Gor Mahia striker Benson Omala has set his sights on two targets as the 2023/24 Football Kenya Federation Premier League season kicks off on Saturday across the country.
The 21-year-old wants to help K’Ogalo retain the FKF-PL title and score 30 goals in the league this term.
Omala lost the battle for Golden Boot last season to Kenya Police striker Elvis Rupia. Omala scored 26 goals, one shy of Rupia’s total.
“I’m fresh and ready for the new season. My main target is to score more goals. The focus is on the Golden Boot and league title. This time I have to score goals early in the season to set the tone,” said Omala in an interview with Nation Sport.
There will be four matches on Saturday and another four on Sunday as the season gets underway.
Champions Gor Mahia open their title defence against Sofapaka on Saturday at Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani.
Gor Mahia have roped in Ugandan attacker Rodgers Mugisha as coach Johnthan McKinistry looks to sharpen his attack force. Omala, Mugisha, Chris Ochieng and Ugandan striker Patrick Kaddu are all gunning for a place in the starting line up.
“Anybody can get a chance and on the pitch no position is reserved for anybody. My fight for the Golden Boot will be determined on how many goals I score when given a chance. Competition will be stiff but I have to prove myself,” he added.
Other new recruits in Gor Mahia’s camp are midfielder Lawrence Juma – who is making a return to the club after two seasons at AS Kigali in Rwanda.
K’Ogalo have also signed highly rated midfielder Kevin Juma from Nzoia Sugar and defender Alvin Ochieng’.
The champions plan to host some of their home matches at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Mamboleo, Kisumu. FKF cleared the stadium to be used for league matches this season.
League returnees Shabana will take on debutants Murang’a Seal in their opening match at the Raila Odinga Stadium in Homa Bay County on Sunday. This is the first time the county will be hosting a top flight league match since independence.
“This is a big club with many fans and we can’t just be participants. The top league is tough but we are here to stay,” Shabana captain Peter Ogechi said.
Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga hosted Shabana for breakfast ahead of the match.
“Here we will be rooting for you and welcome you to host your matches. We are together and use the stadium well because it is still work in progress. You are our team and we will be your fans here,” said Wanga. The governor gave Shabana Sh500,000 to help cater for the team’s welfare.
New AFC Leopards defender Gideon Werre believes this is the season the team will end the long wait for a league title. Werre, 20, was not yet born when Leopards last won the title in 1998, but believes they have a formidable side this term.
“From the training sessions we have had, I’m convinced we have the quality to fight for the title. As a player this will be my second season in the league and I’m really looking forward to an improved performance,” said the youngster who joined Leopards from relegated Mathare United.
Leopards this season will be under the tutelage of coach Tom Juma, after they parted ways with Belgian tactician Patrick Aussems at the end of last season.
Among the notable signings for Ingwe are Clifton Miheso from Kenya Police and Brian Yakhama (FC Talanta) and midfielder Boniface Munyendo and goalkeeper Humprey Katasi, who joined from Nzoia Sugar.
Last season’s runners up Tusker start their campaign away to Bandari in Mombasa on Saturday while Kenya Police, who have recruited heavily in the close season window, face Kariobangi Sharks at Kasarani Annex.
Domestic cup winners Kakamega Homeboyz are not in action this weekend as they are away in Libya for the second leg of their CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round tie against Al Hilal Benghazi.
Kenya Police coach Francis Baraza says finishing third last season means the only achievement for the team this season will be winning the title.
The law enforcers have signed former Gor Mahia striker Tito Okello and midfielders Tyson Otieno and Kenneth Muguna.
“I have only signed four players and there is a lot of talent across all departments among the 28 players we have. In the midfield Muguna has the experience while Tyson who is still young has also played many league games before and is a good addition. We are going for the title,” Baraza told Nation Sport.
Fixtures (All matches kicks off at 3pm)
Bandari v Tusker (Mbaraki)
Nzoia Sugar v Ulinzi Stars (Sudi)
Gor Mahia v Sofapaka (Kasarani)
Kariobangi Sharks v Kenya Police (Kasarani Annex)
Posta Rangers v Bidco United (Kasarani)
AFC Leopards v FC Talanta (Nyayo)
Nairobi City Stars v Muhoroni Youth (Kasarani Annex)
Shabana v Murang’a Seal (Raila Odinga)