Kerr feels like a kid in a toy shop as Gor welcome Nakumatt

By alex wafula
Jul 28, 2017
  • Gor Mahia Innocent Wafula in action Arena.jpg

  • Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr gestures to his players during a training session. He will be on the touchline for the first time. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • There is a chance of Gor Mahia getting back to the top of the Premier League if they beat Nakumatt. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Dylan Kerr, the new Gor Mahia coach says he feels like a kid in a toy shop as he prepares to make his home debut as the K’Ogalo boss this weekend.

Kerr who arrived in the country at the start of the month will be on the touchline for the first time at home when the 15-time Kenyan Premier League champions face Nakumatt FC at Nyayo National Stadium.

He watched from the stands as Gor exited the GOtv Shield in their second round loss to Bandari and his first match in charge was their 2-1 loss to English Premier League side Everton FC in a friendly match in Tanzania.

“I am so excited and I couldn’t wish this time to come sooner. Like a kid in a toy shop, I am excited not knowing which toy to pick. It has been a brilliant last two weeks in training and hopefully everything we have worked for will be seen on the pitch,” Kerr told Sports News Arena.

It will be a tight next four days for Kenyan Premier League clubs who will be faced with back to back matches against the same opponents on the weekend and on Wednesday.

The weekend matches will mark the end of the first round of fixtures while the Wednesday games will be the beginning of the second half of the season.

Kerr hopes he will have a winning start to his tenure, but acknowledges it will not be easy.

“I have watched some few matches here and there since I arrived and I know it will not be easy. The intensity is quite high and the competition is stiff. But what I have asked of the players is to go out there, give me intensity and play an attacking game like we did against Everton,” the Englishman pointed out.

Picked a few points

He was at the Ruaraka Complex when Nakumatt lost 2-1 to log leaders Ulinzi Stars and picked a few points to note. The tactician has also revealed he is surprised at how quick the players have picked up his philosophy.

“These players are very hard working in training and everyone wants to impress. It is a great bunch of players,” the tactician further outlined.

He however finds a rough patch of history. Gor has failed to win all its last five competitive matches. They have drawn three league matches, lost one and lost a GOtv Shield second round match as well.

Nakumatt have a better record having won three, drawn one and lost one of their last five league matches. Kerr will be looking to guide K’Ogalo back to the apex of the standings.

If they pick maximum points against the League’s new comers and leaders Ulinzi drop points at home to Nzoia Sugar, then they will assume the summit.

Ulinzi will be at home to new boys Nzoia Sugar who return to the Afraha Stadium with beautiful memories. Nzoia’s first match in top flight was at the stadium on the floor of the Rift Valley where they beat holders Tusker FC 5-2.

Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi boss knows only too well the kind of challenge the sugar millers bring and he is exercising caution.

Ahead of the match, Nyangweso is sweating on the fitness of his two midfield players, Churchill Muloma and Daniel Waweru. While Waweru, the league’s top assist provider is nursing a thigh injury, Muloma picked up a hip injury in training on Tuesday.

Taking a risk

Nyangweso though says he will make a decision on Friday evening whether to risk them or not.

“Nzoia is a very good team looking at how they are performing. They have young players who play with a lot of speed and that is something we will need to be very cautious about,” offered the coach.

Elsewhere, the Kinoru Stadium in Meru will host a tough top of the bill encounter when Tusker FC hosts second-placed Posta Rangers.

Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo will be facing the side he led to the league title in 2012 and he is keen to get one over them.

The mailmen put behind them a poor spell of five winless matches with a 2-1 result over Nzoia Sugar in their last match and Omollo will be counting on the renewed confidence to thrust his side over the brewers.

“Playing against Tusker is always special because this is a team I played for and coached. However on Sunday, it’s all about business. We are going there to get three points,” the soft spoken Omollo noted.

Only one point separates the two teams at second and fourth respectively on the log. Tusker’s George Nsimbe looks at this as an opportunity to lead his side back to the apex.

The brewers have lost their last two matches to Bandari and Western Stima and the Ugandan coach has urged his men to go to war and bounce back.

“Losing a third is out of question. We are in the race for the title and drifting further away will be suicidal. We have to bounce back,” Nsimbe pointed out.

Key players

Posta Rangers will be without two key players, keeper Patrick Matasi and defender Luke Ochieng both who are suspended after their red cards in the Nzoia match.

It will be a huge blow for Omollo especially considering the two have been a pillar of the backline that has conceded only nine goals this season. Tusker will have their entire personnel at their disposal.

At the same time, Robert Matano wants to continue his perfect start as AFC Leopards coach, this time eying a win over Western Stima in Nairobi.

Matano began his tenure with a 1-0 win away to Bandari in Mombasa and on Wednesday led the side to the quarters of the GOtv Shield with a 2-1 win over his former side Bidco United.

Matano is impressed with the strides his side has made since taking charge. He is however cautious on his targets, only lining out that his men will be taking a game at a time.

Western Stima beat AFC Leopards home and away last season and Ingwe will be going for revenge when they meet at Nyayo.

The powermen are dangling deep in the relegation zone and Henry Omino who led the side to a win over holders Tusker in their last match hopes his lucky star can shine against AFC Leopards as well.

KPL Weekend fixtures (Kick off 3 p.m. unless stated)

Saturday: Sofapaka v Muhoroni Youth (2 p.m.), AFC Leopards v Western Stima (Nyayo National Stadium 4:15 p.m.), Chemelil Sugar v Thika United, Kakamega Homeboyz v Mathare United, Ulinzi Stars v Nzoia Sugar.

Sunday: Kariobangi Sharks v Zoo Kericho (2 p.m.), Gor Mahia v Nakumatt FC (Nyayo National Stadium, 4:15 p.m.), Tusker FC v Posta Rangers (Kinoru Stadium, Meru).