NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – Ulinzi Stars head coach Benjamin Nyangweso has expressed his concern that forward Sammy Onyango is not firing as he did at the start of the season since his stellar performance for the national team in the friendly matches against Uganda and DR Congo.
Nyangweso says the forward has been far from convincing especially in the last two games for the military side and has called on the former Sony Sugar striker to realign his focus.
“His performance has not been good over the last two matches. His form has not been at peak. He has been on off and I don’t know what the problem is… I don’t know whether this thing with the national team has gotten into him or it is just his form that has dipped,” a concerned Nyangweso told Capital Sport.
He added; “I will try and talk to him and see what’s wrong. He has not been giving me the performance I have been asking from him.”
Onyango began the season on a high, hitting three goals in the CAF Confederations Cup campaign, one against Al Hilal Benghazi of Libya and a brace against Smouha opf Egypt. However, since scoring against Kariobangi Sharks in the first match of the season, he has not found the back of the net.
Nyangweso is confident Onyango who joined Ulinzi last season will bounce back to form, saying he believes it is more of a psychological issue.
The soldiers, still unbeaten this season will host Mathare United at their Afraha Stadium backyard on Sunday and Nyangweso is optimistic they will get back to winning ways after back-to-back draws against defending champions Tusker FC and Western Stima.
The Mathare match comes hot on the heels of their midweek clash with Stima and Nyangweso who is cautious of a very tactical Francis Kimanzi coached side, only hopes he can sharpen his side’s forward line which hasn’t been firing as well as he would love.
Young defender Alex Masinde might be given the nod to continue partnering veteran Geoffrey Kokoyo after coming on in the fifth minute on Wednesday replacing Ben Sande who has been ruled out for a fortnight with a thigh muscle strain.
Mohammed ‘Rio’ Hassan began training on Thursday after recovering from a dislocated shoulder and Nyangweso might not want to gamble on his fitness despite the weight of the fixture.
Nyangweso was impressed with Masinde’s performance against Stima, admitting he didn’t expect him to play as well as he did and might just give him another starting berth.
The soldiers will also miss the services of Evans Amwoka (heel) and Stephen Ochollah (knee) who continue to recuperate while midfielder John Kago who has been impressive so far in this season will be sidelined since he fell ill.
Mathare will play their first match without Kimanzi who will begin his one month suspension slapped on him on Thursday by the KPL Independent Disciplinary and Complains Committee (IDCC).
Kimanzi was handed the suspension and slapped with a Sh50, 000 fine after stopping the side’s clash against Sofapaka for 17 minutes last season, protesting a refereeing decision.
Mathare has not won since their opening day 3-2 win over Thika United and they will be hoping to change their tide when they play an Ulinzi side they beat home and away last season without conceding a goal.
In the absence of Kimanzi, his second in command Salim Ali who is a former Ulinzi Stars coach will step into the hot seat.