Kerr frustrated after Thika United hold Gor

By alex wafula
Sep 17, 2017
  • Timothy Otieno of Gor Mahia shields the ball against Chris Oruchun of Thika United. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Thika United coach Nicholas Muyoti is optimistic the team will not be relegated after holding Gor Mahia to a barren draw. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Bonface Onyango of Ulinzi Stars defends against Posta Rangers. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Relegation threatened Thika United picked up a vital point, holding league leaders Gor Mahia to a barren draw in Thika on Sunday.

The result it was a huge push for Thika in their surge to avoid relegation.

“It was a great performance and the only thing we lacked was a goal scorer upfront. We created chances, played well and we showed that we are not relegation candidates. I am confident that we will not be chopped at the end of the season,” Nicholas Muyoti, the Thika United coach said.

Dylan Kerr, his Gor counterpart was frustrated and blamed the condition of the Thika Sub-County Stadium playing surface, saying his players found it difficult.

But despite the status of the pitch, Kerr was critical of the performance of his own players.

“Maybe it is fatigue, but the team we put out today could have easily won the match. I want to see better from these players," the British coach said.

The result kept the gaps at the top intact especially with Ulinzi Stars and Posta Rangers drawing 0-0. Sofapaka and Kariobangi Sharks also drew 0-0 on Saturday. The four teams are seen as Tusker’s biggest challengers to the title.

In this match, Gor created scoring chances in the opening and closing minutes, but were unlucky lucky.

Timothy Otieno who started instead of Jacques Tuyisenge who is still recovering from a knee problem squandered most chances in the opening half.

In the 11th minute, Otieno won the ball on the left before squaring a pass back to Meddie Kagere at the edge of the box, but the ball took an awkward bounce on the uneven pitch, came off Kagere’s chest and went wide.

Defense scrambled back

Minutes later, Otieno found some space at the edge of the box. Before driving in, he took too many touches and when he pulled the trigger, the Thika defense had scrambled back to block.

The forward who this week lamented lack of playing time had a chance to prove himself, but came short.

In the 18th minute, the forward was picked out with a well weighted Kenneth Muguna pass took a heavy touch on the half turn giving Allan Owiny, the Thika United keeper an easy pick.

Thika United were confident and easily passed the ball around against the league giants. Said Tsuma had a blistering game in midfield, winning the balls and passing with ease.

But, the the home side could not get it right in the final third. They threatened in the 25th minute when Shami Kibwana poked the ball away from Gor keeper Boniface Odhiambo from outside the box after a swiftly executed counter attack, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

In the 28th minute, Eugene Mukangula broke the offside trap racing on the right to a Saad Musa through ball but the striker’s effort was weak to threaten Oluoch.

Gor also had a goal disallowed for offside on the stroke of half time when Kagere toe-poked Otieno’s cross from the left.

Thika came off the break more energetic and in the 58th minute, Kibwana picked the ball on the edge of the Gor box from a lobbed ball from deep in his half, but delayed allowing Musa Mohammed time to block his effort.

Kerr made changes, pulling out Ernest Wendo and Otieno for Oliver Maloba and Tuyisenge. The two brought in energy in attack.

Mwinyi had another opportunity when Boniface Oluoch’s clearance fell on his path but again, he was not decisive with the final shot and Gor cleared the danger.

Kerr threw in the last dice, bringing in Francis Kahata for George Odhiambo. Kahata had a chance barely five minutes after coming on, blazing a shot just wide from the left.

Ulinzi and Posta fire blanks

In an early kick off, Ulinzi Stars and Posta Rangers fired blanks.

Posta started off better and should have been at least one up in the opening three minutes. Inside the first minute, Jockins Atudo’s point blank header from a John Nairuka freekick was saved by Jacktone Odhiambo.

Two minutes later, the keeper’s attempted pass across to defender Mohammed Hassan was intercepted by Nairuka, but the winger could not score against his former side.

In the second half, Ulinzi’s Cliff Kasuti had two chances and 15 minutes to the final whistle from a counter attack, the 19-year old winger slapped the ball wide with the goalmouth at his mercy after being picked out by Oscar Wamalwa.

Two minutes later, Patrick Matasi spilled Wamalwa’s shot from the left, but Kasuti failed to burry the rebound home.

Elsewhere, national women under-20 football team put themselves on the advantage in the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers when they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Ethiopia in Hawassa.

Skipper Corazon Aquino fired in from the spot to half the deficit in the 86th minute before Maureen Khakasa drove home the equalizer in the second minute of added time. Mirkat Felek and Alamnesh Germew had given Ethiopia a 2-0 half time lead.

The return match has been scheduled for September 29 with the aggregate winner set to face the winner of the match between Algeria and Ghana.

A result as low as a 1-1 or 0-0 draw will be enough to take the junior Starlets to the third round of qualification.

KPL weekend results

Saturday: Kariobangi Sharks 0 Sofapaka 0 (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos).

Sunday: Posta Rangers 0 Ulinzi Stars 0, Gor Mahia 0 Thika United 0 (Thika Sub-County Stadium), AFC Leopards 0 Kakamega Homeboyz 0 (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), Bandari 3 Zoo Kericho 0 (Mbaraki Complex), Chemelil Sugar 2 Nakumatt 0 (Chemelil), Nzoia Sugar 3 Muhoroni Youth 1 (Sudi Stadium), Tusker 1 Mathare United 0 (Ruaraka Complex), Western Stima 1 SoNy Sugar 2 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu).