Sharks out to maul limping Leopards


Kariobangi Sharks FC players celebrate Ibrahim Kitawi's (R) goal against FC Talanta during their FKF ...
(FILE)Kariobangi Sharks FC players celebrate Ibrahim Kitawi's (R) goal against FC Talanta during their FKF National Super League (NSL) match at the Nyayo National stadium on September 07, 2016. PHOTO/www.sportpicha.com

Absent Kariobangi Sharks stars Masoud Juma and Patilah Omoto give teammates a chance to prove their worth and flourish for the club, coach William Muluya has said ahead of their Saturday showdown with limping AFC Leopards.

The Sharks will miss their influential duo for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash but Muluya maintained he has the depth in squad to comfortably fill up for the absence of the duo as they attend to international duty with the national team.

The Saturday league clash is seen as a rehearsal for the GOtv finals that will pit the two both side on October 20 and both head into the clash on the back of chastening defeats from their last week engagements  .

A limping Ingwe were caged 2-0 by Sofapaka at the Narok Stadium, something that drew the ire of fiery coach Robert Matano who lashed out at the office for poor travel plans  which he argued led to the defeat.

Muluya wants his charges to give their best against a free-falling Leopards and also keep the defence very tight.
Muluya wants his charges to give their best against a free-falling Leopards and also keep the defence very tight.PHOTO/Sportpicha.

On the other, Sharks failed to prevail at the Thika Sub County Stadium losing 1-0 to Thika United, making for Saturday’s duel an intriguing affair.

“We’re keen to bounce back but the most important thing is we need to ask ourselves is whether we can go back to keeping clean sheets. We want to prepare in a way that we shouldn’t concede first, try to attain a positive point and avoid a loss at all costs,” Muluya told Citizen Digital after taking his charges through a routine workout ahead of the clash.

Mean defence

The Sharks, who earned promotion to the top division last term after finishing second in the second-tier, have enjoyed a successful run in the KPL fuelled by one of the meanest defence that has conceded only 18 goals– the third lowest tally in the league.

Kariobangi Sharks FC forward Rodgers Omondi (R) celebrates with teammate Duke Abuya after scoring against Thika United during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 26, 2017. Sharks won 1-0. Photo/Maina Wambugu/www.sportpicha.com
Kariobangi Sharks FC forward Rodgers Omondi (R) celebrates with teammate Duke Abuya after scoring against Thika United during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 26, 2017. Sharks won 1-0. Photo/Sportpicha

Before the previous two rounds, Sharks had not conceded a goal in at least 450 minutes of football but a 2-2 draw at home to Posta Rangers and a shock 1-0 loss to struggling Thika United have kept Muluya feeling they’re vulnerable again at the back.

“We want to keep this in mind; we should not concede,” he emphasized.

Juma has been the team’s top marksman having scored eight times and assisted three more in the KPL alone and Muluya has challenged fellow forwards, Gambian Ebrima Sanneh, Calvin Odongo and Rodgers Omondi to make light of his absence.

The former Mathare United team manager insisted Saturday’s clash will have any sort of bearing to the GOtv finals result, saying different things will be at stake on each occasion.

“Tomorrow’s match is a different one altogether because the objectives are different. This will be a league and only three points will be at stake with each team looking to improve their standings on the log. The remaining seven matches are all big in their own right so I’ll consider this just another match.

AFC Leopards SC coach Robert Matano reacts during their SportPesa Premier League match against Tusker FC at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi on August 24, 2017. AFC Leopards SC won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com
AFC Leopards SC coach Robert Matano reacts during their SportPesa Premier League match against Tusker FC at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi on August 24, 2017. AFC Leopards SC won 1-0. Photo/Sportpicha.

“Our intentions this season was to finish within the top eight and evidently we’re on course to achieving that. We can only work hard to cement an even better position so we have a bigger milestone to target next season,” he said.

Leopards were 2-0 losers away at Sofapaka FC last Sunday and will be looking to bounce back amid growing tensions between the club’s management and coach Matano who claimed they have been offered little support from the perennially wrangling  leadership.

AFC Leopards SC head coach Robert Matano instructs his charges during their quarter finals match against Wazito FC at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi on August 20, 2017. AFC Leopards SC won 7-1. Photo/Sportpicha
AFC Leopards SC head coach Robert Matano instructs his charges during their quarter finals match against Wazito FC at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi on August 20, 2017. AFC Leopards SC won 7-1. Photo/Sportpicha.

Matano blamed fatigue for the loss at Sofapaka after the team was forced to travel on match day due to ‘poor travel arrangements’ and ‘financial challenges’ which he claimed impacted on the players negatively.

KPL FIXTURES

SATURDAY

Kariobangi Sharks vs AFC Leopards SC

Nakumatt FC vs Muhoroni Youth FC

Sony Sugar FC vs Ulinzi Stars FC

Western Stima FC vs Bandari FC

Zoo Kericho FC vs Kakamega Homeboyz

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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