NAIROBI, Kenya, September 14 – Reigning champions Sofapaka take on Gor Mahia in a titanic clash at Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday.
With both teams chasing leaders Ulinzi, only a win will do with the winner moving to second place with just seven matches to go to.
More so, a win for one team will severely dent the title hopes of their opponents, having a huge impact on the destination of the crown.
Gor go into the match in high spirits after claiming three points last weekend, while a listless Sofapaka dropped two valuable points after they were held to a tame draw by relegation-threatened Chemilil Sugar at home.
It will be a battle of contrasting styles with the young exciting Gor side up against the experienced and pragmatic Sofapaka side.
The duel will also continue in the stands with the vociferous Gor fans up against the Congolese drumbeats of the Sofapaka faithful.
Once the giants of Kenyan football, Mighty K’ogalo are having a wonderful season as they seek to reclaim the glory of the eighties. And with each passing win, Gor fans are starting to believe that this could be their year.
Exciting striker George “Blackberry” Odhiambo has lit up the league with a series of electrifying goals and will again play a vital role in leading the hunt for goals for the boys in green.
He also scored the winning goal in last season’s corresponding fixture, so the champions will be wary of his darting runs and powerful shots.
Danger, though, lurks from all over the Gor Mahia ranks with Anthony Akumu, Kevin Omondi, Baldwin Ngwa and skipper Julius Owino all capable of chipping in with goals.
In defence, the return of Musa Mohammed has stiffened the rearguard with Eric Masika and Chris Wekesa forming a barrier for goalkeeper Frederick Onyango.
Gor though will have to find a way of stopping Sofapaka’s free scoring attack. The champions have scored the highest number of goals in the league and have the best goal difference.
Veteran striker John Barasa is the leading goalscorer with 12 and his knack of scoring crucial goals will be vital to Sofapaka’s game plan with Congolese Bob Mugalia and Allan Wanga providing support to the diminutive striker.
Their backline will have their work cut out with James Situma., Edgar Ochieng, Idrissa Rajab and George Owino having to deal with a mobile Gor attack.
Midfielder Anthony Kimani and goalkeeper Wilson Oburu could find their way back in the starting XI, replacing Osborne Monday and Zachariah Onyango. Kimani missed last weekend’s match against Ulinzi due to suspension, while Oburu was rested.
“We have to win Wednesday’s match if we are to keep the title defence on track. Anything else will leave us with a mountain to climb. I think that the winner on Wednesday will be in a good position to win the league,” said Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa.
Gor though will have to break the jinx having not won any midweek match this season. K’ogalo have drawn three times and lost once in Wednesday matches.
The first leg ended in a one all draw.