NAIROBI, April 14 – Champions Gor Mahia head coach Frank Nuttall is confident his charges will remain unbeaten against struggling City Stars at Nairobi City Stadium when the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) resumes on Wednesday with seven matches on the card.
K’Ogalo who dropped their first points of the season after bitter rivals, AFC Leopards frustrated them to a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s Mashemeji Derby, will be looking to stretching their lead at the summit to four points should closest challengers, Western Stima lose at Sony Sugar.
“It’s a good start of the season; our focus is on City Stars as we try to continue with our impressive form. The boys gave their best against hard fighting Leopards and we were unlucky not to come out with maximum points,” Nuttall noted.
Gor enter the match as favourites against a City side yet to beat the champions in four years and Nuttall, who has a full house except Liberian center back, Dikir Glay whose work permit issue is yet to be addressed, likely to field a robust starting line-up.
However, their opponents who were recalled to the top tier league following the Football Kenyan Federation and KPL standoff over promotion might find a turning point against the giants and for a stunning first win of the season.
Playing away yet at home, K’Ogalo will bank on their speedy and creative front line led by Rwandan Meddie Kagere and Michael Olunga with the able support club’s top scorer Ali Abondo, Khalid Aucho and Collins Okoth in mid field.
“We cannot change the results of previous games and we cannot let it affect our psyche for the next. We wanted to win the derby but it was not to be, now we must work towards winning against City Stars and maintain our lead,” Abondo who scored against Leopards declared.
Despite having a match in hand, Gor cannot afford to drop more points since Western Stima are breathing hard on their necks.
After ending Gor’s perfect run, Leopards will be out to hunt maximum points for their first win in three matches when they face unpredictable KCB in the second match of the double header at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.
Ingwe head coach Zdravko Logarusic declared the stalemate against his former side as a route back to the top after stuttering start to the season that has seen them seventh on nine points, four behind Gor.
But with Leopards club assistant secretary general, Professor Asava Kadima confirming to Capital Sport management has paid the technical bench and playing unit January and February salaries, this might motivate the players further to raid KCB’s vault for maximum points.
“The players are pumped up since we have paid them some of the balances and we only remain with partly February and March. We could not clear all the debt because the Sh3.6m collected from the derby cannot settle over Sh2.4m wage bill,” Kadima told.
Logarusic who is yet to find his winning team might retain the squad that did duty against Gor although unused substitutes skipper Martin Imbalambala, and towering defender Joseph Shikokoti might return to solidify the back line and stop the Bankers lethal forwards, Benjamin Chaka, Raymond Murugi and Crispinus Onyango.
Leopards who failed to beat the bankers last season have a slim head to head record advantage after winning four and drawing five in their 12 meetings.
In Machakos, Sofapaka will seek a back to back win when they entertain tricky Chemelil Sugar at their backyard for the first time this season while ten-time champions Tusker FC will out to end their four match winless run as they host Bandari and Nairobi’s Ruaraka Grounds.
14:00 Ushuru vs Mathare United – Nyayo Stadium
16:00 Thika United vs Nakuru All Stars – Thika Stadium
16:00 Tusker vs Bandari – Ruaraka Ground
16:00 SonySugar vs Western Stima – Awendo Green Stadium
16:00 City Stars vs Gor Mahia – City Stadium
16:00 Sofapaka vs Chemelil Sugar – Machakos Stadium
16:15 KCB vs AFC Leopards – Nyayo Stadium
16:00 Ulinzi Stars vs Muhoroni Youth – Afraha Stadium