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Rivals seek to pounce on sliding Leopards

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7- After a week dominated by boardroom wrangles Kenyan Premier League (KPL) leaders AFC Leopards were further scarred on the pitch to give the chasing pack renewed hope.

Struggling City Stars hauled themselves off the bottom by mauling Ingwe 3-0 in the biggest upset of the season to leave the KPL title chase wide open.

Victory for Sofapaka over resurgent Mathare United on Monday will leave Leopard leading the table by only a point with the early season momentum that saw them open up a seven point gap disappearing as fast as the tussle for the club’s management is gaining notorious prominence.

Leopard’s second defeat of the season following the 2-0 reversal they suffered at the hands of champions Tusker FC will inevitably point to a playing unit adversely affected by the raging fight to gain control of the club.

“Our defending was poor but these things happen in football, you win and sometimes you lose. It’s a major concern from me but I can assure you some major improvements from the team’s display in our next match,” Ingwe coach, Jan Koops noted.

While he blamed lack of fighting spirit and loss of concentration from his charges for the run of results that have yielded only a point from three games the Dutchman who was missing key defender, Eric Masika, must be worried about the ill effects wrangling at the helm of management is having on his players.

A court order issued a fortnight ago barring the current leadership under the chairmanship of Alex Ole Magelo from running club activities ahead of the scheduled June elections has coincided with the dismal run in the outfit that had strung an unbeaten sequence of 23 matches before their Tusker loss.

Ugandan Dan Serunkuma’s brace and another goal from Boniface Onyango gave the Kawangware based City Stars their second win of the season to leave them two places above bottom.

Tusker moved to two adrift of the stuttering leaders on 25 with a 4-2 shellacking of Rangers as improving Thika United (23) rose to third and pushed Oserian to the basement after edging them 1-0 in Naivasha.

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Oserian suspended six key players who they accused of poor performance, lack of commitment to the club and indiscipline last week. They appointed former Leopards and Congo United coach Gilbert Selebwa as technical director who is expected to help the flower men club in their quest to remain in the top flight.

Western Stima claimed a key 1-0 victory over Ulinzi Stars at their Bukhungu backyard. The win which was the second in a row took them level with Chemelil who lost 1-0 to Gor Mahia at the City Stadium on Sunday.

After thrashing Oserian 3-0 at home last weekend, KCB continued their fine form with a 2-1 away win over Muhoroni Youth as Karuturi Sports came off with a barren away draw at Sony Sugar in Gusii Stadium.
Rama Salim’s brilliant header against Chemelil in the 11th minute gave Gor their fourth victory of the season as they inched up to tenth.

Results

Saturday

Rangers 2-4 Tusker
Nairobi City Stars 3-0 AFC Leopards
Muhoroni Youth 1-2 KCB

Sunday

Western Stima 1-0 Ulinzi Stars
Oserian 0-1 Thika United
Gor Mahia 1-0 Chemelil Sugar
Sony Sugar 0-0 Karuturi Sports

Monday

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Sofapaka (4) v (13) Mathare United

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 AFC Leopards 13 8 3 2 21 12 9 27
2 Tusker 13 7 4 2 18 9 9 25
3 Thika United 13 6 5 2 16 8 8 23
4 Sofapaka 12 7 2 3 13 8 5 23
5 Western Stima 13 6 3 4 14 9 5 21
6 Chemelil 13 6 3 4 8 6 2 21
7 KCB 13 5 3 5 16 12 4 18
8 Karuturi 13 4 6 3 11 9 2 18
9 Ulinzi Stars 13 5 3 5 16 17 -1 18
10 Gor Mahia 13 4 4 5 8 9 -1 16
11 Muhoroni 13 4 3 6 9 11 -2 15
12 Sony Sugar 13 3 3 7 11 14 -3 12
13 Mathare 12 2 5 5 11 16 -5 11
14 City Stars 13 2 5 6 8 14 -6 11
15 Rangers 13 1 7 5 12 26 -14 10
16 Oserian 13 2 3 8 6 18 -12 9

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