Gor out to tighten KPL lead, Leopards eye ‘plan B’


Gor Mahia during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Afraha stadium in Nakuru on ...
Gor Mahia during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Afraha stadium in Nakuru on April 08, 2017. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com

Domestic giants Gor Mahia FC will be looking to tighten their grip at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) standings when they visit Sony Sugar on Saturday.

Nine KPL matches will be on the cards during the Easter festival stretching to Monday and as the league enters its fifth round, Ulinzi Stars and Posta Rangers remain the only unbeaten sides while newcomers Zoo Kericho FC are yet to register a single point.

Gor Secretary General Ronald Ngala stated the club withheld five ‘key players’ from joining the Harambee Stars camp in order to adequately prepare for Saturday’s clash.

“Sony is a very good side and we are playing away. All the players the national team coach had called from our team are in the first team so we could not have released them without considering the task ahead.

“We will always be ready to release them whenever they are needed provided it is within FIFA international window, but in this case it was different. We believe their presence in the team will give us an edge over Sony,” Ngala told Citizen Digital.

Goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch, Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava, Kenneth Muguna and Ernest Wendo had been summoned by the national team First Coach Stanley Okumbi ahead of their friendly tie with Malawi on Wednesday.

The K’Ogalo Head Coach Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira warned his charges not to rest on their laurels, noting opponents are always looking to get one over the record titleholders.

“Any opponent gives their best when they face Gor so can’t judge any team by their performances against others. We won against Kakamega Homeboyz but unconvincingly thus we have to win and show our title intentions,” the former Brazil international offered.

A win will take the 15-time champions to 15 points, while a loss will take Sony (7) to the summit albeit temporarily awaiting other results.

-Injured Leopards turn to plan B-

After suffering their second loss last week, Ingwe will have to change tact as they face Muhoroni Youth with four of their key players sidelined through injury.

Striker Paul Mungai Kiongera, Marcus Abwao, Salim Abdalla and Dennis Sikhayi will be forced to sit out but Joshua Mawira has been cleared to play.

“We will have to face them with a different approach, our normal system can’t work with the number of injuries we have. I hope my plan B which will bear fruits.

“Last week we suffered fatigue because we travelled all the way to Mumias by bus, but we now we travel to Mombasa by air to avoid the problem,” Head Coach Stewart Hall said.

Ingwe are sixth on seven points and have a chance of going top if other teams above them, only two points away lose.

Holders Tusker will be without suspended Captain James Situma as they face Ulinzi, while the latter miss influential defender Omar Mbongi who has left for advanced military training.

Tusker will be looking for a second win of the season, while the Benjamin Nyangweso-coached side will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run.

“You instill confidence to the team through a good start. We want to keep winning so that the momentum will keep us competitive throughout.

“We may be lacking a number of players who will rejoin us later in the second leg but we have learnt to work with the available ones,” Nyangweso, a former Ulinzi player, said.

-‘League in the dark’-

Meanwhile, the league will continue to played ‘in the dark’ following the exit of KPL broadcast partners SuperSport and despite frantic efforts by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to have them resume live coverage, there have been o signs of a  potential return.

Only the opening round matches were beamed live.

ROUND FIVE FIXTURES:

Saturday

Tusker vs Ulinzi 15:00 hrs

Sony Sugar vs Gor Mahia 15:00hrs

Sunday

Bandari vs Thika United 14:00hrs

Western Stima vs Chemelil Sugar 15:00hrs

Kakamega Homeboyz vs Nzoia Sugar 15:00hrs

Zoo Kericho vs Sofapaka 15:00hrs

AFC Leopards vs Muhoroni Youth 16:15hrs

Monday

Kariobangi Sharks vs FC Nakumatt 14:00hrs

Mathare United vs Posta Rangers 16:15hrs

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Story By Jacob Icia
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