NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – Nzoia Sugar’s Kenyan Premier League struggles continued as they suffered a sixth straight loss after going down 4-1 to 2009 champions Sofapaka at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday.
Nzoia who have been struggling financially, just like most clubs in the KPL only arrived in Machakos in the morning, and their lack of freshness was telling as they crumbled in the second half to concede four goals and finished the match with a man less.
New signing Daniel Simiyu and Eli Asieche got Batoto ba Mungu going before Boris Kwezi halved the deficit for the Bungoma based side. However, Titus Achesa and skipper George Maelo slotted home late on to hand Sofapaka the three points.
The victory sees John Baraza’s charges move eighth on the standings with 25 points while Nzoia reman 15th, just two points off the drop zone.
After a goalless opening half, the game blew to life in the final 45. Baraza’s decision to bring in brian Nyakan for Kepha Aswani at the broke proved to be a good gamble with Nyakan playing part in the first two goals.
His flick from a quick throw just two minutes after the start of the second half gifted Simiyu of the ball inside the box and the midfielder took one touch to set himself up before slotting past the keeoer from point blank.
Three minutes later, Sofapaka were 2-0 up when Asieche converted from the penalty spot after Nyakan forced Nzoia defender Mohamed Nigol to a handball inside the box.
Nzoia grabbed one back in the 65th minute when Kwezi chested a freekick from the right beyond the keeper, but their hopes of a memorable comeback were short lived.
A goalkeeping error from Benson Mangala gifted Sofapaka of the third in the 73rd minute when he misjudged a shot from Achesa on the left, thinking it would be a cross while the left back went for goal from a tight angle.
Nzoia were reduced to 10 men in the 79th minute when Ian Karani received his second yellow card. From the resultant freekick, substitute Maelo who had just come on for Sammy Imbuye rolled the ball across the line from the far post off Asieche’s freekick.