Sofapaka seek positive start, Tusker hope for revival
Pushed to the brink of missing out of the country’s top flight, Sofapaka FC and Muhoroni Youth begin their 2017 campaigns on Sunday following their reinstatement to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).
Both clubs will be at home for their opening fixtures, where Sofapaka will be hosting Sony Sugar at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru as Muhoroni Youth tackle Kariobangi Sharks in Muhoroni.
Sofapaka’s assistant coach, John Baraza,admitted the club’s battle against Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over CAF licensing requirements had spilled over to wreck the players’ confidence but rallied the team to quickly regroup for a positive start.
Baraza who was the chief architect of the club’s magical escape from relegation last season said despite the uncertainty that had rocked the club’s future, players always honoured their training programmes.
“The boys are psyched up for the match. You know although initially we were not so sure about our fate we still held our training sessions as usual.I don’t think it changed anything so we expect to carry home all three points,” Baraza told Citizen Digital.
Record titleholders Gor Mahia who opened their season with a cruising 3-1 win over Sharks will entertain another newly promoted side, Zoo Kericho FC, at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu aiming to solidify their early title charge.
The domestic giants have already won their first title of the season – and a first under Head Coach Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira – following their 1-0 win over champions Tusker in the Super Cup.
Ze Maria has reiterated he intends to sweep every title along their way in his first full season at K’Ogalo as the former Brazilian international seeks to cement a place in the hearts of the club’s huge fan base.
Pressure is slowly mounting on Tusker Head Coach George Nsimbe who has overseen four competitive matches without a win since he took over the reins from domestic double winner Paul Nkata who switched allegiances to Bandari FC during the close of the season.
Tusker’s KPL season got off to a shambolic start at Afraha last weekend, as they collapsed 5-2 against the newly promoted Nzoia Sugar.
More than the result, Nsimbe’s biggest headache will be the manner in which his team lost as they up an unconvincing display that painted a stark contrast of the side that was virtually unbeaten during the last campaign.
The Brewers head to Thika United seeking to restore their battered pride with Nsimbe likely to sunmon new signing Vincent Omumbo to fuel their title defense.
Nzoia Sugar and Mathare United will also lock horns in another mouthwatering clash, pitting two sides that had a perfect start in the league after recording opening wins.
Coach Francis Kimanzi’s boys defeated Thika 3-2 in a pulsating clash but come up against a Nzoia side brimming with confidence following their highlight trimph over Tusker.
Gor Mahia –Zoo FC
Posta Rangers –Bandari FC
Nzoia Sugar-Mathare United
Chemelil Sugar –Kakamega Homeboyz
Thika United –Tusker FC
Sofapaka -Sony Sugar
-Report by Mwangi Githinji and Phylis Kochwa.
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