First things first, who is a defender in a football match?. In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals.
The first priority of the defender should be to prohibit the ball from reaching the attacker or stopping the attacker from turning goal-side with the ball. If that fails, the defender should contain the offensive player and force them to give up the ball away from the goal or risk being tackled as they turn. Final strategies include maneuvering the attacker into a less dangerous space or getting into position to deflect the attacker's shot or pass.
The defender's role in stopping forward movement by the offense is not limited to overpowering the attacker. They must work to rush, pressure and confuse the attacker, thus causing them to make mistakes. Taking advantage of your opponent's errors makes it easier for you to win the ball and deny penetration toward your goal. A solid defense is a crucial part of a successful soccer team.
Back to the 2017 Kenyan Premier League, various partnerships have been made defensively in all teams but some have been more effective in preventing the opponents from scoring goals.
The number of goals conceded is crucial when it comes to determining the goal difference. When teams are in the table on an equal number of points, the most common method of determining who goes higher than the other is goal difference. Simply the number of goals scored minus the number of goals conceded. In theory, the better team of the two should have a bigger goal difference meaning they're winning games in a bigger.
Below are some of the meanest teams in the league this season.
1. Gor Mahia, Kakamega Homeboyz (14 Goals conceded)
League leaders Gor Mahia and third placed Kakamega Homeboyz are the two teams that have conceded the least number of goals so far.
Gor Mahia, under the defensive partnership of captain Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava, Karim Nizigiyimana and the rotating duo of Godfrey Walusimbi and Wellington Ochieng have surely made life difficult for strikers in opposing teams this season.
Most people attribute Gor's top position to the efficiency of their strikers, but some of the extolment should be directed to the defenders who have worked effortlessly to preserve 13 clean sheets in 24 matches.
Kógalo's biggest defeat was 2-0 loss against Sofapaka back in June. The 15-time champions are not only formidable at the back but also at the front where they have managed to score a total 36 goals, only second to Sofapaka.
On their part, Kakamega Homeboyz are on the road to bettering their 8th place finish last season as they currently sit 3rd overall with 39 points from 25 matches.
Through the central defense partnership of Erick Ambunya and George Odiwuor, Homeboyz have only conceded 14 goals while scoring 19 goals, a feat that has largely influenced by their ranking.
The Mike Mururi coached side has managed six clean sheets with their biggest defeat being a 2-1 loss in the hands of Nzoia United back in April.
2. Kariobangi Sharks (17 Goals conceded)
In their maiden season at top flight football, Kariobangi Sharks have astonished lots of football faithfuls with their performances which have been more than what many expected. The team is currently 4th on the league table after accruing ten wins, nine draws and six losses.
The quartet of Harambee Stars trialist Pascal Ogweno, Geoffrey Shiveka, Michael Bodo and Bolton Omwenga have more often than not been at the heart of Sharks' impressive displays with their defending skills and partnership.
The Nairobi based club has managed 14 clean sheets, the most of any club so far.
Posta Rangers (18 Goals conceded)
As much as they have seen a sharp plunge in form in recent matches, Posta Rangers are still among the clubs that have conceded the least goals. The mailmen have been aided by their results at the start of the season where they went for eleven matches without a loss and conceded only three goals in those fixtures.
The man at the heart of the defense is former Harambee Stars defender Jockins Atudo who doubles up as the team captain. He has in most games partnered with Simon Mbugua, Luke Ochieng and Jerry Santos.
Head coach Sammy `Pamzo' Omollo's idea of collaborating the four defenders every weekend perhaps explains how they comprehend each other on the pitch with minimal miscommunications.
Rangers have kept 11 clean sheets with their biggest loss being 1-0.
SoNy Sugar (20 Goals conceded)
Placed 10th on the league table, SoNy Sugar is another team which is looking to better the position they finished in last season.
The side has managed to keep 10 clean sheets in 25 matches and have only conceded twenty goals. The sugar millers are however not that effective in terms of scoring as they have so far scored only 18 goals. Their biggest defeats were 2-0 losses against Muhoroni, Kariobangi Sharks and Chemelil Sugar.