Association football is the most popular sport in Kenya, followed by rugby.
The governing body of football in Kenya is the Football Kenya Federation.
The Kenyan Premier League is the only fully professional league in the country, while the Kenyan National Super League is a mix of professional and semi-professional clubs.
There is a three-tier league system, with provincial, county and sub-county leagues below used to promote clubs to national leagues.
Kenyan Premier League
It consists of 18 of the top football clubs in the country.
The teams that finish in the bottom two at the end of the season are relegated to the second division (National Super League) and the team that finishes 16th of the 18 teams has to fight for survival against the team that finishes 3rd in the National Super League else that team is promoted at their expense.
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 18 clubs and operates on a promotion and relegation system with the Kenyan National Super League. Gor Mahia are the league’s most successful club, with a record 19 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.
Kenyan National Super League
This is the second tier of Kenyan football that consists of professional and semi-professional teams that compete to get promoted to the first division. It consists of 20 teams.
The Kenyan National Super League (also referred to as Betika Super League for sponsorship reasons) is the second tier of the Kenyan football league system, 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.
The league was formed 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.
The top 2 teams gain automatic promotion to the FKF Premier League whereas the 3rd placed team faces off in a playoff game against the 16th team from the first division to determine whether they get promoted or not.
The bottom two teams get automatically relegated to Division One and the 18th place team goes through the playoff match to fight for survival.
FKF Division One
The third tier of the Kenyan football system is controlled by the Football Kenya Federation as well.
Most clubs are semi-professional in this division but there are also some professional and amateur clubs that feature.
It is split into two zones – Zone A and Zone B. Both consist of 16 teams.
FKF Division One is 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.
FKF Division Two
This is the fourth division in Kenya football that is split into 4 zones – Northern, Central, Eastern and Western.
- Northern Zone – 15 clubs
- Central Zone – 30 clubs
- Eastern Zone – 24 clubs
- Western Zone – 15 clubs
The 5th tier consists of a further division of the zones from FKF Division.
Each League features 20 teams, which means each zone has a total of 40 clubs.
- Nyanza League
- Western League
- Rift Valley League
- Central League
- Nairobi League
- Eastern League
- North Eastern League
- Coast League
Each zone is divided into two leagues each creating 8 leagues in this division as you can see above.
County Champions League
The 6th division is broken up even further than the Regional Leagues where there are 6 leagues under each Regional League making it a total of 48 leagues.
- Baringo League
- Elgeyo-Marakwet League
- Kericho League
- Migori League
- Nyamira League
- Turkana League
- Bomet League
- Homa Bay League
- Kisii League
- Nakuru League
- Samburu League
- Uasin Gishu League
- Bungoma League
- Kajiado League
- Kisumu League
- Nandi League
- Siaya League
- Vihiga League
- Busia League
- Kakamega League
- Laikipia League
- Narok League
- Trans-Nzoia League
- West Pokot League
- Embu League
- Kilifi League
- Lamu League
- Marsabit League
- Nairobi A. League
- Taita-Taveta League
- Garissa League
- Kirinyaga League
- Machakos League
- Meru League
- Nairobi B. League
- Tana River League
- Isiolo League
- Kitui League
- Makueni League
- Mombasa League
- Nyandarua League
- Tharaka-Nithi League
- Kiambu League
- Kwale League
- Mandera League
- Murang’a League
- Nyeri League
- Wajir League
This is the final division of the Kenyan football system and where it all starts for an aspirant Kenyan football player.
FKF President’s Cup
This is the premier football knockout tournament in Kenya. It features all teams from the top divisions in Kenyan football.
The FKF President’s Cup (known as the Betway Shield cup for sponsorship reasons) is the top knockout tournament in Kenyan football.
It was created in 1956, but during its existence, the knockout tournament has had different names. It is the Kenyan equivalent to the FA Cup.
In 2003 two different cup competition’s were held in Kenya because the 4 semi-finalists of the President’s Cup withdrew from the KFF and continued with their “Transparency Cup” while the KFF continued their tournament with already eliminated clubs.
The 2020 edition was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, just a year after Betway betting firm were announced as the title sponsors.
Kenyan Super Cup
This is the cup is contested between the winners of the Kenyan Premier League and the FKF President’s Cup.
In case the same team wins both trophies then the 2nd placed team in the KPL would face off against them for the cup.
Having been formed in 2009, it is the Kenyan equivalent to the FA Community Shield of England, which is competed for by the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup.
KPL Top 8 Cup
The Top 8 Cup is a knockout tournament held between the top 8 teams in the Kenyan Premier League.
The KPL Top 8 Cup (also known as the KPL Top 8 Knockout, the KPL Top 8 Knockout Cup or simply the Top 8 Knockout, the Top 8 Cup or the Kenyan Top 8 Cup) is a Kenyan football championship contested by the top eight teams of the preceding Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season.
The inaugural edition of the tournament took place in 2011, with Ulinzi Stars as the winners.