NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 19 – Sofapaka head coach Sam Ssimbwa has warned the 2009 Kenyan Premier League champions have only but started their journey towards a second league title after their 2-0 win over Gor Mahia on Sunday.
Ssimbwa believes the three points and clean-sheet picked against the 15-time champions with a team made up of 70 percent new players showed just what they are capable of doing.
“That is just the beginning and better will be seen. We had a new team and winning against a side like Gor Mahia who also played very well showed that we have done a lot of work in putting the cohesiveness together and getting the result,” Ssimbwa explains.
He added; “It was a very tough match but at the end of the day, we tactically overpowered Gor and came off with the win. It is very motivating and I think that’s the turning point of our season.”
With the three points against K’Ogalo, Batoto ba Mungu moved to fifth on the standings with 23 points, five behind leaders Tusker while Gor Mahia dropped to second.
Gor’s new man at the helm Zedekiah Otieno started off his reign on a low with the loss, leaving the former Harambee Stars defender with a lot to do as Gor look to re-coup the league title from Tusker.
The ale-men who started the season on a low drew 0-0 with Kariobangi Sharks on Sunday, but the result was enough to haul them top, one point above Gor.
The draw though slowed down their run of seven wins on the trot, but head coach George Nsimbe is not worried, admitting the hard part of the duty is maintaining their stay at the apex.
“It is very difficult to remain there because every opponent will come wanting to beat the league leaders. But we know what is required of us, we know the amount of work we should do and I am optimistic we will maintain the run,” the Ugandan coach offered.
He has attributed the positive run to a renewed spirit by the players and the hard work put in straight from the training ground.
Meanwhile, soldiers Ulinzi Stars kept within touching distance of the leaders despite being held to a 1-1 draw at home by a resilient Sony Sugar. Stephen Waruru stretched his goal tally this season to eight, rescuing a point for Ulinzi who had been brought under the knife by the sugar-men.
Head coach Benjamin Nyangweso termed it an important point, admitting his side were given a run for their money by Salim Babu’s young boys.
“We didn’t play well especially in the first half but in the second period, we improved a bit. We need to pick on from here because it seems we lost some momentum a bit. Now we need to engage in an even higher gear because the league is going to get tougher,” Nsimbe noted.
Meanwhile, Mathare United boss Francis Kimanzi believes the side will ease off relegation after picking up a point against AFC Leopards on Saturday. Despite the result, the slum boys remained rooted to the bottom with Western Stima having picked a point away to Bandari.
Kimanzi admitted pressure is building on his side but maintains they will recover in the next 20 matches.
“It is tough, but we are building up slowly. Of course I don’t expect us to shoot up all over sudden, we must take the steps. The point today gives us the confidence to move up a step a time and these young players have shown they have the desire to do it,” noted the coach.
Full KPL weekend results:
Saturday: AFC Leopards 0 Mathare United 0 (Nyayo Stadium), Chemelil Sugar 2 Nzoia Sugar 1 (Chemelil Complex), Thika United 2 Posta Rangers 2 (Thika Sub-County Stadium).
Sunday: Bandari 0 Western Stima 0 (Mbaraki Complex), Kakamega Homeboyz 3 Zoo Kericho 3 (Mumias Complex), Kariobangi Sharks 0 Tusker FC 0 (Kenyatta Stadium Machakos), Sofapaka 2 Gor Mahia 0 (Kinoru Stadium, Meru), Ulinzi Stars 1 Sony Sugar 1 (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).
Postponed: Muhoroni Youth FC v Nakumatt