Kenyan Premier League
|Number of teams||18|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||National Super League|
|Domestic cup(s)||President's Cup|
Top 8 Cup
|International cup(s)||CAF Champions League|
CAF Confederation Cup
|Current champions||Gor Mahia |
|Most championships||Gor Mahia|
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 16 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 15 titles to their name.
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, since 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.
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 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. 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.
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. 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.
There are 16 clubs in the Kenyan Premier League. During the course of a season, usually from February to November, 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 30 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.
|A.F.C. Leopards||Nairobi||Nyayo National Stadium||30,000|
|Bandari||Mombasa||Mombasa Municipal Stadium||10,000|
|Chemelil Sugar||Chemelil||Chemelil Sports Complex||5,000|
|Gor Mahia||Nairobi||Nairobi City Stadium||15,000|
|Kakamega Homeboyz||Kakamega||Bukhungu Stadium||5,000|
|Kariobangi Sharks||Nairobi||Narok Stadium||4,000|
|Mathare United||Nairobi||Kasarani Stadium||60,000|
|Nakumatt||Nairobi||Moi International Sports Complex (Kasarani Stadium).||60,000|
|Nzoia United||Bungoma||Kanduyi Stadium||5,000|
|Posta Rangers||Eldoret||Kipchoge Keino Stadium||10,000|
|Sony Sugar||Awendo||Green Stadium||5,000|
|Thika United||Thika||Thika Municipal Stadium||15,000|
|Ulinzi Stars||Nakuru||Afraha Stadium||8,200|
|Vihiga United||Kakamega||Bukhungu Stadium||5,000|
|Wazito||Nairobi||Statehouse Primary School||5,000|
|Zoo Kericho||Kericho||Green Stadium||3,000|
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.
- 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)
Total titles won
|Gor Mahia||17||1968, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018|
|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|
Top scorers in recent seasons
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.
|2013||Jacob Keli||Kenya Commercial Bank||17|
|2014||Dan Sserunkuma||Gor Mahia||16|
|2016||John Mark Makwatta||Ulinzi Stars||15|
|2017||Masoud Juma||Kariobangi Sharks||17|
- "KPL now Tusker PL in Sh170m deal". 98.4 Capital FM. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Puma deal for Premier League". SuperSport.com. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 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. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- 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.