The Kenyan Premier League (KPL), officially known as the FKF Premier League, is a professional league for men's association football clubs in Kenya. Standing at the top of the Kenyan football league system, the league was formed in 1963 under the Kenya Football Federation but is now controlled by the Football Kenya Federation. It is contested by 18 clubs and operates on a promotion and relegation system with the Kenyan National Super League. Gor Mahia are the current champions having won the 2022–23 season.
|Number of teams||18|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||National Super League|
|Domestic cup(s)||FKF Cup|
Top 8 Cup
|International cup(s)||CAF Champions League|
CAF Confederation Cup
|Current champions||Gor Mahia |
|Most championships||Gor Mahia|
The league was mostly stable until the late 1990s and since then its performance had been considered below average, with many of the league's clubs having little or no finances to support themselves. However, when SuperSport became an official league partner, the league has taken on a more serious role with teams becoming professional and the majority of the clubs managing to get kit sponsorships. This saw the level of competition improve compared to past periods.
Following constant wrangles between the then football governing administration and the eventual deteriorating of the National Football League, participating clubs opted out and decided to form a company that would see the smooth running of the league in a professional and transparent manner. In 2003, the Kenyan Premier League was created and registered as a limited liability company whose ownership was shared amongst all the sixteen participating clubs and was to be affiliated to the Kenya Football Federation.
The league was known as the Kenya National Football League from its creation in 1963 to 1996, the Kenyan Super League in 1973 and 1997 and, from 1998, the Kenyan Premier League.
Corporate structure edit
The Kenyan Premier League is operated and run as a private limited company incorporated in October 2003 under the Companies Act of Kenya. It is fully owned and managed by the 18 member clubs with each club being a shareholder. It is affiliated to Football Kenya Federation, which is also a shareholder and voting member of the KPL Board of directors. Non-voting members include the Kenya Football Coaches Association and the Kenya Football Referees Association.
The improved level of competition and eventual attention given to the league by the fans has seen major companies in Kenya lining up to partner with clubs. At the moment, the league does not have a title sponsorship but it has a broadcasting deal with SuperSport. Umbro is the official referee kit supplier and is also the official ball provider.
On 18 October 2012 the league signed a KSh.10 million/= (US$117,275; £73,242 stg; €90,052) deal with Puma, which made them the Official ball supplier for the league and its clubs with immediate effect.
On 24 November 2020, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) unveiled StarTimes as their official broadcasting partners for the FKF Premier League, through signing a seven-year deal worth US$1.1 million (KSh.110 million/= per year).
Title sponsor edit
On 21 August 2012 the Kenyan Premier League signed a KSh.170 million/= (US$2.02 million; £1.28 million stg; €1.62 million) deal with East African Breweries to rename the league to the Tusker Premier League, the most lucrative deal in Kenyan football history at the time.
On 6 August 2015, East African betting company SportPesa gained the naming rights to the league, signing a four-and-a-half-year deal with the KPL reportedly worth KSh.450 million/= (approx. US$4.36 million, £2.84 million stg. or €3.87 million) to rename the league to the SportPesa Premier League. As part of the sponsorship, a new trophy was revealed by SportPesa and the KPL on 30 October 2015, with Gor Mahia, the 2015 champions, set to be its first recipient and retain the previous trophy for good. The trophy was manufactured in Italy, weighs 12 kg (26 lb) and is made of brass. In 2018, SportPesa ceased operating in Kenya and ended its sponsorship of the KPL.
In July 2020, the FKF has announced a title sponsorship deal for the KPL with online betting firm BetKing Kenya in a five-year deal worth a total of KES1.2bn ($11.2m/€9.8m), or an average of KES240m per year, with the league called the BetKing Premier League. The deal was terminated in 2021.
|2012 to 2015||East African Breweries||Tusker Premier League|
|2015 to 2018||SportPesa||SportPesa Premier League|
|2018 to 2019||No title sponsor||Kenyan Premier League|
|2020 to 2021||BetKing||BetKing Premier League|
|2021 to present||No title sponsor||Kenyan Premier League|
There are 18 clubs in the Kenyan Premier League. During the course of a season, traditionally from February to November but switched to August to May in 2018, each club plays the others twice (a double round-robin system): once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 34 games. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, the ordering is determined by their head-to-head records. If there is a tie for the championship, for relegation, or for qualification to other competitions, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank. The two lowest placed teams are relegated to the National Super League, with its top two teams promoted in their place. The 16th placed team squares off with the third-best team from the National Super League for the third promotion slot.
In 2018 the league switched from a Feb/Nov calendar to an August to May competition to bring it in line with other countries. The 2018/2019 season bridges the gap running from December 2018 to July 2019 after which the seasons will align with those of European nations.
2022–23 Clubs edit
Location Map edit
Previous winners edit
- 1963 : Nakuru All-Stars (Nakuru)
- 1964 : Luo Union (Nairobi)
- 1965 : Feisal FC (Mombasa)
- 1966 : Abaluhya FC (Nairobi)
- 1967 : Abaluhya FC (Nairobi)
- 1968 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1969 : not played
- 1970 : Abaluhya FC (Nairobi)
- 1971 : not played
- 1972 : Kenya Breweries (Nairobi)
- 1973 : Abaluhya FC (Nairobi)
- 1974 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1975 : Luo Union (Nairobi)
- 1976 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1977 : Kenya Breweries (Nairobi)
- 1978 : Kenya Breweries (Nairobi)
- 1979 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1980 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1981 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1982 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1983 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1984 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1985 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1986 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1987 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1988 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1989 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1990 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1991 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1992 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1993 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1994 : Kenya Breweries (Nairobi)
- 1995 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 1996 : Kenya Breweries (Nairobi)
- 1997 : Utalii FC (Ruaraka)
- 1998 : AFC Leopards (Nairobi)
- 1999 : Tusker FC (Nairobi)
- 2000 : Tusker FC (Nairobi)
- 2001 : Oserian Fastac FC (Naivasha)
- 2002 : Oserian Fastac FC (Naivasha)
- 2003 : Ulinzi Stars (Nakuru)
- 2004 : Ulinzi Stars (Nakuru)
- 2005 : Ulinzi Stars (Nakuru)
- 2006 : SoNy Sugar (Awendo)
- 2007 : Tusker (Nairobi)
- 2008 : Mathare United (Nairobi)
- 2009 : Sofapaka (Nairobi)
- 2010 : Ulinzi Stars (Nakuru)
- 2011 : Tusker (Nairobi)
- 2012 : Tusker (Nairobi)
- 2013 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 2014 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 2015 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 2016 : Tusker (Nairobi)
- 2017 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 2018 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 2018-19 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 2019-20 : Gor Mahia (Nairobi)
- 2020-21 : Tusker (Nairobi)
- 2021-22 : Tusker (Nairobi)
Total titles won edit
|Gor Mahia||20||1968, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2022-23|
|Tusker||13||1972, 1977, 1978, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2020-21, 2021-22|
|A.F.C. Leopards||12||1966, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1998|
|Ulinzi Stars||4||2003, 2004, 2005, 2010|
|Luo Union||2||1964, 1975|
Top scorers in past seasons edit
"This man was a like a lion my friend, he had no mercy with goalkeepers. Most of them used to run away from goal when they see him because he would kill you with the shots. There was no joke. He was on fire. Leave the kids of nowadays alone; you score only 12 goals and you're top scorer? Our days were tough."
The league record for most goals scored in one season is currently held by Maurice Ochieng, who completed the 1976 season with 26 goals for Gor Mahia. His former teammate, Joe Kadenge, praised him as a lethal striker in front of goal.
[*]Award was shared during that season
|1976||Maurice Ochieng||Gor Mahia||26|
|2007||Kevin Ngugi||Coast Stars||15|
|2008||Francis Ouma||Mathare United||15|
|2011||Stephen Waruru||Ulinzi Stars||12|
|2013||Jacob Keli||Kenya Commercial Bank||17|
|2014||Dan Sserunkuma||Gor Mahia||16|
|2016||John Makwatta||Ulinzi Stars||18|
|2017||Masoud Juma||Kariobangi Sharks||17|
|2018||Erick Kapaito||Kariobangi Sharks||16|
|[*]2018–19||Allan Wanga||Kakamega Homeboyz||17|
|[*]2018–19||Enosh Ochieng||Ulinzi Stars||17|
|2020–21||Erick Kapaito||Kariobangi Sharks||24|
|Elvis Rupia||Kenya Police||27|
|Benson Omala||Gor Mahia|
- Most time topscorers
- 3 times
- John Baraza (2009, 2010, 2012)
- Most goals by a player in a single season
- 27 goals
- Elvis Rupia (2022-23)
Multiple hat-tricks edit
|Mwingi Shami Kibwama|
- Most hat-tricks in single season
- 10 hat-tricks (2022-23)
- Most hat-tricks by a player in a single season;
See also edit
- "Puma deal for Premier League". SuperSport.com. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Eshitemi, Rodgers (24 November 2020). "FKF unveils StarTimes as official Premier League broadcast partners, KTN acquires free to air rights". Standard Media. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "KPL now Tusker PL in Sh170m deal". 98.4 Capital FM. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "SportPesa are new sponsors of Kenyan Premier League". Goal.com. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "New SportPesa Premier League trophy unveiled". Kenyan Premier League. 30 October 2015. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "SportPesa to end Kenya football league sponsorship over tax". BBC News. 2017-06-23.
- Ross, Martin (2020-07-16). "FKF heralds eight-figure Kenyan Premier League title sponsorship". SportBusiness.
- Fletcher, Robert (2021-08-09). "Kenyan Premier League terminates BetKing sponsorship deal". iGB.
- "Summary – Premier League – Kenya". soccerway.com.
- "KPL embraces changes for new season". 4 July 2020.
- Dennis Machio (24 October 2010). "Kenya's all time top scorer Maurice Sonyi honored". Retrieved 15 July 2012. (Portion of Joe Kadenge quote translated from Swahili)
- James Waindi. "Sonyi fears his son Ochieng' will down Gor Mahia". Retrieved 15 July 2012.
- Kenyan Premier League – Official website
- Kenyan Premier League at FIFA
- Kenya – List of Champions, RSSSF.com