Curtains came down on the 2016 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season on Saturday 19th November with Tusker FC deservedly clinching the title. Several players stood out for their teams this year and I have compiled the best XI of the season.
Goalkeeper: David Okello (Tusker FC)
The former Sofapaka custodian has had a stellar season at Tusker FC, filling in the void left by veteran Duncan Ochieng who spent a big part of the season injured.
He featured in 25 of the 30 league matches and was instrumental for the Brewers' title chase.
Right back: Noah Abich (Sofapaka FC)
Sofapaka have been a pale shadow of themselves this season but the evergreen Noah Abich has been a bright diamond amidst the dark since joining Batoto ba Mungu midway through the season from Mathare United. He played 21 matches this year and was the highest scoring defender this season with six goals under his belt.
Left back: Erick Marcelo Ouma ( Gor Mahia)
The highly rated youngster lit up the KPL on his debut season. He featured in 22 league matches for Gor Mahia, assisting seven goals in the process and was only booked four times the entire season. He is slowly emerging as the preferred left back at the National team too, replacing the experienced Abud Omar who plies his trade in Bulgaria for Slavia Sofia.
Centre back (4): Charles Momanyi (Kakamega Homeboyz)
I know this selection will surprise many but it is important to note that Momanyi has played full minutes in all the 30 matches for Kakamega Homeboyz this season, scored three goals and was only booked twice the entire season. He also earned his maiden call up to the National team in the just concluded season.
His strength is in timely tackling and he is also very good in the air.
Centre back (5): Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia)
The FISA Academy graduate has started in all league matches for the former KPL champions and is one of the reasons the team has conceded the least number of goals this season. A bit shaky in the previous seasons but he has been a cog at the back for K’Ogalo in 2016.
Holding midfielder: Victor Majid
The former KCB FC midfielder had a good season at Chemelil and he stabilized the midfield – what has been the team’s major undoing in previous seasons. He established good chemistry with veteran Hillary Echesa; the latter getting the chance to roam around freely as Majid shielded the back four – this has been Chemelil’s strong point this season.
Majid played 28 of the 30 matches, amassing a total of 2015 minutes and scoring one goal in the process.
Right winger (7): Noah Wafula (Tusker FC)
Many argue that the former AFC Leopards winger has a poor first touch and lacks basic football skills and while this is somehow true, Tusker FC tactician Paul Nkata found a way of getting the best out of the winger, his contribution being very important in the delivery of the title to the Ruaraka-based side. It is important to note that he has relegated the more skillful Danson Kago to the bench, his strong points being speed and delivery of near perfect crosses to the opponents’ box.
He played 25 matches and scored two crucial goals in the process.
Central midfielder (8): Kenneth Muguna (Western Stima)
Western Stima has done exceptionally well this season, finishing among the top six teams is no mean feat and much of their success cannot only be attributed to the tactical prowess of coach Henry Omino and his assistants Rama Balala and Hesborn Nyabinge but to fast rising youngster Kenneth Muguna, who has been in splendid form in his debut season in the KPL. The former Palos FC creative midfielder has got a bag full of tricks and an eye for that good pass.
He played 28 league matches on his debut season, scoring four goals in the process.
Main striker (9): Mark Makwatta (Ulinzi Stars)
The former City Stars forward emerged as the top scorer this season with 15 goals from 27 league matches and it’s a no brainer why he makes it to the team of the season. Zambian giants Nkana FC are said to be eyeing him, and rightfully so. It will however to be interesting if he will move since he is also a military officer.
Central attacking midfielder (10): Humphrey Mieno
The experienced midfielder might just have scored two league goals but this has been one of his best seasons in the KPL. He guided his team well as the field captain after Team Captain James Situma suffered a knee injury mid October and is one of the main reasons why Tusker won the title this year.
He played 26 matches, amassing 2340 minutes and was booked four times the entire season.
Left winger (11): Shafiq Batambuze (Tusker FC)
The Tusker FC left back was pivotal for the Brewers in the season, his highest point being the moment he delivered the title with a clever goal against AFC Leopards in Nakuru. Generally, he has been very impressive this season. The dead ball specialist also got a call up to the Ugandan national team and had his debut in a friendly match against Zambia in Kampala.
He played 28 matches, scoring two goals the entire season.
Patrick Matasi (GK – Posta Rangers), Whyvonne Isuza (Mathare United), Allan Wanga (Tusker FC), Karim Nizigiyamana (Gor Mahia), Jared Obwoge (Chemelil), Fredrick Shimonyo (Western Stima) and Hashim Sempala (Tusker FC)