NAIROBI, Kenya, October 17 – Gor Mahia head coach Frank Nuttall says they do not need any favours to defend the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title, as they seek to restore their four point lead at the summit when they host 2008 titleholders Mathare United at Nairobi’s City Stadium Sunday.
K’Ogalo who are on the driving seat on 51, face an acid test against the side they often find hard to crack and cannot afford to drop points after closest challengers Sofapaka trimmed their lead to a point.
They thumped relegation threatened Nairobi City Stars last time out 4-1 in a game that brewed allegations of official favouritism after their opponents had a legitimate looking goal that would have put them behind chalked off before Gor profited from two dodgy penalties.
With Ugandans led by goal poacher Dan Sserunkuma, defender Godfrey Walusimbi and midfielder Geoffrey Kizito set to link up with the rest of the squad from international duty Saturday, the Scotsman is under no pressure heading to Sunday’s encounter.
“We know every team will try and beat Gor so we don’t need any favours from anybody to defend the league. We just go about our business normally do and regardless of Mathare’s position we will approach the match just like the others.
“We don’t feel any pressure and everybody is happy with our position in the league and players are working hard because as we head to the last stage of the season, every game is a battle and we are happy about that,” Nuttall told Capital Sport on Friday.
The champions beat Mathare 1-0 in the first-leg but captain and keeper Jerim Onyango believes the game will not be that easy since the Slum Boys want to finish amongst top eight to erase last season’s woeful performance where they flirted with relegation with a young squad after their regulars deserted them for pastures anew.
“We are just working on how we will win our matches; we are not looking at how our opponents are playing even though they (Sofapaka) have reduced the gap to a point. It’s now upon us to work hard and get three points on Sunday.
“I’m anticipating a good match albeit a difficult one because it’s not the same team that we beat in first-leg. Teams get stronger when the league is about to end,” Onyango, the Harambee Stars custodian who linked up with the team Friday from Kenya’s international friendly against Morocco underscored.
Dependable defender David Owino is upbeat they will overcome Mathare and stay on course to successfully defend the title.
“We take each game at a time and against Mathare it’s just like other matches our main focus is to win. Every player wants to be a champion and we are close to retaining it, we only need to push and ensure we win all our remaining matches,” the Harambee Stars defender declared.
Mathare, still wounded from their narrow 0-1 loss to Tusker know they must win to push for a top eight finish that will punch their ticket to the Sh1m KPL Top 8 knock out tournament next season and head coach Stanly Okumbi has all his charges available for selection that will see Daniel Mwaura, Wyvonne Isuza and Harrison Mwendwa seek goals.
On the other hand K’Ogalo have their 12th man the Green Army on their side who will try to intimidate Mathare at their home ground where they are yet to lose a match at City this season but the visitors will be more wary of Sserunkuma who leads the Golden Boot chase on 14 goals.
K’Ogalo who will miss the services of right-back Musa Mohammed who is suspended for accumulating five yellow cards are yet to face Sofapaka, Muhoroni Youth and Ushuru FC.