NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7- Mathare United head coach Francis Kimanzi says skipper George ‘Wise’ Owino’s injury might be a blessing in disguise to give the experienced defender time to rest as he has played consistently over the past three seasons.
Owino sustained a hairline fracture on his ankle during the side’s 1-0 loss to Wazito FC on April 21 and has missed the games against Gor Mahia and Kariobangi Sharks with his return date yet to be established.
“He (Owino) should be back soon, but I want him to rest. If he has good rest then he can have a bigger impact in the second round. Sometimes it is good to have a break though not entirely because of injury because this is a player who has featured for three seasons consecutively without rest,” Kimanzi said.
Owino has been a core figure for the Slum Boys especially last season when they were fighting relegation, his leadership on and off the pitch delivering the perfect tranquility to aid the young side into safety.
This season, Mathare have started strongly and he is expected to play an even bigger role if they are to challenge Gor Mahia for the league crown.
But despite a good start to the campaign, Kimanzi’s Slum Boys have not had a smooth run over the past four fixtures, losing twice consecutively and drawing the last two, results that have seen them drop to third in the standings with 25 points, two behind leaders Gor who have three games at hand.
But despite that run, there isn’t cause for alarm for the experienced tactician who believes it is just a matter of time before they get their winning mojo back.
“We have had two heavy matches back to back and getting a point there is good. Sometimes you don’t have to be all that sad because of a draw especially when you look at the quality of the opponent,” Kimanzi added.
Mathare followed up their 2-2 draw against Gor Mahia with a 1-1 draw against Kariobangi Sharks on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Sharks have also had a shaky start to the season and seem a huge shadow of their selves last season. William Muluya’s men have not won in seven games and in that period, they have picked up four draws off the last five matches.
“We need to do better in our attacking because that is the area that has not worked out well for us with the high number of draws. We scored one goal (against Mathare) which is a good thing and now we need to score a second and win in the next game,” Muluya noted.
He said he was impressed with their performance against Mathare terming it a fair point in a game that they hugely dominated and had the lion’s share of chances.
“The dry period will not be for long and I am optimistic the rain is coming soon,” further added the tactician.
They had a brilliant performance against Mathare, an improved show from their last three games and he credits most of this to the return of midfielder Sven Yidah who played a massive role in the Sunday evening tie.
Elsewhere, Tusker FC continued their resurgence under Robert Matano with their third consecutive win having beaten Bandari FC 2-0 at their backyard in Mombasa, Brian Osumba scoring twice.
KPL weekend results:
Saturday: Sony 0-0 KK Homeboyz, Nzoia 0-2 Ulinzi Stars, Bandari 0-2 Tusker FC, Chemelil 0-0 AFC Leopards.
Sunday: Kariobangi Sharks 1-1 Mathare United, Vihiga 0-1 Sofapaka, Zoo 2-3 Nakumatt, Wazito 0-1 Thika United