming at a top three finish this season, Mulumba has everything to play for.

  • Michael Oduor of Sofapaja v Joackins Atudo of Posta Rangers

    #8 Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers)

    Like fine wine, Atudo has grown from strength to strength with each passing season. Started the season as a right back but was drafted to the central position where he formed a formidable relationship with former Gor Mahia man Luke Ochieng’. His screamer against Tusker still lingers in many fans' minds. Atudo made twenty nine appearances for the mail men, leading them to a fourth place finish. His excellent run ensured he was a regular figure in the national team and was the perfect reason why Kenya conceded just two goals in seven Cecafa matches.

  • Wesley Onguso of Gor Mahia

    #9 Wesley Onguso (Gor Mahia)

    The ex-Western Stima man needed a total of fifteen appearances, and slightly over one thousands minutes to convince the fifteen times league champions Gor Mahia to sign him. Despite being overlooked by coach Sam Ssimbwa at times, this man needed just seven matches to sign for the league champions. However, he needs to work harder and make the left back position his own considering the fact that Wellington Ochieng’ and Godfrey Walusimbi can definitely do a perfect job in that position.

  • Geoffrey Kokoyo and Yidah Sven of Kariobangi Sharks

    #10 Geoffrey Kokoyo (Ulinzi Stars)

    Thirty three appearances for this man last season, and a total of 3060 minutes. Kokoyo is one man whose absence can be felt by his coach. He scored one goal and despite his hard tackling nature, he just received five yellow cards. With the soldiers under new coach Dunston Nyaudo, Kokoyo has another job of maintaining his consistency and help the four times league champions do better.