Leaders Mathare host Homeboyz, derby frenzy grows
The fourth round of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) is scheduled to get underway on Saturday with eight matches on the cards including one of the fiercest football derbies in Africa- the Mashemeji Derby where struggling champions, Gor Mahia take on resurgent AFC Leopards on Sunday.
The first of the eight will be the Saturday clash pitting leaders Mathare United against new boys Kakamega Homeboyz at the Moi International Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani.
The game is set to kick off at 2pm local time (+3GMT) before the the second clash pitting Posta Rangers against Sofapaka from 4.15pm in the same venue in a televised double header.
Muhoroni Youth will be hosting Tusker at the Muhoroni Stadium; Chemelil Sugar will be taking on City Stars in Chemelil; while Western Stima will be in Kisumu to welcome Thika United all on Saturday starting 3pm EAT.
The eagerly awaited first Mashemeji Derby of 2016 pits 15-time champions Gor against 13-time winners Leopards on Sunday at Kasarani will cap the weekend action, after the earlier kick-off of the day between Ushuru FC and Ulinzi Stars at Ruaraka with Bandari hosting Sony Sugar at Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa from 3pm.
Gor will be at home in this 79th meeting of the eternal rivals, with coach Frank Nuttall seeking his first win of the season as well as his first against Leopards having drawn twice with Ingwe during his two years in charge, a 1 – 1 draw in the first leg in April 2015 and a 0 – 0 in the return that was abandoned in the 66th minute.
New Ingwe head coach Ivan Minnaert is totally unfamiliar with the derby that was first played in 1968, and can only hope Gor’s ‘slow start’ according to Nuttall will continue on Sunday. His side is buoyed by the mid-week 1-0 win over league favorites Bandari, which in reality may count little in the derby.
Ahead of the match, Leopards has won five, lost four and drew five times while Gor has won four, lost five and drawn four times since 2010 in all competitions.
Club fans, during the derbies, have always treated coldly players crossing over from either side.
Former KCB, Ingwe and Nkana Red Devils striker Jacob Keli and last season’s Ingwe skipper Jackson Saleh will be on the focus for such moves, although both have lost their first team places.
Record Ksh4m signing Rwanda’s talisman Jacques Tuyisenge is expected to make his debut after a long spell in the sidelines, while injured Victor Ali Abondo, Abouba Sibomana and Khalid Aucho could miss the clash. Abondo and Sibomana are in line for late fitness tests.
Minnaert’s goal hunt mission is likely to rest on Andrew Tololwa and Kepha Aswani. No major changes are expected to side that beat Bandari in the midweek clash.
A lot is at stake has been placed on the duel that has previously been said to be defined by myths, black magic, violence, hooliganism and mortality. And, Sunday is here, to draw yet another page of history between the two sides.
-Mathare United vs Kakamega Homeboyz-
Kakamega Homeboyz will be will be boosted by the return of Hamisi Mwinyi from injury and Patrick Oboya who has recovered from a bout of Malaria. The side is seeking to improve from the 13th position on the log by avoiding losing a third match in a row.
Francis Kimanzi early pacesetters boys will be boosted by the return of Robinson Kamura, but Dennis Orenge has grown into that left back position and should be an ideal replacement if Kamura does not rise to the occasion.
-Muhoroni Youth vs Tusker-
Midfielder Timonna Wanyonyi has fully recovered from a knee injury, adding into Paul Nkata’s options for the match and is expected to challenge for a starting berth against Danson Kago.
Having scored thrice, Muhoroni goal poacher Wycliffe Ochomo will certainly give the brewers defenders a rough time, although Eugene Asike and James Situma are a formidable set to effectively stop the former Ulinzi Stars striker.
Last season, Muhoroni picked four points from Tusker, winning the first 2-1 before settling for a 2-2 draw.
-Chemelil Sugar vs City Stars-
The sugar millers are looking for their second consecutive win when they host a City side that has lost twice in a row. John ‘Bobby’ Ogolla will be looking to instill confidence to his boys who currently sit bottom of the table with a single point, inspired by the fact that they drew 1-1 in both league meetings last season.
-Western Stima vs Thika United-
Thika United is among the four Premier League teams that are yet to record wins this season, thus expect them to come out firing on all cylinders.
Stima picked one point from Posta Rangers last weekend, and they will be hoping to build up on this with their second win of the season.
Last season, Thika United had the first laugh beating Stima 1-0 at their home ground, but the power men retaliated with a 2-1 win three months later in Thika.
-Posta Rangers vs Sofapaka-
Youthful Sofapaka have a tough test against a side that has not lost so far in the league. Batoto ba Mungu needs to overturn the 5-2 beating they suffered at the hands of Mathare United last weekend after a good start of the season.
Rangers have not failed to score in all their outings and start as favourites. The Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno-coached side hopes striker Timothy Otieno, who is already being touted as the outstanding KPL player for the month of February, can continue his scoring streak to hand them three points.
Patrick Mugendi of Sofapaka is suspended for this match for a red card.
-Ushuru vs Ulinzi Stars-
Two goals in three games and Ulinzi head coach Robert Matano is fuming at his striking force for the lack of goals. Matano wants his boys to utilize the chances they will create against Ushuru, to avoid a replica of the Gor Mahia midweek stalemate.
Charles Bikokwa returns to the starting lineup for Ulinzi and is likely to partner upfront with the club lead striker John Makwatta. Ushuru will be without Jackson Onjala who is serving a mandatory match ban for receiving a red card.
The two sides have each garnered four points from their three matches so far, played to a barren draw in their first leg encounter last season, before the soldiers prevailed over the taxmen 2-0 in the return fixture.
-Bandari vs Sony Sugar-
After an early exit from the Confederations Cup and a midweek 1-0 bruising by AFC Leopards, Coach Twahir Muhiddin desperately needs maximum points in this clash to calm the tongues wagging with criticism against him, considering the depth of his squad this year.
Sony coach Leonard Odipo will be on the touchline for Sony Sugar. He had reportedly resigned after Sony’s loss to Ushuru last weekend. A loss for the millers will send them to the bottom of the table if City stars garner at least a point in their match.
The two sides exchanged 1-0 results last season in their two league meetings.
-Material from kpl.co.ke used in this report
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