NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – Bandari temporarily took charge of the apex of the Kenyan Premier League log on Thursday evening with a 1-0 victory over Posta Rangers in Mombasa, but Mathare United will look to recapture that spot when they take on Kakamega Homeboyz at Kasarani on Saturday.
The slum boys sit a point below the dockers at second and with an unblemished run to fight for, they will be out to give 100pc against the 11th placed Homeboyz.
Mathare are already dreaming of their second league title and the thirst of quenching a trophy drought that dates back to their first league title in 2008 is clearly evident.
Though he does not go straight into mentions, head coach Francis Kimanzi has urged his players to show what they have built as a single unit over the last three years is not in vain and build on their unbeaten start to the campaign.
“It’s an evident document within a young team showing what they have been acquiring two three years together. It’s a year that they have to show they have to have the passion; passion to win matches and they are winning in style I think,” Kimanzi noted.
The brewers have won five of their opening seven games of the campaign and picked up two draws, against champions Gor Mahia and Ulinzi Stars.
Against Homeboyz, they will look to get their sixth win in eight games but they come up against a side that has blown hot and cold their way over their last eight meetings. Each of the two sides has won two and drawn four of the eight games.
But, Homeboyz have not beaten Mathare since 2016. Mathare won 2-1 in the second leg last season having picked a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Kakamega.
In terms of form, it is Mathare who definitely enjoy the bask of the sun. Homeboyz have not won in their last five games, losing thrice and drawing twice.
At Kasarani where the expansive field and the regular pitch accord them a good surface to employ their possession based tact, Mathare have been unplayable and are stacked as favorites to win the mid-afternoon kick off.
-Tusker face Ulinzi in Nakuru
Meanwhile, Tusker FC whose four-match winning streak was halted by the slum boys last weekend will be away to Ulinzi Stars in Nakuru on Sunday with Matano looking to get his side’s tempo back against his former employers.
Tusker are sixth in the standings with 13 points and with an eye cast on ensuring the gap between them and the leading pack remains assailable, Matano is not just about to lower his guard against the men from the Kenyan Defense Forces.
“The loss (against Mathare) is behind us and we focus on what lies ahead of us. We have been improving and I am happy with how the team is coming up. We only need to convert most of our chances and we will be okay,” the tactician stated.
His pedigree is not in doubt. Last season, he picked up the brewers staggering into relegation mid-season but engineered a sobering up that saw them finish third.
This season, his eyes are solely fixed on picking a third league title, and his second with the brewers.
-Sofapaka look to rediscover form
Elsewhere at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, Sofapaka will begin their life without Egyptian-American coach Melis Medo who resigned from the club at the beginning of the weak after a tough spell that saw them pick only one win in seven games.
Batoto ba Mungu are 12th in the standings with a paltry seven points and John Baraza, the man who owner Elly Kalekwa turned to after the exit of Sam Ssimbwa last season will be trusted again to engineer a turnaround.
“The first target is to get the team back to picking results because we are not in a good position on the table and time is moving. We need to get back to the top, get the players’ confidence back up because it has been sometime since we won,” Baraza said ahead of his side’s tie against Sony Sugar.
Sofapaka have drawn four games and lost two, their only win coming on opening day against a struggling Mount Kenya United.
Defensively they have had a nightmare conceding at least two goals every game with the exception of the Mount Kenya game and last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Vihiga United. Overall, they have soaked in 12 goals in seven games, the second highest in the league.
Sony are eighth and come to the tie on the backdrop of back to back losses.
-Bankers eye second win
In the early kick off, KCB will hope to pick up a second consecutive league win when they take on Vihiga United.
The bankers picked up their first top flight victory in four years last weekend when they shocked AFC Leopards 1-0 in Nakuru and coach Frank Ouna says it has built their confidence.
“The motivation of the players is now increased and I think we approach this game with a clearer mind. The aim is to avoid defeat because we come up against a more experienced side and we need to be cautious. But I am optimistic that we can get something off it,” Ouna said.
The tactician has also paid tribute to the arrival of Sammy Omollo in the club as his assistant saying the former Posta Rangers boss has increased the wealth of knowledge and tactical readiness for his charges.
Kenyan Premier League weekend fixtures:
Saturday: KCB v Vihiga United, Sofapaka v Sony Sugar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), Mathare United v Kakamega Homeboyz (Kasarani Stadium)
Sunday: Western Stima v Nzoia Sugar (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Ulinzi Stars v Tusker FC (Afraha Stadium),