NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 – Sofapaka restored their six point gap with leaders Gor Mahia on the Kenyan Premier League log after whitewashing Chemelil Sugar 4-1 at the Narok Stadium on Sunday, and assistant coach John Baraza has vowed the side will push K’Ogalo to the very end.
The 2009 league champions have vowed to gather all within their strength to vie for a second league title even as Gor keep a one-match advantage on top of the six-point buffer.
“That is exactly our target. We want to push this to the end because I think we have a very good chance despite Gor having one game at hand. We have been in good form and we don’t want to lose the momentum,” Baraza told Capital Sport.
Batoto ba Mungu’s weekend win was the fourth in five matches and overall, since the club has not lost in their last seven matches, dropping points only twice with draws against Muhoroni Youth and Posta Rangers.
“The players have been working very hard and that’s why results have been flowing in of late. On match days, we have been playing well too and I am quite pleased with our form,” Baraza added.
It is quite a contrasting image from a side that merely survived relegation last season.
Gor Mahia though don’t seem to care much about the chasing pack if their performance against Nzoia Sugar over the weekend is anything to go by.
K’Ogalo were 4-0 winners over the sugar millers but despite the win, head coach Dylan Kerr has urged his side to maintain their cool and take each match with the same measure of seriousness.
– Posta throw in towel –
Meanwhile, Posta Rangers, touted as one of the strong title contenders at the beginning of the season have vowed out, their weekend 0-2 loss at the hands of Nakumatt FC seeing them drift 12 points away from leaders Gor.
Head coach Sammy Omollo has conceded his team will now look to finish the season in a respectable position, expressing his disappointment that the team no longer gave in a fight like an outfit fighting to win the title.
“I am disappointed with our performance (against Nakumatt). We didn’t play like a team fighting for the title and now we have to realign our targets. Realistically, our chances have become very slim. We now need to focus over the next matches to see whether we can finish in a respectable position,” Omollo noted.
Posta’s performance over the last five games where they have lost thrice and drawn two has seen them, blow out of the title race from a position where they would have easily challenged for their maiden crown.
It is not only Posta who have seen their title chances fizzle away as quick as the morning dew with defending champions Tusker FC also fading away.
– Tusker fizzle away –
The holders lost their third game in the last five with a 2-0 result away to Sony Sugar, seeing themselves crumble all the way down to seventh in the standings, a massive 14 points off leaders Gor.
Head coach George Nsimbe has however refused to let go of the fight, only admitting it is now difficult for them to catch up and probably defend the title.
“We will keep fighting,” the tactician noted.
Meanwhile, the fight for survival is as intense with Mathare United doing themselves a massive favor, beating fellow strugglers Western Stima 2-1 courtesy of Elijah Mwanzia’s last gasp winner.
The win had temporarily taken Francis Kimanzi’s men out of the drop zone but Sony Sugar’s win over Tusker meant the status quo remained with the Slum Boys dropping back to 15th, just a point off safety.
Kimanzi is whatsoever not worried that his team who won the league in 2008 will be candidates for the chop, instead saying his young charges have picked up immeasurable experience that will sail them to safety having put up a run of six unbeaten matches.
– Stima confident of survival –
Stima on the other hand are in danger, placed third from bottom with 21 points, five off safety. Head coach Henry Omino is confident they can traverse their way off the murky relegation waters and swim to safety.
“You can see from how we are playing that it’s just an element of luck in our game. I am very confident that we will not be relegated and our supporters should not be worried. Within the next 11 games, we just target to win half of them and we will be okay,” Omino whose side finished in the top half of the table last season said.
Muhoroni and Thika United are the two other sides rooted in the drop zone.
– Golden boot race hots up –
Meanwhile, the race for the top scorer’s gong heated up over the weekend with the chasing pack of Umaru Kassumba (Sofapaka), Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt) and Chris Oduor (Mathare) all hitting the back of the net on a weekend leader Stephen Waruru failed to score.
Kassumba who only joined Sofapaka in June scored thrice in the club’s 4-1 win over Chemelil taking his season tally to nine. Aswani scored twice for Nakumatt to move to 10 while Oduor scored one of Mathare’s two to move to nine.
The leader, Waruru has scored 11 goals.
Aswani who finished third in the golden boot race last season has vowed to work his way towards a career first top scorer’s gong and he has set a target of minimum 17 goals.
“From the start of the season, I said I would be working towards the golden boot. I know I can do it and its is just a matter of consistency and hard work, I will achieve it. I have never won it despite being on the podium twice and that is what pushes me,” the former AFC Leopards man noted.
KPL Weekend results
Saturday: Bandari 0 Kariobangi Sharks 1 (Mbaraki), Kakamega Homeboyz 2 Thika United 1 (Mumias), Muhoroni Youth 0 Ulinzi Stars 0 (Muhoroni), Nakumatt 2 Posta Rangers 0, Mathare United 2 Western Stima 1 (Ruaraka Complex), Gor Mahia 4 Nzoia Sugar 0 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu).
Sunday: SoNy Sugar 2 Tusker FC 0 (Awendo), Zoo Kericho 1 AFC Leopards 3 (Kericho), Sofapaka 4 Chemelil Sugar 1 (Narok).