Tusker host resurgent Western Stima in a 'tricky' tie

By alex wafula
Aug 04, 2017
  • Tusker Martin Kiiza beats Hashim Sempala during a practice session. They will be at home to Western Stima in a 'tricky' tie. (SNA. File Photo)

Tusker FC, the Kenyan Premier League defending champions have not won a match in their last five assignments.

The poor run comes hot on the heels of an eight-match winning streak and the sudden slump in form is causing all sorts of unease for Ugandan coach George Nsimbe.

As a result of the winless streak, Tusker have dropped to fourth on the log, drifting five points away from log leaders Gor Mahia.

Their 1-0 loss to Posta Rangers on Wednesday was their third in five games and Nsimbe urged for an immediate response.

“We are in contention to defend our title and to do that we need to win games. It is quite unfortunate that we have not been getting results. The problem has been that we are not scoring goals because we play very well,” a dejected Nsimbe said.

He leads his side against Western Stima on Sunday, a team that handed them one of their three losses.

“It is a tricky match. They beat us in the first leg in Kisumu but now we are playing at home we should win. It is important for us because of our mental strength. We need to get back up psychologically,” the tactician offered.

Henry Omino’s men have been on a surge of moving up the relegation zone and have picked seven out of a possible nine points in their last three matches.

The tactician has credited the rise in the second leg to a new squad which he says has been more disciplined hence the results. He attributed the poor performance in the first leg to an uncooperative team which were indisciplined.

Stabilize the team

Western Stima brought 13 new players in mid-season to stabilize the team. Having crawled up to 15th on the standings, Omino banks on another three points to catapult them into the top 10.

“We have won twice against big teams, Tusker and AFC leopards. The motivation of the team is up there and it will be such joy when we get another win over Tusker,” Omino noted.

If they beat Tusker in Meru on Sunday, it will be the first time the powermen are completing a double over the brewers.

The win in Kisumu last month was only the second ever against the 11-time champions who have been dominant with 13 wins in 17 matches played.

Meanwhile, leaders Gor Mahia will be in Kisumu taking on Muhoroni Youth, a side that has beaten them only once in 10 attempts.

Dylan Kerr, the Gor Mahia boss hopes for an improved performance from his side especially in attack. Kerr has openly complained that his side is not translating their work on the training ground to the pitch especially in attack.

‘We have to bury chances because we get a team they have one chance, score and its done. We can’t really be putting ourselves in such danger,” the coach noted.

He was on the pitch last weekend to watch Muhoroni play Sofapaka at Nyayo Stadium and admitted they will not be an easy opponent.

“They are very organized and play the ball around very well. It is not a team that we can afford to underrate despite their position on the table. The same intensity we have had since I came in is the same we should employ,” Kerr noted.

Muhoroni is placed bottom of the log and have won only three matches this season. Two of those wins have been at home while one was away.

Coach Gilbert Selebwa who hopes to see the team finish in the top eight positions knows it will not be business as usual against Gor, but has tipped his side to give a fight.

Tricky tie

Meanwhile, second-placed Posta Rangers will face a tricky tie away to Bungoma against Nzoia Sugar at the Sudi Stadium.

Posta are only a point behind leaders Gor and coach Sammy Omollo wants to capitalize on any slip up by K’Ogalo. But they face a side that is on a resurgence having won back to back matches against title contenders Ulinzi Stars.

Wednesday’s 1-0 result against the soldiers in Bungoma was also Nzoia’s first win at home this season.

“Very tricky match because we know Nzoia from the time we played against them in the NSL. Tough team, a game away from home and we need to be tactically prepared for a difficult game. We know we are among the teams fighting for the title and so every three points is hugely important,” Omollo said looking ahead to the tie.

Third-placed Ulinzi Stars still seething from the back to back defeats against Nzoia face Nakumatt at their Afraha Stadium backyard.

Ulinzi beat Nakumatt 2-1 in the first leg three weeks ago and Nyangweso hopes they can complete the home-and-away route, taking them back to title contention.

Nakumatt are also looking to bounce back after three defeats in a row and coach Anthony Mwangi has demanded a response from his charges.

“Ulinzi is a tough team but we have ambitions of getting into the top 10. That means we really have to bounce back. I think we have been playing well, but there’s some element of luck that has evaded us. Hopefully this time we get it right,” Mwangi noted.

KPL Weekend fixtures (kick off 3 p.m. unless stated)

Saturday: Gor Mahia v Muhoroni Youth (Moi Stadium Kisumu), Kakamega Homeboyz v Kariobangi Sharks (Mumias Complex), Ulinzi Stars v Nakumatt FC (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).

Sunday: Sofapaka v Thika United (2 p.m.), AFC Leopards v Bandari (4 p.m. Afraha Stadium, Nakuru), Chemelil Sugar v Zoo Kericho (Chemelil Complex), Nzoia Sugar v Posta Rangers (Sudi Stadium, Bungoma), SoNy Sugar v Mathare United (Awendo Stadium), Tusker FC v Western Stima (Kinoru Stadium, Meru).