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Kenyan Premier League

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL), also known as the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) for sponsorship reasons, 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 league's current champions and most successful club, with a record 17 titles to their name.

Kenyan Premier League
SportPesa Premier League.png
Number of teams18
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toNational Super League
Domestic cup(s)President's Cup
Super Cup
Top 8 Cup
International cup(s)CAF Champions League
CAF Confederation Cup
Current championsGor Mahia
Most championshipsGor Mahia
(18 titles)
TV partnersKTN News
2018–19 Kenyan Premier League

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 structureEdit

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 current CEO is Jack Oguda and Frank Okoth is the current COO and LNO. Okoth is also in charge of logistics.


East African Breweries, through their Tusker brand, held the naming rights to the league from 21 August 2012 to 6 August 2015.

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 21 August 2012 the Kenyan Premier League signed a Ksh. 170 million (US$2.02 million; £1.28 million; 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.[1] On 18 October 2012 the league signed a Ksh. 10 million (US$117,275; £73,242; 90,052) deal with Puma, which made them the Official ball supplier for the league and its clubs with immediate effect.[2]

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 or €3.87 million) to rename the league to the SportPesa Premier League.[3] 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 recipients and retain the previous trophy for good. The trophy was manufactured in Italy, weighs 12 kg (26 lb) and is made of brass.[4] In 2018, Sportpesa ceased operating in Kenya and halted its sponsorship of the KPL.


There are 18 clubs in the Kenyan Premier League.[5] 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[6]. 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.

2019–20 ClubsEdit

Logo used from January 2003 to August 2012.

The league's most popular teams are rivals A.F.C. Leopards and Gor Mahia.last title-winning season in 2018, while A.F.C. Leopards won their 12th league title in 1998.

Team Location Stadium Capacity
A.F.C. Leopards Nairobi Nyayo National Stadium 30,000
Bandari Mombasa Mombasa Municipal Stadium 10,000
Chemelil Sugar Chemelil Chemelil Sports Complex 1
Gor Mahia Nairobi Nairobi City Stadium 15,000
Kakamega Homeboyz Kakamega Bukhungu Stadium 5,000
Kariobangi Sharks Nairobi Narok Stadium 4,000
Kenya Commercial Bank Nairobi Nairobi City Stadium 15,000
Kisumu All Stars Kisumu Moi Stadium 5,000
Mathare United Nairobi Kasarani Stadium 60,000
Nzoia United Bungoma Kanduyi Stadium 5,000
Posta Rangers Eldoret Kipchoge Keino Stadium 10,000
Sofapaka Nairobi Narok Stadium 4,000
Sony Sugar Awendo Green Stadium 5,000
Tusker Meru Kinoru Stadium 60,000
Ulinzi Stars Nakuru Afraha Stadium 8,200
Wazito Machakos Kenyatta Stadium[7] 5,000
Western Stima Kakamega Bukhungu Stadium 5,000
Zoo Kericho Kericho Green Stadium 3,000

Head coachesEdit

Head coaches in the league are involved in the regular running of their teams, including the training, team selection and player acquisition. Their influence and popularity varies from club-to-club and is related to the ownership of the club and the relationship of the manager with fans.

A.F.C. Leopards   Nikola Kavazović
Bandari   Ken Odhiambo
Chemelil Sugar   Francis Baraza
Gor Mahia   Hassan Oktay
Kakamega Homeboyz   Paul Nkata
Kariobangi Sharks   William Muluya
Mathare United   Francis Kimanzi
Mt Kenya United   Anthony Mwangi
Nzoia   Benard Mwalala
Posta Rangers   Zedekiah Otieno
Sofapaka   Melis Medo
Sony Sugar   Salim Babu
Thika United   John Njogu
Tusker   Robert Matano
Ulinzi Stars   Dunstan Nyaundo
Zoo Kericho   Sammy Okoth

Previous winnersEdit

Source: RSSSF – Kenya – List of champions

Total titles wonEdit

Club Winners Winning years
Gor Mahia 18 1968, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2018–19
A.F.C. Leopards 12 1966, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1998
Tusker 11 1972, 1977, 1978, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2016
Ulinzi Stars 4 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010
Luo Union 2 1964, 1975
Oserian 2001, 2002
Nakuru AllStars 1 1963
Feisal 1965
Utalii 1997
Sony Sugar 2006
Mathare United 2008
Sofapaka 2009

Top scorers in recent seasonsEdit

"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."

Joe Kadenge speaking in October 2010 on his days as a player with Maurice Ochieng.[8]

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.[9] His former teammate, Joe Kadenge, praised him as a lethal striker in front of goal.[8]

Year Player Club Goals
2012   John Baraza Sofapaka 18
2013   Jacob Keli Kenya Commercial Bank 17
2014   Dan Sserunkuma Gor Mahia 16
2015   Jesse Were Tusker 22
2016   John Mark Makwatta Ulinzi Stars 15
2017   Masoud Juma Kariobangi Sharks 17
2018   Erick Kapaito Kariobangi Sharks 16

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "KPL now Tusker PL in Sh170m deal". 98.4 Capital FM. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Puma deal for Premier League". 18 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  3. ^ "SportPesa are new sponsors of Kenyan Premier League". 6 August 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  4. ^ "New SportPesa Premier League trophy unveiled". Kenyan Premier League. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Summary – Premier League – Kenya".
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Kenya - Wazito FC".
  8. ^ a b 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)
  9. ^ James Waindi. "Sonyi fears his son Ochieng' will down Gor Mahia". Retrieved 15 July 2012.

External linksEdit