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Homeboyz take Super Cup lessons into KPL

Kakamega Homeboyz head coach Paul Nkata shouts instructions from the touchline during their SportPesa Super Cup match against Singida United on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13- Kakamega Homeboyz head coach Paul Nkata will take charge of his first league match on Wednesday afternoon when the side takes on Ulinzi Stars at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.

Nkata was hired by the club at the beginning of last week after the firing of Mike Mururi and as he prepares to take on the final 17 matches of the season, he hopes the lessons his boys picked from the SportPesa Super Cup.

Homeboyz finished fourth in the Super Cup after losing both their semi-final and third place play-off matches on penalties, incidentally on the same venue they play the soldiers on Wednesday.

‘It was a good opportunity for me to have a look at my players and get to know them more. I am happy with how we performed because we didn’t lose a game in 90 minutes. It is going to be a very good starting point for me and I am hopeful the performance can spur us into the league,” Nkata said.

The soldiers won the first leg 1-0 in Kakamega picking their first ever win against the side and Homeboyz will be coming in breathing revenge with Nkata hoping to start his tenure positively with a win.

Of their last seven meetings, Homeboyz has won twice, lost once while the rest of the fixtures ended in draws. Their last visit to Nakuru last season ended in a 1-0 win.

Kakamega Homeboyz players during their SportPesa Super Cup match against Singida United on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Four points separate the two teams in the standings, Ulinzi at fifth with 28 while Homeboyz are 10th with 24 points.  Ulinzi come into the tie on the backdrop of back-to-back losses while Homeboyz have won two of their last three league fixtures.

Meanwhile, at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, a titanic battle awaits as AFC Leopards clash with third placed Sofapaka.

Batoto ba Mungu are enjoying brilliant form under new coach John Baraza, winning four of their last five games to push to within three points of leaders Gor Mahia, though they have played four matches more.

Baraza, who has managed to spin results off the side after a shaky start to the season, expects a huge battle against Ingwe but he says his charges have pumped up confidence after their recent run of wins.

“I think we are now playing better and the team work has improved. The confidence that comes with winning has also enabled us to keep our consistency but we know we face a very tough team in AFC,” Baraza acknowledged.

Sofapaka head coach John Baraza was well suited for the occasion on his first match in charge against Sony Sugar on April 15, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Fixtures between the two sides have been tight and over their last 19 league meetings, Sofapaka have won nine of those, losing seven while the remaining ended in draws. Batoto ba Mungu have won all the last four meetings between them including the first leg 2-1 victory late February.

AFC under new head coach Rodolfo Zapata have been unbeaten, but the side has picked up four consecutive draws before breaking the run with a 2-0 result against Thika United in their last league assignment.

In other fixtures to be played in midweek, Kariobangi Sharks will be at the Camp Toyoyo Ground taking on Nzoia Sugar in another top drawer fixture.

Nzoia at sixth and Sharks at eight have a similar run of form, picking two wins and two draws over their last four games.

KPL Midweek fixtures (All games kick off 3pm)

AFC Leopards v Sofapaka (Machakos), Ulinzi Stars v Kakamega Homeboyz (Nakuru), Kariobangi Sharks v Nzoia Sugar (Camp Toyoyo), Wazito v Gor Mahia (Kisumu).