NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – “I feel more at home here. This is home not any other place. I am happy working here. I was miserable before,” Mount Kenya head coach Melis Medo said of his triumphant return to the club after a short stint with Sofapaka.
The tactician had a tough two-month stint with the 2009 league champions but made a return to his former side and has enjoyed some quick success with wins over Mathare United and AFC leopards reviving some hopes of evading the relegation chop.
Mount Kenya had a torrid start to the season but back to back wins over two giants have resuscitated them and as they prepare to face Kenya Commercial Bank on Monday afternoon in Machakos, the tactician is hopeful of brighter days ahead.
Medo is optimistic the team will continue with its new found form against the bankers in a game he knows will be tough.
“We need to continue working hard and take game by game. I am confident that we can get out of the bottom of the table and move up,” the tactician stated.
Medo first joined Mount Kenya mid last season and helped them survive relegation in a financially-tough circumstance and he is confident if things are better this season, then they will not be a drop-fighting side.
They come up against a KCB side also struggling to find their balance in the top flight after a shaky start. The side has not lost over their last seven games, but the worry is that they have picked only two wins and drawn the rest of the games.
They are placed 12th in the standings with 12 points and victory against Mount Kenya might take them into the top 10.
“We have built confidence over the last few games and I think we are improving well as a team. We are looking forward to the Mount Kenya game though I know it will be hard but we want to fight for maximum points,” the tactician stated.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides.
Meanwhile, the Awendo Green Stadium will host a tasty sugar-belt derby with Sony Sugar taking on Chemelil.
Chemelil are willowing in the relegation zone having won only twice in 11 outings this season and have lost two of their last four games. Sony have also not been steady over their last four, despite being placed ninth in the standings with 15 points.
However, the clash of the early week fixtures will be on Tuesday when top of the table Mathare United clashes with resurgent Sofapaka at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
While league leaders Mathare have began to stutter after a strong start to the season, Sofapaka have recovered from their own tragedy and have won four of their last five games to push to within five points of the league leaders.
Sofapaka tactician John Baraza has labelled that tie as a very important fixture in their quest to challenge for this year’s league title and says it will be imperative for them to pick maximum points to stay in the race.
“When you play against the leaders, it is always good to get points against them to bridge that gap. Our target remains to win the league and if we can win on Tuesday then that’s a very positive step for us,” the tactician stated.
Batoto ba Mungu will welcome back midfielders Dennis Odhiambo and Elly Asieche who missed last week’s win over Nzoia Sugar with injury and sickness respectively.
Mathare saw their unbeaten run broken by Mount Kenya United before coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Sony Sugar last week and head coach Francis Kimanzi will be looking for a response when they tackle Sofapaka.
On paper, Sofapaka carry a massive advantage over Mathare as they have won half of the last 20 fixtures between the two sides, losing four times and drawing the remaining six.
Last season, the two sides shared spoils with Mathare winning the first leg 3-1 and Sofapaka winning the return fixture 3-2.
In other fixtures set for Tuesday, bottom side Posta Rangers will take on Nzoia Sugar, Kakamega Homeboyz take on Kariobangi Sharks in Kakamega while Bandari will be at home against Vihiga United.
Bottom side Posta have won only twice in their last 12 games and lost three of their last five, stats that have left head coach John kamau scratching his head.,
However, the tactician is completely sure his charges will not be fighting relegation this season and believes they will turn the tide.
“It’s not a good thing (being bottom) but by the end of the season we wont struggle like the team did last year where it was almost going to play offs. I am sure we will finish a better team. We just have to work on our finishing because we create scoring chances, but it is just a case of players being calm infront of goal,” the tactician stated.
Monday: Miunt Kenya United v KCB (Machakos), Sony Sugar v Chemelil Sugar (Awendo), Ulinzi Stars v Western Stima (Afraha).
Tuesday: Kakamega Homeboyz v Kariobangi Sharks (Kakamega), Posta Rangers v Nzoia Sugar (Nakuru), Mathare United v Sofapaka (Kasarani), Bandari FC v Vihiga United (Mombasa).