Gor look to peel away from Posta at Mumias
After toppling Posta Rangers off the summit of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) table, domestic giants Gor Mahia travel to Nzoia Sugar hoping to tighten their grip on top spot.
The Rangers, who are second only by virtue of an inferior goal difference, play Nakumatt FC and could reclaim their place should Gor slip in Mumias.
Aware of the hot chase behind their back, Coach Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira underscores there no room for mistakes.
“We are working as a team. All players played well, so it’s not only Muguna (Kenneth) and Timothy (Otieno) who were the goal scorers. In last two matches team work has been incredible so we cannot narrow down to individuals.
“We played for each other and that is important to sustain going forward,” Ze Maria charged after their 2-0 midweek triumph over Chemelil Sugar in Thika.
He is confident the depth in his team will be vital in his quest for the title, which he lost to Tusker FC last season.
Key members of the 2016 first team, including Jacques Tuyisenge and Francis Kahata, have been relegated to bench in several matches with the former Inter Milan defender insisting every player has a key role in the current challenge.
“We need to keep up the tempo in our next game, and everybody in the team must uphold the positive mentality shown in our recent matches,” he offered.
Under the tutelage of Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omolo, the Rangers have transformed into potential title challengers and while they are yet to taste defeat this season, the tactician cannot afford to rest on his laurels. That streak has included marginal wins and a series of draws that has slowed their charge.
They have won three of their last five matches 1-0, and drew the other two, the latest draw being against Muhoroni Youth on Wednesday.
“We have been working on plenty of off the ball aspects in defending. It’s not only Matasi and the back four but the entire team organization.
“When off the ball, everyone switches on to defending and that has been key in our games,” Pamzo said in a past interview.
Nakumatt should be an easier test for Rangers if their record of three loses, three draws and four losses is anything to go by.
Two successive defeats – 3-0 to derby rivals Gor and 1-0 to Sony Sugar – have cut down the slightest momentum that AFC Leopards had built and with Head Coach Stewart Hall bearing ambitions of a top three finish, those hopes could be fading fast. A struggling Zoo Kericho FC who are their opponents should offer them a way back.
A furious Hall slammed his charges for a lackluster show in the outings albeit defending the ‘young’ team which he says is a project for the future.
“When you play that badly it doesn’t matter who you have in the field. Even Messi would not have helped in the final 20 minutes because we were so bad.
“Our goalkeeper’s kicking was awful and it’s normally a big feature of his game. Distribution of the ball from the back was bad; our midfielders did not any 50/50 balls. We didn’t press and our strikers were not effective while theirs (Gor’s) were excellent.
“You can talk of systems because we played the same system they were just better than us,” decried Hall after the Mashemeji Derby humiliation.
Resurgent Tusker FC will continue their upward thrust with a win over Sony, having silenced critics who wrote them off after a poor start that saw them in bottom five at the early stages of the season.
Now fourth, the champions are marching in the same pace with Ulinzi Stars who have 18 points, the former enjoying goal superiority at third.
The Military Men will play Muhoroni on Saturday, when Bandari lock horns with Kariobangi Sharks in another encounter of the day.
Other pairings will see Sofapaka visit Chemelil, Mathare United clash with Western Stima and struggling Thika United finish the weekend action Kakamega Homeboyz.
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