The long awaited 2017 SportPesa Premier League will begin on Saturday, 11 March.

The Kenyan Premier League has released the first tranche of fixtures that cover two months and will involve an expanded 18 teams.

Promoted teams from the National Super League are Nakumatt, Nzoia United, Kariobangi Sharks and Zoo Kericho.

Reigning league champions Tusker will host newbies Nzoia United on Saturday, March 11 at venue to be announced later, while runners up Gor Mahia have a date with Kariobangi Sharks away on Sunday at a venue that will also be communicated later.

AFC Leopards, who are chasing a 14th Premier League title, will be up against Ulinzi Stars on Saturday in one of the enticing clashes of the weekend as Sony Sugar and Chemelil Sugar face off at the Awendo Green Stadium.

Zoo Kericho and Nakumatt will open their season’s campaign in top flight football with tough games against Posta Rangers and Bandari respectively.

“The fixtures were ready long ago, but we couldn’t make them public when there was a case going on in court. That is why we asked the SDT (Sports Dispute Tribunal) to give us the position on the relegation of the two clubs (Muhoroni Youth and Sofapaka) as well as the promotion of Vihiga United and KCB before we could make any further move,” KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda said.

Sofapaka and Muhoroni have a case pending in the SDT challenging their relegation from the Kenyan Premier League by Football Kenya Federation over failure to meet the recently introduced Club Licensing Requirements. The FKF want Vihiga and KCB promoted in their stead.

The fixtures provisionally include two undetermined clubs that will be slotted into the league once the case at the SDT is concluded.

2017 SportsPesa Premier League Round One fixtures:

Saturday March 11 – Tusker vs Nzoia United (TBA), Bandari vs Nakumatt (Mbaraki), Kakamega vs Homeboyz vs Team Y (Mumias), AFC Leopards vs Ulinzi Stars* (TBA), Zoo Kericho vs Posta Rangers (TBA)

Sunday March 12 – Mathare United vs Thika United (TBA), Kariobangi Sharks vs Gor Mahia (TBA), Sony Sugar vs Chemelil Sugar (Awendo), Western Stima vs Team X (Kisumu)