Sanity returns after sack race

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 2- After a week dominated by managerial casualties, round nine of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) that concludes on Monday with two games on the cards saw a return of sanity in the competition.

After leaders Tuskers were fermented to a barren draw by battling Karuturi Sports, Rangers have the chance to move to within two points of the Brewers if they can stop reigning champions Ulinzi at Nyayo Stadium on Monday evening.

AFC Leopards who will be under new coach Nick Yakhama hope to wipe their coastal blues when they play struggling Bandari at the same venue.

Robert Matano was sacked by the club after the Leopards lost to Bandari neighbours Congo United in Mombasa last week.

Back to the weekend action, one of the five casualties of the coaches sacking musical chairs, Francis Baraza, who was restored at Sony Sugar by popular pressure after walking out of the club last weekend, was the happiest man.

Now fully in charge of the Awendo based sugar men after winning the war of attrition  that saw him throw in the towel after his side lost to 2-0 KCB last weekend Joshua Oyoo 77th minute effort saw Baraza’s ten men top Western Stima 1-0 in Awendo.

It was the second straight loss for highflying Stima who slide to fourth in the standings while the victors snapped a five-match losing sequence that saw Baraza depart under a haze of sabotage and illicit affairs claims.

The veteran coach who led the side to the title in 2006 was re-instated after the club’s board met midweek.

After Leopards had their spots plucked by bottom club Congo United, it was the turn of the other domestic giant, Gor Mahia to make the trip to Mbaraki Grounds to face the side now under former AFC coach, Chris Makokha.

The K’Ogalo traveling support and their team barely left with their dignity after substitute Dan Makori neutralised matter with seven minutes to full-time for a 2-2 stalemate.

Ezekiel Odera stunned the home crowd in the 19th minute when he coolly scored off an Edwin Lavatsa pass but Congo’s Simba Lazaro levelled matters before Wycliffe Ochoma put his side 2-1 at the breather.

The draw saw Gor Mahia move up a place in the standings to fifth, seven points adrift of leaders Tusker who are on 22.

With only six days to go before 2009 champions Sofapaka meet Democratic Republic of Congo’s St Eloi Lupopo in the CAF Confederations Cup third round return leg, their faltering form will be a concern after KCB held then to a barren draw.

Sunday’s match could have ended in more misery for Francis Kimanzi’s side had Clifford Alwanga 83rd minute bullet header not been met by the crossbar.

Kevin Ouma stepped off the bench to score an 85th minute equaliser for Mathare United in their 1-1 draw against Thika United at City stadium on the same day.

Kenneth Wendo’s third goal of the season had given Thika a first half lead but Ouma capitalised on a mistake by Fred Chitayi to spare the blushes for the 2008 champions who gave their all after falling behind.

Apart from Baraza and Matano, former Congo United coach, Gideon Ochieng, Nick Yakhama (now with AFC) and national Under-23 tactacian, Bob Oyugi were other managerial casulties in the past fortnight.

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