NAIROBI, June 6 – Gor Mahia’s 14 match unbeaten run will be put to test this weekend when the back-to-back champions host 10-time winners Tusker FC at Kisumu’s Moi Stadium in the highlight of the final Kenyan Premier League first-leg fixtures.
Inform K’Ogalo who enter the titanic clash at the back of three consecutive wins will see head coach Frank Nuttall have at his disposal keeper Boniface Oluoch, midfielders, Ali Abondo, Collins Okoth and Khalid Aucho who played under Tusker coach Francis Kimanzi last season.
To motivate the champions further, no lesser person than Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, footed the cost of return air tickets to and from Kisumu for the champions to jet to their spiritual home without added rigours of road travel.
With the mouth watering contest expected to be a high paced encounter going by the attacking nature of both sides, Nuttall said his focus is not on sustaining the unbeaten run but guide K’Ogalo to their third title in a row.
“We will approach the game just like any other regardless of where the season is. Our focus is to try and pick maximum points and just as Kimanzi said it’s just like any other game.
“I’m not interested on records, unbeaten or milestones and as professionals we know we have to continue being consistence and that’s what we are looking at,” Nuttall told Capital Sport.
Gor will be motivated in the match that will be televised live by SuperSport 9 East after Ruto heeded their call to arms with Sh500, 000 worth of incentive to the self supporting community club that is bereft of the corporate largesse enjoyed by the brewers.
Kimanzi who won his first match in three outings last weekend against Sony Sugar, is out to stop K’Ogalo’s party at a venue where they are yet to lose.
“It’s just a normal league fixture. We will pick the positives from Sony match and try to work depending on our strength. We go to Kisumu knowing we can give ourselves a good show,” Kimanzi, who is having a disappointing season so far said.
K’Ogalo are yet to beat Tusker in four and switching the game to Kisumu, is meant to intimidate the 2012-13 champions since Gor draw fanatical bedrock support in the lakeside city.
Nuttall will likely not make changes from his established starting XI that will see former Tusker favourite Oluoch continue with his duty in between the sticks.
The back-four of Rwandan Abuoba Sibomana, Burundian Karim Nzigiyimana, skipper Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava will be tasked to keep Brewer’s top scorer Jesse Were as well as attacking understurdies Clifford Alwanga and Ismael Dunga silent.
Okoth, Aucho, Abondo will be looking to steal a match on former team-mates Brian Osumba, Osborn Monday and Kelvin Kimani in midfield.
At the rear Kimanzi defenders, Jockins Atudo, James Situma, Lloyd Wahome and Donald Mosoti will have a rough time stopping speedy Michael Olunga and Rwandan Meddie Kagere who will be out to fire past Faruk Shikhalo who took over from Oluoch in the Tusker goal.
Other Saturday fixtures will see Western Stima welcome Ushuru in Kisumu’s early kick-off, Chemelil Sugar will be away to Muhoroni Youth whilst struggling Nakuru All Stars take on Mathare United at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium.
Sony Sugar will be up against Nairobi City Stars in Awendo while on Sunday, AFC Leopards will battle it out with Sofapaka at Nyayo National Stadium as Ulinzi Stars host KCB in Nakuru.
Thika United will be away to face Bandari in Mombasa.