Stima eye return of KPL table

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Apr 10, 2015
  • Wesley Kemboi will be one of the key players missing from the Western Stima side. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

After topping the standings for 72 hours and relinquishing the king’s throne to defending champions Gor Mahia on Wednesday, Western Stima will be aiming scale the same height.

They have to wait for 24 hours when they host Thika United at the Kisumu Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Western Stima are currently placed second with 12 points, same as leaders Gor who have a better goal difference and a game in hand.

A win for Western Stima against Thika United will see them rise to 15 points. If Gor drop points against Leopards on Sunday, then they stay top at least until Wednesday.

Coach Henry Omino is confident his boys have what it takes to get back to the top saying; “The morale of the players is high because we have started the season well and want to go back to the top. This season, our target is remaining within the top five slots and winning against Thika will be very crucial.”

But, the coach is wary of a Thika side which is slowly gaining confidence after on a low. “Thika love playing around with the ball and they are a dangerous attacking side. This week, we have been training on pressing because the only way we can be able to beat them is if we deny them possession. I am optimistic we can do it and get the three points at home,” Omino added.

Western Stima will miss the services of goalkeeper Kevin Odhiambo, striker Wesley Kemboi and midfielder Vitalis Akumu but welcome back goalkeeper Gabriel Andika who missed the team’s last match against Sofapaka due to family issues.

In his absence, Odhiambo wore the number one gloves but picked up a shoulder injury while Kemboi is battling a groin injury and Akumu a knock on his shin. Western Stima have had a blistering start to the season, winning four out of five opening matches and Omino has attributed this to discipline.

“I have a very good crop of players who are disciplined, hard working and ready to learn. They have grasped my philosophy and are always hungry to perform.” Omino has only lost to Ulinzi Stars and the military side will be hoping to breathe the same form they had beating the power men when they visit Nairobi for a match with Ken Kenyatta’s Ushuru.

Matano keen on maximum points

Fourth-placed Ulinzi will move to third with a win over Ushuru and Robert Matano who has steered his side to back-to-back victories will have nothing else on his mind other than maximum points.

Ulinzi will miss the services of winger Ezekiel Otuoma who is battling with a bout of malaria  will be boosted with the return of Evans Amwoka who had been away to attend to a career progression course at the Kenya Navy in Mombasa.

Ushuru who are placed 13th have won only one match this season, against Tusker and  hope to silence another big gun when they play four-time champions Ulinzi.

In the earlier fixtures, impressive Mathare United come up against a KCB side still struggling to pick up their feet after their only win in the league, a 6-2 victory over Nakuru All Stars. KCB are 14th and have lost three successive matches. Elvis Ayany the stand-in-coach will be hoping to salvage even a point against Mathare United.

In Mombasa, third-placed Bandari will be at home against Sony Sugar. Bandari  are still sour after losing to Ulinzi on Monday. Twahir Muhiddin hopes his charges can bounce back to winning ways against a Sony side also licking its wounds with a shock 0-1 loss to Nakuru All Stars.

“We will want to bounce back because we cannot afford losing two matches back to back. We know Sony is a good side but we would want to pick up the points at home. Our target is the top eight this season and if we have to achieve that, then we need to make sure we sit in that bracket for most parts of the season,” Muhiddin noted.

KPL Saturday Fixtures: Chemelil v Nairobi City Stars (Chemelil), Mathare United v KCB (Nyayo), Muhoroni Youth v Tusker (Muhoroni), Western Stima v Thika United (Kisumu), Bandari v Sony Sugar (Mombasa Municipal), Ushuru v Ulinzi Stars (Nyayo)