Football is a popular spectator sport in Kenya. Kenya was a regional power in football, but its dominance has been eroded by wrangles within the Kenya Football Federation. This led to a suspension by FIFA which was lifted in March, 2007. Football in Kenya is currently controlled by the Football Kenya Federation.
Kenya Football League has been structured in 6 tier.
Tier 1 – Kenyan Premier League has 18 teams
Tier 2 – Kenyan National Super League has 20 teams
Tier 3 – FKF National Division One (2 groups) has 31 teams
Tier 4 – FKF Regional Division Two (4 zones)
Tier 5 – Kenyan County Leagues (56 leagues)
Tier 6 – Kenyan Sub-County Leagues.
Kenya Premier League
It’s a professional league for men’s association football clubs in Kenya which 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.
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.
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.
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 and is made of brass. In 2018, Sportpesa ceased operating in Kenya and halted its sponsorship of the KPL.
|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|
|Sony Sugar||Awendo||Green Stadium||5,000|
|Ulinzi Stars||Nakuru||Afraha Stadium||8,200|
|Western Stima||Kakamega||Bukhungu Stadium||5,000|
|Zoo Kericho||Kericho||Green Stadium||3,000|
Kenyan National Super League
It’s the second tier of the Kenyan football league system founded in2013, with a promotion and relegation system with the Kenyan Premier League and FKF Division One. Some of the league’s member clubs are fully professional, while others are semi-professional.
There are 20 clubs in the Kenyan National Super League. During the course of a season, 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 38 games.
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 top two teams are promoted to the Premier League while the third ranked team takes part in a promotion/relegation playoff with the 16th placed team in the Premier League. In the same way, the bottom two teams of the National Super League are relegated to Division One, with the top two teams from both Division One zones promoted in their place.
Nairobi City Stars, Nairobi Stima, Bidco United, Vihiga United, Migori Youth, Ushuru, Coast Stima, Mt. Kenya United, Fortune Sacco, Shabana, Muranga Seal, Vihiga Bullets, Kenya Police, FC Talanta, APS Bomet, Kibera Black Stars, Administration Police, Modern Coast Rangers, St. Joseph’s Youth, Northern Wanderers.
FKF National Division One
It’s the third tier in the Kenyan football league system. It has a promotion and relegation system with the Kenyan National Super League and the Kenyan Provincial League. It is controlled by the Football Kenya Federation. Most member clubs are semi-professional, while others are either fully professional or amateur.
The league was formed after the Kenyan Nationwide League was divided into two 16-team zones in 2008. In 2009 the two zones were later restructured to form “Nationwide League Division One” and “Nationwide League Division Two”, representing the second and third divisions of Kenyan football.
Division One was later renamed the FKL Nationwide League after former governing body Football Kenya Limited, while Division Two was renamed the KFF Nationwide League after former governing body, the Kenya Football Federation. The two leagues were merged after the 2011 season, and the consequent league was divided into Zone A and Zone B, with teams from the Eastern and Western halves Kenya respectively. Due to a lack of enough teams from Zone B, a number of teams were promoted from the provincial leagues in the Western half.
For the 2013 season, all Division One teams endorsed a decision to split both Zone A and Zone B into two groups of 12 teams each, increasing the total number of teams in the league to 48. It was decided that the first group from Zone A comprise teams from the Nairobi, Aberdares and Mount Kenya regions while the second group comprise teams from the Eastern, North and South Coast regions. The first group from Zone B is to comprise teams from the South Nyanza, Central and South Rift regions while the second group comprise teams from the North Nyanza, North Rift and Western regions. Winners from each of these four groups will play the winners from the other group in their zone in a two-legged play-off tie to determine who gains promotion to the Kenyan Premier League for the following season.
From the beginning of the 2014 season, FKF Division One was taken down to the third tier of the Kenyan football league system to give way to the Kenyan National Super League, now putting it above the Kenyan Provincial League, in line with the introduction of a new six-tier system by the Football Kenya Federation to take effect at the beginning of that season.
MOSCA, Liberty Sports Academy, Tiki, Strathmore University, SS Assad, Kilifi All-Stars, Buruburu Sports, Mitunguu United, Vegpro, Nunguni Yulu, Ligi Ndogo, Muranga Seal, Vapor Sports, Mwatate United, Naivas, Green Berets
Bungoma Superstars, Poror Mote, APS Bomet, Kisumu Hot Stars, St. Joseph’s Youth Academy, Zoo Youth, Transfoc, Raiply, Muhoroni Youth, Timsales, Transmara Sugar, Bondo United, Busia Wolves, Nakuru All-Stars, Silibwet, G.F.E 105
Kenyan County Leagues
The Kenyan County Leagues were the fifth tier in the Kenyan football league system. They had a promotion and relegation system with the Kenyan Provincial League and the Kenyan District League, and were divided into several interconnected county divisions that spanned over the counties of Kenya. They were scrapped at the end of the 2013 season in line with the introduction of a new six-tier system by the Football Kenya Federation on 10 July 2013.
Kenyan Sub-County Leagues
The Kenyan Sub-County Leagues are the sixth and lowest tier of the Kenyan football league system. They have a promotion and relegation system with the Kenyan County Champions League. Member clubs are amateur.
The leagues were formed on 10 July 2013 in line with the introduction of a new six-tier system by the Football Kenya Federation to take effect from the beginning of the 2014 season.