Teams brace for turnaround fixtures as second leg starts Wednesday

By alex wafula
Aug 01, 2017
  • Western Stima's Oromchan Villa vies for the ball with AFC Leopards' Salim Abdallah. The two teams meet again in Kisumu. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Wednesday will mark the start of the second leg of the 2016 Kenyan Premier League season with teams facing off each other after just four days when the first leg ended.

The highlight of the midweek fixtures will be at the Nyayo Stadium where three of the top four teams face different opponents.

Gor Mahia, under a new coach Dylan Kerr will face Nakumatt FC, a side they beat 2-0 on Sunday evening.

Kerr admitted the league new comers pushed them to the brim despite the Sunday win and has cautioned his players not to expect an easy tie.

“They are a very good team Nakumatt and really, they should be coming for revenge when we play them on Wednesday. They played the Sunday match with so much tenacity and intensity because they wanted to beat us. It will not be different,” the Englishman admitted.

Gor moved to the top of the KPL standings after the Nakumatt win with 31 points, one ahead of second-placed Posta Rangers who play Tusker in an early kick off.

K’Ogalo still have a match at hand. “The expectation when I came here is that I will help Gor Mahia win the league. I have won titles everywhere I and I want to do that as well here. We need to win our games one at a time,” the tactician added.

For the Nakumatt return tie, Kerr will have defender Wellington Ochieng and keeper Boniface Oluoch back. Ochieng was suspended for last weekend’s tie as he had accumulated five yellow cards while Oluoch had been on compassionate leave.

Mwangi cautions Gor

Meanwhile, Anthony Mwangi, the Nakumatt FC coach has cautioned Gor his side will come out with revenge on their minds.

He says it was unfortunate they conceded an early own goal and a late sucker punch due to lapse in concentration. 

In an early kick off, second-placed Posta Rangers face defending champions Tusker. They drew a 1-1 in a reverse fixture last Sunday in Meru.

Boniface Muchiri rescued a point for the holders but George Nsimbe, the Tusker coach wants a better performance this time round.

Having previously rolled up on an eight-match winning streak, Tusker haven’t won in their last four league matches. They have lost  and drawn twice.

“Posta is a very tough team but we had some mistakes that we should have avoided in the first match. We have worked on the weaknesses and hopefully we can have a better performance,” the Ugandan tactician noted.

Omollo, a former Tusker FC title winning player and coach has own ambitions despite Posta Rangers being considered an outside force to the league title. 

Luke Ochieng and keeper Patrick Matasi will be back after serving a one-match suspensions. This could be a timely boost for the coach.

“The two are very experienced and having them back is a huge boost. This time, we want to push for a win because we are entering a very crucial stage of the season,” Omollo, nicknamed Pamzo, affirmed.

Meanwhile, third-placed Ulinzi Stars who were shocked 2-1 by Nzoia Sugar travel to Bungoma to take on the sugar millers again.

Ulinzi to make amends

Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi Stars coach was left fuming by officiating and his side’s failure to convert chances.

The soldiers have won only one of their last five league matches. They have a relatively comforting away record, having won four, drawn three and lost two of their nine away matches this season.

Nzoia is a team looking to scale into the top half of the table and their win over Ulinzi in Nakuru gave them renewed confidence.

But Nzoia’s record at their Sudi turf is far from convincing as they are yet to record a single win infront of their home faithful in eight attempts. They have lost two and picked points in the remaining six.

Bernard Mwalala, the Nzoia boss is looking to get his first win at the expense of the military side.

In Kisumu, AFC Leopards face Western Stima who beat them by a solitary goal on Saturday.

Robert Matano’s charges aim to avoid a second consecutive home and away loss to the powermen.

“We just need to adjust our mentality a bit and we will win. We are playing well but the problem has been the mentality and finishing. Hopefully, we can bounce back and win,” Matano offered.

Stima’s Henry Omino expects a tough encounter against an Ingwe side he said has vastly improved but top on his agenda is another home and away win over the 13-time KPL champions.

KPL midweek fixtures (Kick off 3 p.m. unless specified)

Bandari v SoNy Sugar (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa), Muhoroni Youth v Sofapaka (Muhoroni Complex), Nzoia Sugar v Ulinzi Stars (Sudi), Posta Rangers v Tusker FC (2 p.m.), Nakumatt v Gor Mahia FC (Nyayo Stadium, 4 p.m.), Mathare United v Kakamega Homeboyz (Ruaraka Complex), Thika United v Chemelil Sugar (Thika Sub County Stadium), Western Stima v AFC Leopards (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Zoo Kericho v Kariobangi Sharks (Kericho Green Stadium).