NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2- After taking a break last weekend, the Kenyan Premier League resumes on Wednesday with Sony Sugar determined to break Gor Mahia’s jinx when the two sides clash at Awendo’s Green Stadium.
Over the last nine meetings, the Sugar Millers have only managed to score once against the record 15-time champions in April 2013, when they held on to a 1-1draw.
Gor has won the last six straight matches, keeping a clean sheet in all, but the margin of their win gives Sony hope they can come out victorious for the first time since 2011 when they won 1-0 in Awendo.
Head coach Salim Babu is confident his side can overcome Gor, especially with his boys having rested as they were not competing in the GOtv Shield.
“I know it is a tough match and they will come with pressure because they want to go top of the standings. For us, we know that we are coming in as underdogs but we are well prepared for them. It will be a tough match, but we are going for the win,” Babu said.
Sony have had a tartan past five matches, winning two, losing a similar number and drawing once.
But Babu whose last match was a 1-0 loss at the hands of AFC Leopards, believes they have had enough time to fix their offensive weakness.
The tactician admitted they were falling short when it came to the final third of their game, but with new boys Massoud Juma signed from Bandari and Jeremiah Wanjala from Kakamega Homeboyz, he is upbeat they will tick soon.
“They have started gelling in well with the rest and I believe soon we will start scoring. Both are good players and I brought them into the team especially because I knew the impact they will have,” Babu added.
Their opponents Gor won 1-0 in their last visit to Awendo with the then midfielder Ali Abondo scoring the all-important goal late into the match.
They travel to South Nyanza on the backdrop of a morale boosting twin win, a 2-1 win over City Stars in the league and a 2-0 win over second tier side Nairobi Stima in the GOtv Shield last weekend.
The defending champions are three points behind log leaders Tusker and head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira will charge up his boys to hunt down a win at Sony and close the gap.
They might have Godfrey Walusimbi back with the latter having resumed full training and hopefully, he brings the touch that will make Gor tick further.
– Tusker seek to hold lead –
Tusker will be at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, taking on a tricky Thika United side.
The Brewers will be wary of James Nandwa’s Thika United who dented Mathare United’s title hunt in their last league match with a 2-0 result in Nairobi.
The league leaders will be missing the services of defender Eugene Asike and midfielder Humphrey Mieno but head coach Paul Nkata is unfazed despite the two having played a huge role in their campaign.
“We will miss their services but I have a good squad and we will find replacements. It is a tough match for us because Thika are in good form and they want to move out of the bottom half of the table,” Nkata stated.
Third placed side Ulinzi Stars will face Muhoroni Youth for the second time in three days and the third time in a month, having played and won against them last weekend in the GOtv Shield.
“We expect a tough match. We have picked up good momentum though and we hope to keep it that way when we play,” Ulinzi assistant coach Benjamin Nyangweso said.
Ulinzi will hope to sign off in style before they depart for Kigali, Rwanda for the East Africa Military Games at the end of the week.
They will miss the services of the injured Brian Birgen while Sylus Shitote will be out on suspension after picking up a red card in their last league match against Ushuru.
KPL Midweek fixtures:
Ushuru v Western Stima, Tusker FC v Thika United (Kenyatta Stadium Machakos), Muhoroni v Ulinzi Stars (Muhoroni), Bandari v Sofapaka (Mbaraki Complex), City Stars v Chemelil Sugar, Posta Rangers v AFC Leopards (Nyayo Stadium), Kakamega Homeboyz v Mathare United (Mumias Complex), Sony Sugar v Gor Mahia (Awendo).