Football wise, there’s not a day that Kenya’s second tier National Super League (NSL) side Nairobi City Stars could be compared to English Premiership big wheels Liverpool, Ukraine’s Shaktar Donetsk, Greek sides Olympiakos and PAOK, Czechia’s Slavia Prague and Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg.
Not an ounce will give them a chance against African colossal TP Mazembe from Congo DR, APR of Rwanda or Cypriot top tier side Anorthosis.
But months into the 2019/2020 season, Nairobi City Stars find itself cited with all the aforementioned as, across the globe, they are the very few teams still unbeaten into the first week of December 2019.
To be in the extraordinary league to walk the streets with Liverpool, Shaktar Donetsk, Olympiakos et al, City Stars is unblemished in 18 straight games and sits top of the 19-team NSL with 43 points, eight clear of the chasing pack.
The contiguous streak has been masterminded by Bosnian & Herzegovina UEFA Pro coach Sanjin Alagic who was roped in during the off season with the simple objective of leading the team back to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) next season.
Though getting the right mention now, Nairobi City Stars is miles off previous unbeaten records set in Kenya’s second tier; Nzoia United went unbeaten in their first 31 games in the 2016 season while Kariobangi Sharks knitted up a 29 game unbeaten run in their last set of games the same season. With those impressive streaks both earned promotion to the 2017 KPL.
Vihiga United had an 18-game run on the way to winning the 2017 NSL while Nairobi Stima were unbeaten in 22 games in 2018 and 20 in the first set of games into the transitional 2018/19 NSL season. Ushuru FC too had an 18-game unbeaten streak in 2018.
Slavia Prague from the Czech Republic better City Stars’s unbeaten run by one as, 19-game into the season, they stay unchecked and top of the Czech Liga.
The team beat Slovan Liberec 3-0 at the u Nisy Stadium on Friday 6 December 2019 to extend their unbeaten run in the 16-team league to 25 games running into last season. The team sits on 51 points and carries a 14-point lead over second placed Viktoria Plzen.
On Saturday 7 December 2019, City Stars hit host Administration Police 3-1 at Camp Toyoyo in Jericho, Nairobi to extend their unbeaten streak to 18 games, and 22 considering the last four games of last season. Nairobi Stima comes second.
Red Bull Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk unbeaten in 17 games
On Friday 6 December 2019, Shakhtar Donetsk beat Olimpik Donetsk 3-0 in front of 2,372 spectators at the Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist in Kharkiv to make it 17 games unbeaten this season.
The team is now on 47 points to top the 12-team Ukraine Premier League with 14 points on second placed Zorya. Collectively Shakhtar Donetsk is unbeaten in an incredible 46 league games, a streak that began with a 4-1 beating of Vorskla back on 11 August 2018.
The only team to have beaten Shakhtar from the start of year 2018 is Dynamo Kyiv who registered three wins between April and August 2018.
On Saturday 7 December 2019, as witnessed by 8,107 fans, Salzburg walloped Swarovski Tirol 5-1 at Red Bull Arena in Wals-Siezenheim for their 13th Austrian Bundesliga win that kept them unchecked in 17 games this season.
The team sits on 43-points and carries a two-point advantage over LASK in the 12-team league. Last beaten by Wolfsberger in April 2018, Salzburg is now unbeaten in 21 league games going into last season.
In the English Premiership, an unstoppable Liverpool had a routine 3-0 walk through over host AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in Dorset for their 15th win in 16 games this season to hit the 46 point mark to stay eight points ahead of second placed Leicester in the 20-team log.
Liverpool is now unbeaten in 33 EPL games, their last loss being a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in early January 2018.
APR, Olympiakos Piraeus and PAOK unbeaten in 13 games
In Rwanda 17-time League champions APR are on to a perfect run and are unchecked in 13 straight games. A 3-2 win over Gasogi United on Saturday kept their sails high lifting the team to the 31-point mark in the National Super League, three clear of Rayon Sports. Adding the final game of last season, APR is now unbeaten in 14 league games.
Two Greek Super League 1 sides Olympiakos Piraeus and PAOK are toe to toe in their race up to the top tier league and just like APR, are both are unbeaten in 13 league games to sit on 31-points. The former however leads the 14-team log with a superior goal difference.
To stay clear of a defeat this season, Olympiakos Piraeus beat the famed Panaitolikos 3-0 on Saturday as PAOK hit Xanthi on the same day.
PAOK is unbeaten in an incredible 48 straight Greek Super League 1 games while Olympiakos Piraeus is now unbeaten in 23 league games. PAOK’s last fall was a 3-0 defeat to AEK Athens back on 11 March 2018.
Tanzania Prisons unchecked in 12 games
Across the borders to the East African hood, Tanzania Prisons is on a 12-game unbeaten run in the 20-team Ligi Kuu Bara. The team’s real acumen in the league could have been put to test at the end of November but a game against big boys Young Africans (Yanga) was postponed.
In spite of their perfect run into the season, Tanzania Prisons is placed fourth on the Tanzanian log with 20 points, five off the pace set by giants Simba. They are the only team with an unbeaten run not topping the standings.
TP Mazembe, Anorthosis on ten
Out in Cyprus, 1 Division leaders Anorthosis stay unbeaten in 11 games. The team outmaneuvered AEL 2-0 on Saturday at Stadio Antonis Papadopoulos in Lárnaka to continue to lead the 12-team league by moving to the 27-point mark, two ahead of Omonia Nicosia.
Anorthosis run matches that of African powerhouse TP Mazembe who hit Dauphins Noirs 2-0 last Thursday to stretch to the 29-point mark to sit two points ahead of Groupe Bazano with three games in hand.