SmartiNAIROBI, Kenya, March 14 – Reigning champions Gor Mahia will be looking to bounce back by winning their third successive Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match when they invite table-toppers, Western Stima, at Nairobi’s City Stadium on Sunday in the highlight fixture of eight matches on the cards this weekend.
K’Ogalo are smarting from a 5-0 humiliation by Espérance Sportive de Tunis who eliminated them in the first round of CAF Champions League on 8-2 aggregate last Monday as they embark on defending the title they clinched last season for the first time in 18 years.
Sitting seventh on the log, Gor have two games in hand to ascend to the summit after their Thursday clash against former champions Tusker FC was rescheduled to next Wednesday.
Coach Bobby Williamson, says he expects a difficult encounter since most of his charges were engaged in the continental assignment.
“The season has just started we have played two games and we have won both, hopefully we will gain confidence after the Tunisia outing and perform better.
“We have quite a number of players that we will utilize at some stage and everybody will get an opportunity to play including youngsters Joseph Karuiki and Daniel Onyango who have potential since our main aim is to defend the title then the rest will follow up,” the Scotsman stated.
The champions will be without first choice keeper and skipper Jerim Onyango, who was ruled out for two weeks after picking a shoulder injury in their second match against Mathare United at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Reserve stopper David Juma who conceded five goals in their CAF Champions League first round second leg against two-time champions Esperance is expected to do duty on Sunday against his former employer.
The last time the two sides met was in July last year where K’Ogalo emerged victorious with a 2-0 win but it will be difficult to tell if the latter will repeat the same since Western Stima has won three and lost one this season against the brewers.
Their wounded arch rivals AFC Leopards will also be in action on Sunday with a tricky away fixture to 2009 champions Sofapaka at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos County.
Leopards who were biggest spenders during the transfer window after splashing Sh1.6m (USD 18,501.4) in signing five seasoned players are yet to ignite, drawing twice and losing their third match against Muhoroni Youth midweek.
High profile signings, towering defender Joseph Shikokoti who was the most expensive at Sh700,000 (USD 8,094.4) from Tusker, Harambee Stars right back James Situma, keeper Wycliffe Kasaya, Ugandan Musa Mudde and last season’s top score Jacob Keli are yet to inspire the club to a KPL win thus far.
Ingwe completed the double over Batoto Ba Mungu last season but their miserable run casts a shadow on their ability to sustain their dominance over the former champions.
In Saturday fixtures, Sony Sugar invite high flying newboys KRA at Awendo’s Green Stadium while Bandari host Thika United at Mbaraki Sports Ground.
Ulinzi Stars welcome Mathare United at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru to wrap the day’s programme before KCB square it out with Tusker as Nairobi City Stars visit Muhoroni Youth in other Sunday games.
Chemelil Sugar takes on bottomed placed Top Fry Nakuru at Chemelil Sports Complex.