NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18- After successfully reclaiming the East Africa Military Games title in Kigali, Rwanda, Ulinzi Stars return to the country on Thursday afternoon with their focus now tilted on fighting for a fifth Kenyan Premier League crown.
The four-time champions will be confronted with a tough run of fixtures coming back home, playing catch up fixtures owing to their two-week absence.
They will face Posta Rangers next Wednesday at the Afraha Stadium before taking on Chemelil Sugar three days later in the GOtv Shield round of 16.
After the international break, the soldiers will play three matches within seven days, travelling to Sony Sugar September 7, then at home to Sony Sugar four days later and a tough clash away to defending champions Gor Mahia after three days.
“It’s tough to have such a run of fixtures and we are aware of the demands. But, we have the spirit and depth in our squad. We just need to work hard and ensure we make use especially of those two matches to bridge the gap between us and the leaders,” head coach Robert Matano told Capital Sport from Kigali.
Ulinzi are sixth on the KPL standings, nine points behind leaders Tusker FC but with two matches at hand.
A win in both games will see them move three points shy of the top and Matano who has won the league with Tusker and Sofapaka in 2012 and 2009 respectively will hope to bridge the gap and charge for a third.
Ulinzi will look on to the motivation of reclaiming the East Africa Military games title to spur them to fight for the league crown back home.
They won the title on goal difference having tied with defending champions Rwanda’s APR on six points.
Heading into the final match, APR needed to beat Uganda by a margin of more than three goals to win the title, but the match ended 1-0 in their favor meaning the Kenyans finished top of the standings.
“It’s great getting the title back and at least it will give us some motivation heading back home. It was a tough tournament because all teams were strong. We now head back home with good experience and we will put that motivation into use, getting ourselves ready for Posta,” the tactician added.
This was Ulinzi’s sixth overall military games title, having last won in 2014 in Zanzibar.
They will be worried however with injuries suffered by midfielders Erick Apul and Churchill Muloma, both long-term while Samuel Onyango might be ready for their GOtv Shield tie at home to Chemelil.