Posta, Gor tussle for KPL top spot

By alex wafula
May 12, 2017
  • Gor Mahia dislodged Posta Rangers from the top of the KPL table. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Posta Rangers could return to the top spot after the completion of the 11th weekend of the Kenya Premier League.

Currently, Gor Mahia, the 15-time champions are occupying the top spot. K’Ogalo dislodged Posta Rangers from the top spot after the midweek fixtureswhen they beat Chemelil Sugar 2-0 in Thika and the mailmen drew 1-1 away to Muhoroni Youth.

Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo, the Posta Rangers coach has a tricky assignment against Nakumatt in Nakuru on Sunday.

“We played them severally in the National Super League but now the dynamics have changed in the Premier League. I have watched them a few times and I know what they are capable of. It will not be an easy match. They have started gathering good results,” Omollo observed.

He added; “Of course it is our desire to get back to the top, but we must know that the league is a marathon and the only thing we need to do is maintain ourselves within the leading pack.”

Nakumatt have had a rise in form, picking up two draws and a win in their last three matches. Fred Ambani, the Nakumatt assistant coach has conceded it will not be a walk in the park against Posta Rangers, the only unbeaten side in the league this season.

Meanwhile, Gor will be away to a trickytie against Nzoia United. Jose Marcelo Ferreira, K’Ogalo’s head coach has urged his side not to drop their energy despite having picked up form with emphatic wins over Chemelil and AFC Leopards.

“We have to continue this way, not just win the big matches but every game that we play. That is our mentality. It is not easy against Nzoia because we saw what they did with Tusker. I need my players to continue working hard,” Ferreira noted.

Nzoia United will take the match to the bigger Mumias Complex as their Sudi home ground in Bungoma cannot hold the huge numbers of Gor’s 12th man.

Gor wary of Nzoia United's pace

With its smooth surface, the Mumias pitch will give Ferreira and his side a perfect opportunity to display their smooth passing game. But they should be wary of Nzoia United's pace.

The league new comers have already played against AFC Leopards, a side that has huge number of fans, capable of intimidating opponents.

Bernard Mwalala, the Nzoia United coach has said his players who seemed to panic against AFC Leopards learnt how to deal with intimidating crowds and will be okay to face Gor.

Despite a strong start, NzoiaUnited has faded in the last five matches, winning once, drawing thrice and losing once. Mwalala has blamed this on injuries.

The last time they met Gor was last season in the GOtv Shield where they won 1-0 but the dynamics and weight will be different this time against a K’Ogalo side firing on all cylinders.

“I don’t think that will count for anything. It gave us some confidence to show us that we can beat them but I think things are different now. Even their players have changed. It will be a tough tie because they are a team on form,” Mwalala stated.

While Gor will be turning their focus on maintaining an imperious form, AFC Leopards are still licking their wounds after back to back losses.

Ingwe were 1-0 losers in the midweek after going down in the Mashemeji Derby.

“It’s definitely not an ideal situation for us. This is not where we want to be. The next few matches are very important for us. We need to win and ensure we are within range. It really has to do with lack of personnel because we now have to improvise and use players in positions they are not used to,” Stewart Hall, the AFC Leopards coach explained.

AFC Leopards face a tricky Zoo Kericho

Ingwe will be up against a tricky Zoo Kericho side at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. Despite losing in midweek to Tusker FC at their Kericho backyard, Zoo Kericho have picked commendable wins against Ulinzi Stars and Western Stima.

Hall knows it will not be a walk in the park.

The absence of right wingback Dennis Sikhayi has dealt the club a huge blow with Hall being forced to experiment with Andrew Tololwa and Allan Katterega. But he has set his eyes on the June transfer window, hoping to bulk up the squad with new additions.

Among the areas the coach wants to strengthen are right wingback and a left wingback. Western Stima’s Wesley Onguso has been touted as one of the players in Hall’s wish list.

Elsewhere, defending champions Tusker FC will be host SoNy Sugar at their Ruaraka complex.

The alemen have picked up form with four wins on the trot and with confidence sky-high in Ruaraka, coach George Nsimbe expects another three points.

In Nakuru, soldiers Ulinzi Stars host Muhoroni Youth at Afraha Stadium.

Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi coach is optimistic his side will match up their performance in midweek against the sugar millers.

Muhoroni, winless in their last five matches have never beaten Ulinzi in Nakuru. The two sides met early in pre-season with Ulinzi winning 2-0.

KPL Weekend fixtures: (Kick off 3 p.m.)

Saturday: Chemelil Sugar v Sofapaka (Chemelil Complex), Kariobangi Sharks v Bandari (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), Ulinzi Stars v Muhoroni Youth (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru), Western Stima v Mathare United (Moi Stadium, Kisumu).

Sunday: AFC Leopards v Zoo Kericho (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), Nzoia Sugar v Gor Mahia (Mumias Complex), Posta Rangers v Nakumatt (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru), Thika United v Kakamega Homeboyz (Thika Stadium), Tusker FC v SoNy Sugar (Ruaraka Complex).