NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 16 – High flying Gor Mahia were brought back to earth on Saturday, losing their first game in 12 outings after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of relegation fighting Mathare United, putting their title celebrations on hold.
Head coach Dylan Kerr was left disappointed with the result and has now demanded a response from his charges on Wednesday when they face Kariobangi Sharks at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
“We’ve got a tough game and now everybody thinks there is a chance with six games left. Everyone has been waiting for us to slip up; every game someone wants to beat us and we have to turn up and play. I tell them that every day,” a disappointed Kerr said as he reflected on his first loss since joining Gor.
It wasn’t the best day in office for the 15-time Kenyan Premier league Champions and Kerr admitted as much that their performance was far from what he liked.
“I am glad the fans weren’t there in numbers because I wouldn’t want them to watch such. That was not how my team should play. It’s a new feeling (losing) and it’s not a nice one. We didn’t start the game well, we were sloppy and conceded an early goal,” the coach further lamented.
The defeat sees K’Ogalo’s gap at the top of the KPL log reduced to 12 points after Sofapaka picked up a 2-1 win away to Bandari FC in Mombasa on the same day. With six matches remaining, Gor still need just two victories to claim the title.
Meanwhile, Mathare United got themselves a huge relegation reprieve with the three points against Gor, taking their points tally to 30, three behind safety. AFC Leopards saw themselves pick up some relegation fear with a 2-0 loss against Posta Rangers on Sunday.
head coach Francis Kimanzi is confident that his side will remain in top flight football, playing down the fear of being axed with only six rounds of matches left.
“Winning against such an experienced team with over 80 percent national team players is the kind of morale booster we need as a team and I am happy that we can get such results. There is no cause of panic because I am more than certain we will be in the Premier League next season,” Kimanzi noted.
He believes their recent run which has seen them pick five points in three games is testament enough that they are determined to avoid the chop.
At the same time, Muhoroni Youth have seen their fight to avoid dropping back to the National Super League suffer a massive setback after a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Tusker FC.
New boss George Maina has blamed this on the team’s dwindling financial fortunes which he says the management has failed to address. He says, if nothing is done, then he will be forced to step down barely a month after taking charge.
“Four players from the team that beat Nakumatt were not in the squad because of the financial situation and it is that way in every game. There is no consistency in the team and even in training I only have about 12 players on average. It is hard to prepare a team,” a dejected Maina lamented.
The loss sunk Muhoroni further in the standings as they sit on 24 points, seven away from safety. Maina has hinted that he might be throwing in the towel at the club and it is left to be seen whether he will be on the touchline on Thursday when they take on Zoo Kericho at home.
The fight for survival is expected to go down to the wire with Thika United and Western Stima cancelling each other out with a 1-1 result in Kisumu, seeing themselves remain at 16th and 17th in the standings.
Among the teams that could be sucked up into the fight for survival include AFC Leopards, Bandari and Zoo Kericho.
KPL weekend results
Saturday: AFC Leopards 0 Posta Rangers 2 (Narok Stadium), Bandari 1 Sofapaka 2 (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa), Kariobangi Sharks 2 Chemelil Sugar 2 (Kasarani Stadium), Mathare United 1 Gor Mahia 0 (Thika Stadium), Zoo Kericho 0 Ulinzi Stars 0 (Kericho Green Stadium).
Sunday: Kakamega Homeboyz 1 Nakumatt 2 (Mumias Complex), Sony Sugar 2 Nzoia Sugar 2 (Awendo), Tusker FC 4 Muhoroni Youth 0 (Ruaraka), Western Stima 1 Thika United 1 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu).