Tusker FC, the Kenyan Premier League defending champions take on soldiers Ulinzi Stars at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Saturday in one of the highlight matches over the Easter weekend.
The alemen have collected four points from their last two matches, winning 1-0 against Chemelil Sugar and drawing 1-1 with Sofapaka last weekend.
They will be up against Ulinzi who have not lost. Unlinzi have seven points after playing three matches.
George Nsimbe, the Tusker FC coach is confident the side has gathered considerable momentum to pick their second victory of the season.
“Ulinzi is a tough team and knowing they have not lost this season says much about them. We don’t expect it to be a walk in the park but looking at how our confidence has risen, we will be able to get a good result,” Nsimbe noted.
Tusker beat Ulinzi twice last season and lost once. Ulinzi beat them 2-0 in the first leg in Machakos before bouncing back to win 2-1 in the second leg in Nakuru. Tusker also beat the military side 1-0 in the GOtv Shield final.
The soldiers are confident ahead of the fixture and coach Benjamin Nyangweso is optimistic of picking his third win of the season.
“We have grown from strength to strength if you look at our past three matches. We scored two goals last weekend against Bandari and that was encouraging because we were struggling with scoring. Hopefully this weekend we do the same, if not better,” Nyangweso said.
Situma serving suspension
Tusker will miss the services of defender James Situma who is serving a one match suspension after his red card in last weekend’s draw with Sofapaka.
Ulinzi will be without the injured Mohammed Hassan while left back Omar Mbongi is unavailable for the next three months as he is out on a military course.
Meanwhile, AFC Leopards will travel to Mombasa where they will host Muhoroni Youth.
The club has decided to fly the team to the Coast especially after a tough outing last week where they played three matches within a week in Machakos and Kisumu.
They lost 2-0 to their bogey team Chemelil Sugar but Stewart Hall, the Ingwe coach has attributed the same to fatigue.
“We were a bit flat out especially in the second half. We have tried to work on the recovery of the players. That is the biggest challenge. I am glad we are flying because we are taking only an hour as compared to nine on the road,” Hall said.
Mungai Kiongera is still unavailable with a knee injury. Dennis Sikhayi will be out for six weeks. The wingback who has been a regular since joining the club from Western Stima broke his metatarsal in last weekend’s loss at Chemelil.
Muhoroni return to Mombasa
Muhoroni return to Mombasa just two weeks after a 3-0 loss to Bandari at the same venue.
Assistant coach James Omondi is upbeat the side who lie 15th on the standings.
Elsewhere, record champions Gor Mahia will be at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu to face Sony Sugar.
Gor has not lost to the sugar millers over the last six meetings while overall since 2009, Sony has beaten K’Ogalo only once. Salim Babu, the Sony coach is determined to write off the poor history.
“I know they are a strong team, but we are a quality side as well. I have watched them, I know their strengths and weaknesses and if we can stick to our game plan, we are capable of causing an upset,” the tactician said.
Gor bounced back with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Kakamega Homeboyz last weekend. They return to a venue where they lost their first match of the season, a 2-1 result in favor of Western Stima.
Coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira admits it will be a tough call against Sony.
“They are a tough team and always, anyone who plays against us puts in extra. We will try our best because our objectives are clear this season. We have one trophy already and we are playing for three more,” the Brazilian coach said.
KPL weekend fixtures
Saturday: Sony Sugar v Gor Mahia (Moi Stadium, Kisumu – 3 p.m.), Tusker FC v Ulinzi Stars (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru 3 p.m.).
Sunday: Bandari v Thika United (2 p.m.), AFC Leopards v Muhoroni Youth (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa – 4:15 p.m.), Kakamega Homeboyz v Nzoia Sugar (Mumias Complex 3 p.m.), Western Stima v Chemelil Sugar (Moi Stadium, Kisumu - 3 p.m.), Zoo Kericho v Sofapaka (Kericho Green Stadium - 3 p.m.).
Monday: Kariobangi Sharks v Nakumatt FC (2 p.m.), Mathare United v Posta Rangers (Thika Sub-County Stadium – 4:15 p.m.).