Squeaky bum time in KPL with Tusker out to pip K’Ogalo
The last minute can save a man and champions Gor Mahia are keeping their fingers crossed they can pip leaders Tusker FC to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) crown with three games to go.
The Brewers who have accrued 52 points, four ahead of the 15-time title winners visit Sony Sugar, a side colloquially known as ‘Gor B’ on Saturday knowing another slip up will ramp up the pressure ahead of their final day encounter against the titleholders on November 19.
Gor play 24 hours later against the 2008 champions Mathare United (42) in fifth in another nail-biter at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani with Brazilian boss, Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira saying this weekend’s round will decide the league.
K’Ogalo have put Tusker on notice telling Paul Nkata’s men they cannot afford any further slip up ahead of their final day decider he is hoping will be a straight shoot out for the title.
“I have said it before; the mistake they will make is failing to secure it before we play them in the final match of the season. Everyone had written us off when we were trailing them by seven points after drawing Sofapaka and Western Stima but we are just four points behind.
“This season, the league is very competitive so anything can happen in the remaining matches. No one thought they could drop points against Nairobi City Stars at this stage, so we are firmly in the title race,” charged club secretary, Ronald Ngala.
He admitted the champions have been under immense pressure to retain the crown for the fourth year in a row costing them valuable points in the second leg of the season.
“Our target is to win the three remaining matches and to do this we must avoid pressure. Against Muhuroni (KPL Top 8 final) they could hardly stay calm before the goal because of pressure.
“The mistakes were too much you could easily think it was easier to score than to take the ball out, so we have insisted they remain calm to win,” the long-serving SG added.
Ngala told Citizen Digital Gor shifted camp to the match venue in the midweek to acclimatize with the grass turf as their regular training ground in Camp Toyoyo is artificial.
K’Ogalo are buoyed by their 2-0 win over eternal rivals AFC Leopards last Sunday but expect a different challenge when they take on the defensively stubborn Francis Kimanzi’s side despite winning the reverse fixture 2-0.
Nkata on the other hand is adamant the title is headed to Ruaraka for the first time since 2012 when Gor took over and raced to the next three in a row.
“This is our year. We in a good position to win the league and that is where my focus lies. It will be difficult and I expect a lot of resistance especially from Gor. I am, however, very confident that we shall win a second trophy at the end of the season.
“This is not just my ambition; it is also the ambition of my players. They are all very determined to win that silverware and I have told them that they can do it only if they remain focused,” the Ugandan who led Tusker to the GOtv Shield trophy thundered.
“Everyone in Tusker is making every effort to ensure that the team is comfortable and motivated so surely there is no reason why we shouldn’t win the league title,” the official KPL website quoted him saying.
He will be without captain injured captain James Situma in Awendo, facing a side that has not lost in the last five outings.
After the Millers, Nkata will lead his men against Leopards while Gor clash with Muhoroni who denied them the KPL Top 8 gong ahead of the final day round of fixtures.
Elsewhere, Ken Kenyatta’s Ushuru FC take on Muhoroni seeking to secure their top flight status with victory after flirting with the drop for most part of the second leg.
Third placed Chemelil Sugar (43) travel to the side immediately below them Western Stima (42) with both teams itching to make history by finishing among the top three.
Bottom-placed City Stars (18) face eighth-placed Kakamega Homeboyz (37) on Sunday, hoping that Sofapaka and Ushuru fail in their fixtures as they win to keep their slim title hopes alive.
Ulinzi Stars lock horns with Thika United aiming to leap into top five after surrendering their title ambitions while Bandari and Posta Rangers complete the eight matches on cards in round 28.
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