Voice of Sport

Comfortable Sofapaka too much for Gor Mahia; times ‘a changing’

Sofapaka have better financial and recruiting fortunes and an upset performance against Gor Mahia who may have been destabilised by desertion of coach ‘Ze Maria’, should not have been totally unexpected

Work force: The support team management for Sofapaka head coach Sam Ssimbwa have their eyes cast on strong performance in the second half of this year’s Kenyan Premier League

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2017 Kenyan Premier Leage:

Results:

Sunday, June 18:

Sofapaka 2-0 Gor Mahia

Ulinzi Stars 1-1 Sony Sugar

Kariobangi Sharks 0-0 Tusker

Kakamega Homeboyz 3-3 Zoo Kericho

Bandari 0-0 Western Stima

Muhoroni Youth v Nakumatt – (postponed)

Sat, June 17:

AFC Leopards 0-0 Mathare United

Chemelil Sugar 2-1 Nzoia United

Thika United 2-2 Posta Rangers

GOR Mahia had it coming; losing to Sofapaka in Meru on Sunday as the Kenyan Premier League resumed was by no means a surprise. It was the only fixture on a six-match Sunday card that produced a winner while the Kakamega Homeboyz versus Zoo Kericho was a six-goal fest at Mumias Sugar Sports Complex.

Sofapaka owner Elly Kalekwa had said financial woes at his club had eased and that he was able to recruit 13 players in the current one month transfer window, throwing the challenge to the squad to go out and prove themselves.

Team manager Willis Waliaula said that coming from last year when the team doggedly fought heavy odds to avoid relegation amidst a financial crisis; the current situation resembled a Sunday afternoon picnic.

“I hope the players take advantage of the current calm and satisfaction and go out and perform really well [against Gor] as indeed I hope for the rest of the season.”

Brazilian Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira (right) has left Gor Mahia and Zedekiah Otieno (left) first day as interim boss ends in 2-0 drubbing by Sofapaka at Moi Kinoru Stadium on Sunday

Brazilian Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira (right) has left Gor Mahia and Zedekiah Otieno’s (left) first day as interim boss ends in 2-0 drubbing by Sofapaka at Moi Kinoru Stadium on Sunday

Sunday:

Sofapaka 2-0 Gor Mahia

Sofapaka took the game to Moi Kinoru Stadium, their first ever home fixture at the venue away from their usual Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi or Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

The big worry was whether the recent recruits would cause a gelling crisis as five were on the starting roster; among them a fancied rookie, Feni Ali. The response was a commanding show and a 2-0 victory through Ezekiel Okare and Timothy Luda’s goals.

Effort wide

Okare’s 12th minute strike shocked Gor Mahia on to the back foot even though they had an opportunity almost immediately; from a foul kick award at the edge of the box that counted for nothing as the effort went just wide. Timothy Otieno then fired at goal in 22nd minute from 18 yard but goalkeeper Mathias Kigonya was equal to it.

In the 26th minute referee Rodgers Aloro showed his first yellow card for a Sofapaka foul and Kenneth Muguna took the free kick which went inches off target.

Gor Mahia’s Rwanda international forward Meddie Kagere is sandwiched between two Sofapaka players during their Kenyan Premier League clash at Meru on Sunday

Gor Mahia’s Rwanda international forward Meddie Kagere is sandwiched between two Sofapaka players during their Kenyan Premier League clash at Meru on Sunday

Sofapaka were the busier and more combatant team and no wonder Luda’s enthusiasm got him the yellow card just before the 37th minute when Ali showed his acumen with a dash and a cross into the box to find Umaru Kasumba who should have converted instead of sending the ball just inches wide.

After the break Umaru took a free kick that went over the bar as Meddie Kagere came agonisingly close for Gor Mahia but his header from a cross went begging.

No mistake

Gor Mahia would later be caught off-guard by a Sofapaka attack that goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch thwarted away only for it to land on Luda’s feet who made no mistake by putting it behind the net. Seven minutes later, Luda, a former Thika United man, almost had his brace but his shot went just over the bar.

Gor Mahia stand-in coach [after the recent exit of Brazilian Jose Marcelo “Ze Maria” Ferreira] Zedekiah Otieno brought in Jacques Tuyisenge for Mike Simiyu and the Rwandese international wasted little time in trying to reduce his side’s deficit but his shot went straight into Kigonya’s gloves.

Out of the box

Gor Mahia got another chance to score a moment later, this time from Ernest Wendo who however shot went just wide. Things got from bad to worse after captain Musa Mohammed was given his matching orders with eight minutes to go before Kenya No. 1 ‘keeper Oluoch was forced to commit a foul outside the box to save his side which resulted to a free kick.

Three minutes were added and Gor Mahia were fortunate not to concede another one in the dying minutes.

TEAMS:

SOFAPAKA: Mathias Kigonya: Jonathan Mugabi, Rodgers Aloro, Willis Ouma, Wesley Onguso, Mohamed Kilume, Hillary Echesa (captain), Ali Feni, 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)

GOR MAHIA: Boniface Oluoch: Innocent Wafula, Haroun Shakava, Musa Mohammed (captain), Ernest Wendo, Kenneth Muguna, Geoffrey Walusimbi, Timothy Otieno, Meddie Kagere, Mike Simiyu 

Reserves: Frederick Odhiambo, Joash Onyango, Philemon Otieno, Oliver Maloba, John Ndirangu, Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza, Jacques Tuyisenge

Coach: Zedekiah Otieno – (Kenya)

Harambee Stars’ forward Stephen Waruru (top) pounces again to give Ulinzi Stars the equalizer in their 1-1 result with Sony Sugar at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru

Harambee Stars’ forward Stephen Waruru (top) pounces again to give Ulinzi Stars the equalizer in their 1-1 result with Sony Sugar at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru

Ulinzi Stars 1-1 Sony Sugar – (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru)

Amos Asembeka rose high to head Sony Sugar ahead from a corner kick in the 22nd minute.

The productive Stephen Waruru, however, came to Ulinzi’s rescue at the hour mark latching onto a loose ball after Sony goalkeeper Kevin Omondi fumbled to rifle home the equalizer and his league leading eighth goal of the season.

Also goalless at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, Kariobangi Sharks (left) v KPL champions Tusker

Also goalless at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, Kariobangi Sharks (left) v KPL champions Tusker

Kariobangi Sharks 0-0 Tusker – (Kenyatta Stadium)

Despite dropping two points in this match, defending champions Tusker rose to the summit of the League table replacing Gor Mahia after their loss to Sofapaka.

The result ended Tusker eight-match winning streak while underlining the rise of debutants Sharks in this league.

Kakamega Homeboyz 3-3 Zoo Kericho – (Mumias Sports Complex)

Homeboyz went ahead in the third minute from an own goal by Andrew Ongwae even as Keiphas Mutuu claimed the strike following a cross from captain Ali Bhai’s pass.

Geoffrey Gichana equalised for the visitors eight minutes later, but Mutuu found the back of the net after the re-start to restore Homeboyz’s lead.

Zoo leveled matters again in the 32nd minute when Isaac Kipyegon beat Homeboyz goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.

Then in the 44th minute, Andrew Ongwae scored to put Zoo in the lead for the first time in the game only for Mutuu to round off a great day in the office with his second as he restored balance just seconds afterwards.

Bandari 0-0 Western Stima – (Kenya Ports Authority Sports Club, Mbaraki, Mombasa)

Western Stima, who recorded a poor first half of the season, went to Mombasa determined to come away with something, as was evident in their display in the game.

Although the hosts dictated, Stima held out with goalkeeper Samuel “Abawa” Odhiambo standing out with brilliant saves.

Saturday:

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

Midfielder Vincent Oburu was a revelation for AFC Leopards and marked his Kenyan Premier League debut with great attacking ideas but he came short of scoring and his team had to settle for a barren draw with Mathare United.

It was the eighth match without victory for Ingwe, who showed attacking play throughout the game. The paltry attendance at the stadium showed the disillusionment of Leopards followers.

Not much to celebrate about, though … Dorian Marian (left), the Romanian who took over from Englishman Stewart Hall at AFC Leopards still has a lot to do to raise the 12th placed team from unusual doldrums. They were held to a 0-0 draw by Mathare United at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday

Not much to celebrate about, though … Dorian Marian (left), the Romanian who took over from Englishman Stewart Hall at AFC Leopards still has a lot to do to raise the 12th placed team from unusual doldrums. They were held to a 0-0 draw by Mathare United at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday

It was a better result for bottom placed Mathare United who will be seeking a turn-around after a spate of demoralizing defeats and draws. But being a point behind three teams, it means Mathare United who snapped a six-match losing streak have the opportunity to make a leap-frog to safety with a just a couple of wins in the next fixtures.

Although needing a win, that draw and point was much appreciated by Mathare as it finally ended a painful losing streak.

Mathare United (right) battle AFC Leopards at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on Saturday … barren draw the result

Mathare United (right) battle AFC Leopards at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on Saturday … barren draw the result

A Mathare United communiqué said: “The match was fiercely contested with both teams wasting good scoring chances.

“Our newly signed defender, Samuel Olwande, really helped stabilise our back line.In the second half, our better passing, greater possession was impressive and encouraging.

“Our MVP (most valuable player) was midfielder Daniel Mwaura who applied 90 minutes of relentless pressure. Our next match is away on Sunday, July 2, against Zoo in Kericho.”

 

Chemelil Sugar ‘keepers Jairus Adams stood tall in their 2-1 home win against Nzoia United

Chemelil Sugar ‘keepers Jairus Adams stood tall in their 2-1 home win against Nzoia United

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

Returnees Nzoia United were off to a flying start, Masita Masuta connecting with Boniface Omondi’s cross for the lead on 18 minutes.

John Mwita popped up in a good position to finish off a cross from midfielder Staphan Siwa to pull the hosts level in the 47th minute.

Mwita was then brought down inside the box by Nzoia’s Victor Omondi 10 minutes later, and burly midfielder Victor Majid stepped up to bury the spot kick home and complete this come-from-behind win.

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

Productive midfielder Shami Kibwana scored for Thika United in the 35th and 45th minute as they cruised comfortably, seemingly so.

Posta Rangers, however, pulled a goal back in the 60th minute through diminutive striker John Nairuka, who took advantage of a dithering defence to finish with telling effect.

Thika thought they had this one only to concede again late in the match – seventh minute of time added on – when Kennedy Agogo beat the hosts’ goalkeeper Eliud Emase from close range.

A sharing of the spoils, though Thika will feel hard undone as they failed for the 10th match in a row to secure all three points.

2017 Kenyan Premier League (after Sunday matches)

   
Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tusker 14 8 4 2 17 12 5 28
2 Gor Mahia 14 8 3 3 18 10 8 27
3 Ulinzi Stars 14 7 4 3 20 13 7 25
4 Posta Rangers 14 6 7 1 12 7 5 25
5 Sofapaka 14 6 5 3 16 9 7 23
6 Kariobangi Sharks 14 6 4 4 12 9 3 22
7 Chemelil Sugar 14 5 5 4 13 11 2 20
8 Bandari 14 5 4 5 15 11 4 19
9 Nakumatt 13 5 4 4 12 11 1 19
10 Kakamega Homeboyz 14 4 7 3 10 9 1 19
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 14 4 4 6 10 14 -4 16
14 Zoo Kericho 14 3 5 6 14 20 -6 14
15 Thika United 14 2 5 7 14 20 -6 11
16 Muhoroni Youth 13 2 5 6 8 15 -7 11
17 Western Stima 14 2 5 7 9 19 -10 11
18 Mathare United 14 2 4 8 10 20 -10 10

-Additional reporting by Correspondents and KPL