Voice of Sport

Sofapaka out of the woods financially; Gor can expect tough nut to crack at Kinoru

In Saturday matches one of the highlights was Mathare United recovering from spate of defeats to hold AFC Leopards 0-0 at Nyayo National Stadium

Saved a point: Mathare United (right) battle for a point in their 0-0 draw with AFC Leopards during their Kenyan Premier League fixture at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday

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2017 Kenyan Premier League:

Saturday, June 17:

AFC Leopards 0-0 Mathare United – (National Stadium, Nairobi)

Chemelil Sugar 2-1 Nzoia Sugar – (Chemelil Sugar Sports Complex)

Thika United 2-2 Posta Rangers – (Thika Stadium)

Sunday, June 18:

3.00pm: Bandari v Western Stima – (Kenya Ports Authority Sports Club, Mbaraki – Mombasa)

3.00pm:  Kakamega Homeboyz v Zoo Kericho – (Mumias Sports Complex)

3.00pm: Kariobangi Sharks v Tusker – (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos)

3.00pm: Muhoroni Youth v Nakumatt – (Muhoroni)

3.00pm: Sofapaka v Gor Mahia – (Moi Kinoru Stadium, Machakos)

3.00pm: Ulinzi Stars v Sony Sugar – (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru)

SOFAPAKA have taken Gor Mahia to Moi Kinoru Stadium for their Kenyan Premier League top bill fixture this afternoon after Mathare United’s holding of AFC Leopards at the National Stadium, Nairobi yesterday kicked of the highlights of the return-to-action after the competition took a brief mid-way break for international fixtures.

Sofapaka have a re-built side after maneouvres during the 30-day transfer window yet to end [June 30]. The test is whether, with the new men brought, the team will gel. They are sixth on the table and will have to pull off something special against a Gor Mahia side that already had rhythm before the break. Well, Gor Mahia have to re-start without their coach, the ex-Brazilian international Jose Marcelo “Ze Maria” Ferreira who has moved to FK Tirana of Albania.

Yesterday, Sofapaka team manager Willis Waliaula was optimistic that his men will be better than in the first half. “Thanks to the men who battled last year and made sure the club warded off the tough times and avoided relegation. Then they bravely fought at the beginning of this season to the respectable spot we are in. We are now better off financially and managed to bring in what we think is strength. If the same work ethic continues, I think we shall be happy and get good results at every fixture.”

Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa … bolstered his team with 13 new signings, five line up against Gor Mahia at Meru this afternoon

Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa … bolstered his team with 13 new signings, five line up against Gor Mahia at Meru this afternoon

Some of Sofapaka’s new signings include Fani Ali (left) starting against Gor Mahia today

Some of Sofapaka’s new signings include Fani Ali (left) starting against Gor Mahia today

It is a Sofapaka home game, quite unprecedented at Meru. They are more at home in Nairobi (Nyayo National Stadium) or at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. “They were unavailable,” said Waliaula, “but I hope we shall feel as the home team in Meru”.

Five new faces have been handed starting status including defenders Rodgers Aloro and Wesley Onguso who had a brief stay at Gor Mahia after joining from Western Stima. Mathias Kigonya, Jonathan Mugabi Mohamed Kilume and Hillary Echesa have maintained their start up roles in the heavily altered side.

TEAM:

SOFAPAKA: Mathias Kigonya: Jonathan Mugabi, Rodgers Aloro, Willis Ouma, Wesley Onguso, Mohamed Kilume, Hillary Echesa (captain),  Feni Ali , Timothy Luda, Ezekiel Okare, Umar Kasumba.

Reserves: Ruben Juma (gk); Kennedy Oduor, Samuel Mutiria, Morven Otinya, Meshack Karani, Maurice Odipo, Michael Oduor.

Coach: Sam Ssimbwa – (Uganda)

Sunday is a packed six-match programme, three having been played on yesterday [Saturday] where apart for the Leopards/Mathare United 0-0 draw, another stalemate was the dramatic 2-2 score in the Thika United v Posta Rangers clash at Thika and the exception of the day was Chemelil’s 2-1 beating of Nzoia Sugar.

Saturday:

Mathare United 0-0 AFC Leopards

Mathare United and AFC Leopards played to their fifth consecutive draw in the Kenyan Premier league following the 0-0 stalemate at Nyayo National Stadium.

Stemming a spate of losses prior to the break was a plus for Mathare United who need a complete turn-around and especially to convert their close matches, depicted by eight losses (highest in the league) where in most of them they should have picked up at least a point.

Vincent Oburu was Leopards most offensive man who went just inches from scoring on his league debut. The left footed striker first chance come in 12th minute after he beat an onrushing Wycliffe Kasaya only for Martin Mangabo’s timely intervention to dispossess the striker at nick of time.

Mathare had a chance late on in the first half but Chrispinus Oduor’s shot was kept away by a strong palm from Ian Otieno.

The tie opened up from a crowded midfield ding-dong heading to the hour mark with both ‘keepers called in for more saves. Levis Opiyo kept his cool from a series of Leopards corners the Mathare back line cleared out occasional threat from the hosts.

TEAMS:

AFC LEOPARDS:  Ian Otieno: Denis Sikhayi, Joshua Mawira, Salim Abdalla, Robinson Kamura. Bernard Mang’oli, Duncan Otieno, Andrew Tolololwa, Gilbert Fiamenyo, Harun Nyakha, Vincent Oburu

Reserves: Mike Kibwage (gk), Samuel Ndung’u, Marcellus Ingotsi, Edwin Mukolwe, Jackson Juma, Musa Mudde, Lewis Wanami

Coach: Dorian Marian – (Romania)

MATHARE UNITED:  Wycliffe Kasaya: George “Wise” Owino, Martin Ongori, Samuel Olwande, Roy Okal, Chris Ochieng’, David Owino, Daniel Mwaura, Lennox Ogutu, Alphonce Ndonye, Chrispin Oduor, 

Reserves: Levis Opiyo, Abubakar Kenya, Tyson Otieno, Andrew Juma, Elijah Mwanzia, John Mwangi, Harrison Mwendwa

Coach: Francis Kimanzi – (Kenya)

Chemelil 2-1 Nzoia Sugar

Chemelil Sugar took control of their home game from the whistle. They had an attack in the third minute but Festus Okiring was alert for Nzoia Sugar clearing the ball for a throw in. Nzoia warded off a flurry of Chemelil offensive moves and also Nzoia got a chance to counter in one instance which Chemelil backline man Benjamin Oketch was stretched to halt.

Boniface Omondi and Masita Masuta then started enjoying good runs for Nzoia Sugar In the 18th minute Omondi floated a good cross into the box that Masuta drove in for the opener.\

At the stroke of halftime Chemelil won a free kick. Yusuf Juma took it, almost resulting into a goal but Mustapha Oduor was alert and he directed it out for a corner kick.

Chemelil began the second half with intent. Stephan Siwa came in for Adebayo Mustapha. Two minutes later Siwa found space and crossed the ball into the box, finding John Mwita who slotted home to level 1-1.

From then on Chemelil were on constant push dominating for the rest of the match. John Mwita was then brought down in the box by Victor Omondi. The Harambee Stars man Victor Majid then stepped up to convert the penalty for 2-1, Chemelil, in the 73rd minute.

TEAMS:

CHEMELIL: Jairus Adira: Smith Ouko, Yusuf Juma, Benjamin Oketch, James Omino, Victor Majid, Jeffrey Odeny, Edwin Omondi, Mustapha Adebayor, (Saphan Siwa, 47), Faraj Odeny (David Ojwang’ 65) Mwita John

Reserves: Richard Aimo (gk); Morris Wandera, Amani Kyata, Moses Asure, Kennedy Odhiambo

Coach: Mike Mururi – (Kenya)

NZOIA SUGAR:  23 Mustapha Oduor (gk); 32 Victor Omondi, 26 Festus Okiring’ (33 Elvis Rupia, 85), 22 Joachim Oluoch, 14 Edwin Wafula, 04 Peter Gin (captain), 1 Luke Namanda (21 Brian Yakhama, 29), 24 Lawrence Juma, 10 Boniface Omondi, 20 Masita Masuta, 18 Patrick Kwitonda (06 Benjamin Muchuma, 79’)

Reserves: 15 Humphrey Katasi (gk): 25 Geofrey Kariuki, 08 Edger Nzano, 17 Jonathan Lodaket

Coach: Bernard Mwalala

Thika United 2-2 Posta Rangers

Shammy Mwinyi Kibwana’s brace could have earned Thika United a deserved but two goals from John Nairuka and debutant Kennedy Agogo Otieno turned round the game giving Posta Rangers a 2-2 at Thika Stadium.

Thika United were the ones pushing for an early lead but a defensive Rangers thwarted all the attacks.

Thika almost scored in the 16th minute but Patrick Matasi came to Rangers’ rescue saving a well-crafted shot from Eugene Mukangula. On the other end, Sosthenes Idah fouled Geoffrey Kataka at the edge of the box but Kennedy Otieno’s resultant free kick went wide.

Thika United man down … their 2-0 lead also came down as Posta Rangers rallied to snatch a point with the 2-2 draw at Thika on Saturday

Thika United man down … their 2-0 lead also came down as Posta Rangers rallied to snatch a point with the 2-2 draw at Thika on Saturday

The visitors continued to attack but this time a well-timed header from Dennis Mukaisi went inches off the mark. Thika would later get the deserved lead in the 35th minute with Shami Kibwana Mwinyi putting his side ahead. Kibwana would later find another opening to double his side’s lead just before the half time whistle blew.

On resumption, Rangers looked hungrier than the homes side but all their attacks went up in the air. However, their moment would come in the 60th minute when John Nairuka reduced the deficit. The Sammy Omollo led side continued to push for a later equaliser and they deservedly got in with added time when new signing Kennedy Otieno Agogo came to the rescue to force a bitter draw.

….

2017 KPL Standings after Saturday matches:

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Gor Mahia 13 8 3 2 18 8 10 27
2 Tusker 13 8 3 2 17 12 5 27
3 Posta Rangers 14 6 7 1 12 7 5 25
4 Ulinzi Stars 13 7 3 3 19 12 7 24
5 Kariobangi Sharks 13 6 3 4 12 9 3 21
6 Sofapaka 13 5 5 3 14 9 5 20
7 Chemelil Sugar 14 5 5 4 13 11 2 20
8 Nakumatt 13 5 4 4 12 11 1 19
9 Bandari 13 5 3 5 15 11 4 18
10 Kakamega Homeboyz 13 4 6 3 7 6 1 18
11 Nzoia United 14 4 5 5 19 16 3 17
12 AFC Leopards 14 4 4 6 10 13 -3 16
13 Sony Sugar 13 4 3 6 9 13 -4 15
14 Zoo Kericho 13 3 4 6 11 17 -6 13
15 Thika United 14 2 5 7 14 20 -6 11
16 Muhoroni Youth 13 2 5 6 8 15 -7 11
17 Mathare United 14 2 4 8 10 20 -10 10
18 Western Stima 13 2 4 7 9 19 -10 10

-Additional reporting by Correspondents and KPL