NAIROBI, Kenya, March 2- Former champions Mathare United and Gor Mahia have the earliest possible chance to jumpstart their seasons when the clash on Wednesday under the Nyayo National Stadium floodlights.It will be the first time that a Kenya Premier League (KPL) match is played under floodlights and the teams are excited at making history.
“It will be a new feeling since so many players have never played under floodlights. This will also be a motivational tool for the players since they will be eager to test themselves so it should be a spectacle,” said Mathare United coach Francis Kimanzi.
“It’s not something we are used to but it will give us a different experience. We are used to playing during the day and this will be good practice because when you play continental fixtures, you may be forced to do so under floodlights and these games will give us the experience,” opined Gor Mahia coach Gideon Ochieng.
KPL management has gone to great lengths to ensure that they are ready for the match.
“We are working at beefing up security and there will be adequate security both inside and outside the stadium to ensure that fans can enjoy their football without worries,” said KPL CEO Jack Oguda.
On the pitch, both teams will be looking for their first win of the season after similarly slow starts.
Traditionally slow starters, United have drawn their first two matches of the season and will be looking to get the monkey off their back.
“The league is always tough at the start and some teams tend to start slowly while others tend to start well. No one will win the league with a perfect record, points will be dropped and as such there is no pressure. And after all if you feel pressure after two matches, what about towards the end of the season?” Kimanzi quipped.
Mathare will be boosted by the return of Simeon Mulama who sat out last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Chemilil after being sent off in the opening match of the season.
Gor desperately need a win after losing one and drawing the other of their two matches so far.
As a result, coach Gideon Ochieng is expecting a tough encounter. “The game will be very tough because both teams are looking for a winning formula and they fight it out hard for the win.”
Gor will again have to do without midfield lynchpin Peter Opiyo and in his absence Anthony Akumu will continue with his duties in the middle of the park with the youthful trio of George Odhiambo, Baldwin Ngwa and John Kiplagat relied upon to provide ammunition.