Okwemba stunner restores parity for Sofapaka against Bandari

By alex wafula
May 02, 2017
  • Bandari's Shariff Mohammed clears the ball under pressure from Sofapaka's Dennis Wafula. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Sofapaka's Paul Odhiambo chases down Bandari's Fred Nkata in a KPL match which ended in a 1-1 draw. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Veteran Charles Okwemba scored a stunning 88th minute equalizer as Sofapaka came back from a contentious goal to draw 1-1 at home against Bandari on Monday afternoon.

The visitors had gone ahead just two minutes earlier with Wilberforce Lugogo converting a penalty.

Anthony Wambani appeared to have gone down easily inside the box when tussling for the ball with Sofapaka’s Kennedy Oduor and referee Zachariah Ashira pointed straight to the spot.

There were some murmurs of bias among the crowd with the referee said to be hailing from the Coast region.

While Paul Nkata, the Bandari coach chose not to comment on the penalty, his opposite number at Sofapaka Sam Ssimbwa could not hide his frustration.

“It wasn’t a penalty. Even the Bandari people know it. I am not happy with how the referee has handled the game today. Most of his calls which were against us were questionable,” a furious Ssimbwa said after the game.

The point gained in the match sees them retain a third place with 15 points, one shy of K’Ogalo.

Ssimbwa admitted they never played as well as they should have, but maintains his side should be considered serious title threats if they maintain a top four slot till the second leg.

With a point away from home, Nkata was pleased. For the game against the high flying Batoto ba Mungu Nkata had made changes to his squad.

Veterans Noah Abich, Musa Mudde, Michael Luvutsi and Shabaan Kenga all were not on the starting team with Mudde and Luvutsi both missing out entirely while the  othe rtwo started off the bench.

Nkata explained that he needed to have more pace in the game as well as giving the youngsters an opportunity to shine.

In the absence of Luvutsi and Mudde, Nkata pushed defender Andrew Waisswa into midfield, partnering Wambani.

Bright start

The visitors had a bright start. Danny Sserunkuma had a chance in the sixth minute with a long ball from Wambani finding him inside the box, but he couldn’t get a meaningful touch.

On the other end in the 20th minute, Bandari keeper Wilson Obungu almost paid for failing to clear the ball on time after being dispossessed by Ezekiel Okare.

Defender Felly Mulumba was also caught in a similar situation in the 34th minute but this time keeper Obungu made up for his defender’s error making an important save off a Jaffer Gichuki attempt.

In the second half, Ssimbwa made his second change, pulling out Okare for James Kasibante. The new entrant almost announced his arrival in style with a 56th minute free-kick that flew inches wide with Obungu left rooted to his spot.

Bandari who enjoyed most of the possession playing the ball around with ease came close on the hour mark but Kigonya produced a wonderful reflex save to keep out a Lugogo shot from a tight angle on the right.

As opposed to their hosts who chose to play more direct, Bandari were patient with their build up, spraying passes around and hoping to open up the defense.

They used pace on the wings to attack. It almost paid off in the 65th minute when Siraj Mohammed broke on the left to cut back a cross, but Shabaan Kenga failed to tap home with an empty net.

Both teams shuffled personnel with Jacob Keli coming on for Sserunkuma while Sofapaka brought on Michael Oduor for Paul Odhiambo.

Oduor, five minutes after coming on came closest with a rasping shot from the edge of the box which came against the crossbar.

With the game seemingly headed for a barren draw, Bandari were gifted with a penalty in the 85th minute and Lugogo stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way.

However, parity was to be restored just two minutes later when Okwemba struck a volley from inside the box after Felly Mulumba seemed to have blocked with his arms a free-kick from keeper Kigonya.

KPL weekend results

Saturday: Chemelil Sugar 1 Kariobangi Sharks 1 (Chemelil), Muhoroni Youth 0 Tusker FC 1 (Muhoroni), Nzoia Sugar 1 Sony Sugar 1 (Sudi, Bungoma), Posta Rangers 1 AFC Leopards 1 (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).

Sunday: Gor Mahia 0 Mathare United 1, Thika United 1 Western Stima 1 (Thika Sub-County Stadium), Ulinzi Stars 1 Zoo Kericho 2 (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).

Monday: Nakumatt 0 Kakamega Homeboyz 0 (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), Sofapaka 1 Bandari 1 (Camp Toyoyo).