Ssimbwa left fuming at officiating after loss to Nakumatt

By alex wafula
Jul 02, 2017
  • Sam Ssimbwa, the Sofapaka coach was left with unanswered questions after his team was beaten by Nakumatt. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Ezekiel Okare of Sofapaka and Kennedy Onyango have only one thing on their minds, the ball in the KPL match which Nakumatt won 2-1. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

For the umpteenth time this season, Sam Ssimbwa, the Sofapaka coach was left furious with match officials as his side lost 2-1 to Nakumatt FC at the Ruaraka Complex on Saturday.

Ssimbwa alleged centre referee George Mwai was biased, saying the result would have been different had he been fair.

“If this is how referees behave, then Kenyan football will never grow. If they are betting that certain teams will win, they should tell us. I don’t know why this is happening to us. Is it because we came into the league through the courts,” Ssimbwa posed in reference to the team’s reinstatement into the league by the Sports Disputes Tribunal.

The Ugandan coach pointed out two penalty appeals by his side which he said they were blatantly robbed of by the referee.

Nakumatt battled back from a goal down to win the match courtesy of a brace from Robert Omunuk.

The hugely changed Sofapaka side fresh from beating Gor Mahia 2-0 in their last league assignment were beaming with confidence and it showed from their play.

Despite having nine new players in the starting team, Batoto ba Mungu showed their fluidity bossing possession.

New man Umar Kassumba should have done better with a fourth minute chance, heading a cross from Onguso just over from the right.

Nakumatt created the first chance of the game in the 11th minute when Peter Nzuki’s ferocious shot after being set up by Kepha Aswani was well saved by full-stretched Mathias Kigonya.

Sofapaka made their early dominance pay off in the 15th minute when Ezekiel Okare leaped highest inside the box to nod in a long throw from Wesley Onguso.

The goal eased Sofapaka into more command as they passed the ball well, but always looked vulnerable at the back with a completely new back-four.

Weakness at the back

It was that weakness at the back that Nakumatt utilized to get the equalizer four minutes to half time.

The overlapping Nicholas Mejja laid up a cross from the right which keeper Kigonya weakly punched into the path of Omunuk, put under pressure by his own defenders.

The unmarked Ugandan simply tapped into the net as Kigonya and his defenders looked at each other.

The hosts almost grabbed a second two minutes later when Aswani’s header rattled the crossbar from an Omunuk corner.

The half time whistle couldn’t come at a better time for Sofapaka who suddenly looked vulnerable after conceding.

In the second half, they came back rejuvenated and within the first two minutes had the ball inside the net. But the officials blew the whistle for an offside.

After keeper Sammy Okinda spilled a freekick from Rodgers Aloro, Feni Ali rushed in for the rebound, but the assistant referee already had his flag up.

Ali once again popped up with a ferocious shot from distance in the 57th minute but it went wide.

Ssimbwa made his first change in the 65th minute, taking off off Wesley Onguso for Kennedy Oduor while Mohammed Kilume came on for Okare.

The changes saw Aloro move to left back while Oduor slotted straight into central defense. Ssimbwa was bolted into the change with Onguso being continually exploited by the Nakumatt wingers.

The sucker punch came in with 15 minutes left when Omunuk capitalized on another lapse in defense, simply tapping the ball home from another Mejja cross.

Ssimbwa immediately made another attacking change, bringing in Meshack Karani for Ali.

Karani was at the heart of three open chances for Sofapaka. In the 80th minute he sidestepped away from his marker on the left before laying in a low cross but no one was available to tap home with a gaping goalmouth.

He then had two freekicks, one from 30 yards out drifting inches wide off goal. His second was from an indirect freekick after keeper Okinda had stayed with the ball for more than six seconds,

His effort however rose above the bar by a whisker.

Sharks maul Leopards

Elsewhere in Nakuru, second half goals from Ebrimah Sanneh and Mathew Tayo gave Kariobangi Sharks a 2-0 win over AFC Leopards.

This was the ninth match that Ingwe has failed to win. Gambian striker Sanneh opened up his Sharks account with an easy tap in from close range after picking out a pass from Tayo.

Tayo almost grabbed the second three minutes later when he cut inside, but his shot was too weak, Ian Otieno collecting.

Kariobangi Sharks continued to scavenge at the AFC Leopards' goal in search of a second and Ian Otieno was forced to quickly react and pick the ball after initially spilling it from a stinging freekick by Ovellah Ochieng.

They finally got the much needed second pressure relieving goal when Tayo’s freekick was deflected off the wall.

Elsewhere, KPL and Football Kenya Federation will on Tuesday unveil a six-month broadcast deal with Radio Africa Group under their brand Bamba Sport to broadcast Kenyan Premier League matches.

The deal is worth Sh.36 million. The league has been off air since March when South African company SuperSport terminated their contract with the league managers.

KPL say they are working on a PayTV partner to be unveiled probably next year with Bamba taking over the Free To Air rights.

“It is a good thing that we finally have the games back on TV. Sponsors of the league and individual clubs will now feel better value for their money and players will also be exposed once again.

Hopefully next year, we will have an international partner. We have brought on board a marketing firm to help us package the deal well,” KPL CEO Jack Oguda told Sports News Arena.

KPL weekend results and fixtures (All games kick off 3 p.m.)

Saturday: AFC Leopards 0 Kariobangi Sharks 2 (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru), Nakumatt 2 Sofapaka 1 (Ruaraka Complex), Nzoia Sugar 0 Thika United 0 (Sudi Stadium), Western Stima 1 Muhoroni 2 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu).

Sunday: Gor Mahia v Ulinzi Stars (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Posta Rangers v Chemelil Sugar (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru), Sony Sugar v Kakamega Homeboyz (Awendo), Tusker FC v Bandari (Kinoru Stadium, meru), Zoo Kericho v Mathare United (Kericho Green Stadium).