NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – Sony Sugar head coach Salim Babu has warned Gor Mahia not to expect an easy outing when the two sides clash at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Saturday afternoon.
Though the sugar millers have not beaten K’Ogalo over the last six league meetings losing five times, it has always been a tight affair between the two sides with Gor coming off with five consecutive 1-0 wins before drawing 0-0 in the second leg last season.
Babu watched Gor play Kakamega Homeboyz last weekend in Nakuru, just after his side had scraped off a point against Nakumatt and he is upbeat he will have the right formula to unlock a first win since August 2011.
“We have seen their strengths especially playing from the wings and we know what to do to beat them. It is a big team of course and they have always been tough against us, but we are determined to get a win past them and I know with the motivation my boys have, it is possible,” Babu said looking ahead to the Saturday afternoon kick off.
Only two points separate the two sides on the log, but pressure will be on Gor to pick three points.
K’Ogalo return to the ground where they lost their first match of the season a fortnight ago, a 1-0 result against Western Stima. Head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira is cognizant of the fact his side will be expecting nothing but a win.
“It is a tough match against Sony because they play like a unit. They have good individual players but for us, our objective remains to win our matches. We know the fans expect a lot from us and always, we should go there prepared to win,” the Brazilian tactician opined.
Meanwhile, defending champions Tusker FC will be at home to Ulinzi Stars, coincidentally on the same Afraha Stadium pitch in Nakuru which is the military side’s home turf.
Tusker have managed to bounce back from their disastrous start to the campaign, picking four points off two matches and they hope to keep the bounce when they face Benjamin Nyangweso’s military outfit.
The last time these two sides met was in the GOtv Shield final in November last year with the brewers winning 1-0 courtesy of Allan Wanga’s goal.
At the Afraha Stadium, their last meeting ended in a 2-1 result in favor of the brewers via a controversial last ditch penalty that saw referee Israel Mpaima suspended.
Tusker head coach George Nsimbe will hope the resurgence continues with the aim of creeping out of the bottom 10. But Tusker’s poor start will not fool Ulinzi and head coach Benjamin Nyangweso has urged his charges to be on toes.
“A team that has had a poor start to the season is very dangerous. They have won and drawn one match in the last two and that says they are on the resurgence. It will not be an easy match because they are also the defending champions so they have something to prove,” the tactician noted.
He added his side has put more emphasis on their finishing in the last week of training and he hopes his strikers will fire right.
Ulinzi will miss the services of defender Mohammed Hassan (shoulder) and striker Evans Amwoka (heel) with injury while left back Omar Mbongi is unavailable for the next three months as he is out on a military career progression course.
Tusker will miss skipper James Situma who will be serving a one-match suspension after picking a red card in the 2-2 draw with Sofapaka last weekend.
In other matches to be played this weekend, Bandari will be up against Thika United at the Mbaraki Complex, head coach Paul Nkata hopeful of bouncing back after last weekend’s loss to Ulinzi which was his first since joining the dockers.
Thika head coach James Nandwa expects it tough down at the Coast but reckons his side has the capability to down Nkata’s men.
On Monday, Kariobangi Sharks will host Nakumatt FC at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos hoping to pick their second win in top flight after their shock 2-0 result over Nzoia Sugar last weekend in Sudi.
Nakumatt have only picked four points with their win over Zoo Kericho as well as their 0-0 draw with Sony last weekend. Head coach Giovanni Troiani will hope for a better result as they aim to accumulate more points to maintain a slot in the top half of the standings.
“It will be a very interesting match because Kariobangi just like us love to play the ball on the ground. We are doing well and I am not worried that we have won only once. If we can improve a few things we can win this weekend,” the Italian coach noted.
At the Thika Stadium, Mathare United will host Posta Rangers who will be out to cement their second spot on the log. The Slum Boys have picked only one point from their last two matches.
“Mathare is a very good team tactically and technically with young players so it will not be an easy match. We have picked some momentum and hopefully, that same solidity can be shown in that match,” Posta head coach Sammy Omollo noted.
The mailmen have conceded only one goal in four matches and their solidity will pose a challenge to Mathare who have averaged a goal per match.
KPL weekend fixtures
Saturday: Sony Sugar v Gor Mahia (Moi Stadium, Kisumu – 3 p.m.), Tusker FC v Ulinzi Stars (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru 3 p.m.).
Sunday: Bandari v Thika United (2 p.m.), AFC Leopards v Muhoroni Youth (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa – 4:15 p.m.), Kakamega Homeboyz v Nzoia Sugar (Mumias Complex 3 p.m.), Western Stima v Chemelil Sugar (Moi Stadium, Kisumu – 3 p.m.), Zoo Kericho v Sofapaka (Kericho Green Stadium – 3 p.m.).
Monday: Kariobangi Sharks v Nakumatt FC (2 p.m.), Mathare United v Posta Rangers (Thika Sub-County Stadium – 4:15 p.m.).