Ze Maria tells Gor not to rest on their laurels

Gor Mahia during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Afraha stadium in Nakuru on ...
Gor Mahia during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Afraha stadium in Nakuru on April 08, 2017. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com

Gor Mahia Head Coach believes the domestic giants have no room for slip ups as they bid to reclaim the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title after relinquishing it last year for the first time in three years.

Gor have swept aside AFC Leopards, Chemeilil Sugar and Nzoia United in their latest outings and have Thika United next on their radar when the KPL enters round 12 over the weekend.

It will be a top meets bottom affair when the two clash on Sunday with Kakamega Homeboyz hosting Leopards a day earlier in what promises to be an epic ‘Cataluhya’ derby.

Thika have earned only eight points out of the possible 33 after 11 outings, conceding a whopping 16 goals in the process.

Their last win came in week four of the competition against then shaky Zoo Kericho, and newly appointed coach Nicholus Muyioti is under no illusion the test awaiting him on Sunday at the Nyayo Stadium.

“It is good that we are winning and we are at the top, the difficult test is staying there. It is normal, being at Gor you are always under pressure to perform because it is a big club.

“We are in the right direction, players know what we want and the fans expectations too. Against Thika, we can only better our recent performance,” said Ze Maria.

While Muyioti knows what it means to play Gor even from ‘Mashemeji Derby’ perspective as former Ingwe player, his charges record against the 15-time champions is uninspiring.

“We’ve never forgiven the ‘milk men’ and they have been paying for their ‘sins’ since that time to mean, we’ve beaten them home and away for four straight years, a post on Gor’s club’s official portal read.

Gor could go five points clear should Ulinzi Stars stop their closest chasers Posta Rangers.

-Posta experience-

It may not be the easiest thing for the military men to do, against Posta who remain the only side yet to taste defeat in the league.

Head coach Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo has hailed his players for using their vast experience in keeping the title challenge alive.

“The most important thing I have in my team is experience. I have quality experienced players and they are doing a good job.

“Another important thing is that I have players I worked with at Tusker. Mukaisi, Santos, Mbugi, Atudo and others are players I won the league title with at Tusker, I trust them and they are delivering. The rest of the players are also doing a good job and I hope we continue this way till the end of the season,” Omollo told.

His clash against Ulinzi comes barely three days after winning the coach of the month accolade by Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK), and should be a big boost.

His four players, just as Ulinzi’s, are in the recently named 26-man squad for Harambee Stars international friendly versus Angola in June 4.

-Leopards struggle-

The humiliating 3-0 defeat to Gor was like a bad omen to the Stewart Hall coached Leopards, who went on to lose to Sony Sugar and narrowly avoided defeat to Zoo Keicho in Machakos on Sunday, scoring late in the second half to draw 1-1.

Assistant coach Dennis Kitambi revealed they had to start influential attackers Gilbert Fiamenyo and Allan Kateregga on the bench as a disciplinary measure, conceding the squad lacked depth to challenge for the their dream top three slots this season.

The coach however charged the issue is over, and the two are ready for Kakamega Homeboyz, in what will be Leopards’ first trip to Mumias this season.

Another slip will leave Ingwe at 12 on the log, if Nakumatt FC, Nzoia and Homebyz win their fixtures.

In the same development, Citizen Digital has learnt Hall will sign five players to bolster his squad in the June transfer window.

“The coach has recommended that we sign five experienced players in June. We have identified some of the players and we have reached an agreement with one already.

“One is from Nigeria and another is from Rwanda. We are also looking at some local players who the coach feels will be a good addition to the team,” Chairman Dan Mule revealed.

Fifth and sixth placed Kariobangi Sharks and Sofapaka face off in another encounter that could confirm the former a dark horse to the trophy this season. A win and losses for Tusker and Ulinzi, will leap the William Muluya coached side to third.

Notably, Sharks have shaken off their bad start that saw them lose four matches, going on to win six and draw one to jump into the top five bracket.

“I had said it, that the moment we win the first one we would be good to go. The players are confident that they belong here and the desire to do better is evident,” Muluya offered after their 1-0 over Bandari.

In other pairings of the weekend, holders Tusker will lock horns with fading Mathare United while Muhoroni Youth host Nzoia.

Nakumatt will play Chemelil while Sony complete round 12 against Western Stima.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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