New boys plot to upset Gor, Bandari
Pre-season title favorites, Gor Mahia and Bandari FC who failed to spark to victory in their opening games have potential upsets on their hands when they host promoted Posta Rangers and Kakamega Homeboyz in the second round of the 2016 SportPesa Premier League (SPL) on Sunday.
Rangers and Homeboyz will be chasing their second victories on the bounce against the troubled three-peat champions Gor; who drew blanks against Chemelil Sugar and Bandari, who salvaged a 2-2 draw away to Nairobi City Stars after playing the last quarter of an hour with 10-men.
The pick of the second round however, will be the clash between traditional domestic titans, Tusker FC and Ulinzi Stars, who will battle it out at the new adopted home of the 2011 and 12 champions -Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Rangers, who celebrated their return to the top flight after a two-season absence by thumping last season’s surprise package Muhoroni Youth 2-0 last weekend could not have picked a better time to play the limping K’Ogalo.
Former Gor boss, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno will be relishing the chance to pile more misery on the side he almost led to the title in 2010 with internal turmoil threatening to cripple the champions’ bid for a fourth successive crown following a run of three games without victory.
First choice custodian Boniface Oluoch is still on the naughty step following his physical confrontation with his head coach Frank Nuttall during their 2-1 home loss to CNaPs in the CAF Champions League last weekend with captain Jerim Onyango who impressed against Chemelil continuing between the sticks during the Sunday encounter.
Record Sh4m signing, Jacques Tuyisenge is also expected to miss out with ankle injury alongside Victor Ali Abondo who is away on trials at South African Premier Soccer League club Ajax Cape Town.
Striker Timothy Otieno was impressive for Rangers with his two-goal haul last weekend and would relish a go at Gor, who loaned him out to the mail men.
History favours K’Ogalo but current form could upset the form book.
After two disappointing away games to St. Eloi Lupopo where they lost 2-0 in the CAF Confederations Cup and the enthralling City Stars stalemate, Bandari return to Mbaraki Stadium seeking home comfort against Homeboyz also on Sunday.
Influential midfielder Musa Mudde will sit out due to the reckless red card he received against City Stars, meaning that David Gateri or the combative Humphrey Okoti may be restored to the starting line-up.
It is however, unclear whether Bandari striker Dan Sserunkuma will feature during the game as he became a daddy on Thursday evening against buzzing Homeboyz who crowned their return to the SPL with 2-1 home win over western rivals, Western Stima.
On Saturday the game of the weekend on paper will see Robert ‘The Lion’ Matano forward-march his troops against his old club Tusker FC, now under Ugandan Paul Nkata.
The Brewers looked a side that will have a huge say in the title race under Nkata who led Muhoroni to an unlikely fourth finish last term when they outclassed the tricky Thika United 2-1 away while Ulinzi were forced by Sony Sugar to accept a barren stalemate at their Afraha Stadium backyard in Nakuru.
Ex-AFC Leopards midfielder Timonnah Wanyonyi is set to miss this clash due to a nagging knee injury which prematurely forced him out of their game against Thika.
Ulinzi who led the challengers’ home behind runaway champions Gor last season are keen to deliver a huge statement of intent by canning the brewers who are itching to give their new Machakos fans a victorious start.
“I have already identified the problem, and that is the strike force,” Matano told kpl.co.ke.
Tusker beat Ulinzi 2-1 in their first leg tie in Nairobi last season before holding them to a 1-1 in the return match in Nakuru.
To round Saturday’s action, new-look Sofapaka who impressed with a polished 3-1 victory over the hardnosed Ushuru FC travel to Muhoroni to face a wounded home side while the taxmen welcome Thika in a clash that has a mid-table ring to it at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium.
On Sunday, City Stars under boss John “Bobby” Ogola travel to an equally smarting Western Stima as Mathare United entertain Chemelil Sugar at Nyayo.
A virtually new AFC Leopards outfit who rallied to forced a 1-1 draw after conceding first to Francis Kimanzi’s 2008 champions Mathare have a potential banana skin trip to Awendo to face Sony in the Monday game.
FIXTURES (all time +3GMT)
15:00 Ushuru FC vs Thika United (Nyayo Stadium)
15:00 Tusker vs Ulinzi Stars (Machakos Stadium )
15:00 Muhoroni Youth vs Sofapaka (Muhoroni)
14:00 Mathare United vs Chemelil Sugar (Nyayo Stadium)
15:00 Western Stima vs City Stars (Moi Stadium)
15:00 Bandari FC vs KK Homeboyz (Mbaraki Stadium)
16:15 Gor Mahia vs Posta Rangers (Nyayo Stadium)
15:00 Sony Sugar vs AFC Leopards (Awendo Stadium)
-Additional material from kpl.co.ke
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