Unbeaten Posta Rangers roam Nakuru to stalk Ulinzi Stars

By alex wafula
May 18, 2017
  • Posta Rangers coaches George Maina Sammy Omollo and Lawrence Webo will be in Nakuru to stake their unbeaten record against Ulinzi Stars. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Placed second and third on the Kenyan Premier League standings, Posta Rangers and four-time champions Ulinzi Stars will clash at the Afraha Stadium on Sunday, in a potentially explosive fixture.

Posta Rangers remain the only unbeaten side in the league this season after 11 rounds. The Sammy Omollo-coached side has won six of their fixtures, drawing the remaining five.

They come up against an army side which has also started the season on a roll, winning six as well, but lost two with the other three being draws.

Omollo, the Posta Rangers boss knows of the expectation in the tie, but remains confident his team can guard their unbeaten record.

“Last season, we won the first leg and drew the second leg so I believe we can pick up from there. Ulinzi is a tough team which has been together for long because they don’t lose players. They are compact and have a very good coach. We are not expecting it easy,” Omollo said.

The tactician is fresh from receiving a coach of the month Award having been picked as best in the month of April by the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya.

The confidence he showed while holding the winner’s plaque was immense and he is confident he can keep the run going.

Poor scoring record

Worrying though for the mailmen is their poor scoring record. All their six wins have come in identical 1-0 forms while overall, they have scored nine times.

“I don’t see it as a problem much because as long as we can guard the lead, then it is okay. But again, it is dangerous because you have to be very cautious. We should be able to add up the goals because I have seen even from training that my strikers are scoring more,” Omollo noted.

It will be a duel between the league’s meanest defense and the sharpest attack. While Posta Rangers have conceded only three goals in 11 games, Ulinzi have been in free firing form at the other end, scoring 17 in 11.

It is a contrasting stat for the Lanet-based side who in the previous years have been the team with the meanest defense and not an attack as sharp.

A huge reason behind their scoring form is the return of 2012 golden boot winner Stephen Waruru. In the eight games he has played, the pint-sized attacker has hit the back of the net six times.

Another influence in their attack is Daniel Waweru. The former Kakamega Homeboyz and Muhoroni Youth midfielder has been directly involved in nine goals for the soldiers, assisting six and scoring three.

Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi tactician is urging his charges to keep the form rolling, having won all three of their last five matches.

“Posta is not a team we can take lightly. We have learnt our lessons though especially with the losses against Zoo and Homeboyz. We want to remain on top their so we have to win especially being at home,” Nyangweso noted.

Prior to the 0-1 loss last season, Ulinzi had never lost to Posta Rangers, having beaten them four times before. A win for Ulinzi will take them to within a point of the leaders Gor Mahia who will be playing Thika United in Nairobi.

Bottom of the log

Gor have been on form as well and they will be meeting a Thika side which has struggled and are currently bottom of the log.

They replaced their head coach James Nandwa, elevating him to the position of technical director while Nicholas Muyoti who was his assistant took over as boss.

Muyoti started his reign with a 0-0 draw at home to Kakamega Homeboyz last weekend.

Despite meeting what on paper looks a weak side, K’Ogalo are not taking it easy.

“It is these sides you don’t expect to beat you that do. We can’t afford to relax and we need to go there and do our best. We know there is so much pressure from the teams below us and to avoid being sucked in, we have to win,” skipper Musa Mohammed noted.

Gor will know a thing or two about being complacent, having lost against Western Stima and Mathare United, teams that were struggling for form as well.

Speaking about struggling, AFC Leopards will be home away from home in Mumias, taking on Kakamega Homeboyz after going for five matches without victory.

Stewart Hall’s men have been limping and this week, the airwaves have been filled with rumor of the Briton walking away from the den but the same has been quashed.

The pressure seemingly has built on his shoulder with the erstwhile media friendly coach evading the fourth estate, including after last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Zoo Kericho.

Confidence of a bounce back is not far from his horizon though with right wingback Dennis Sikhayi having returned from a six week injury lay off.

Sunrise days of the season

The return of the former Western Stima man will be a huge reprieve and the coach might revert to his 3-5-2 system, one that brought lots of success in the sunrise days of the season.

“It has been tough for us, but we hope we can get something off this match. We have been doing everything okay and it is frustrating we have not been winning,” striker Mungai Kiongera told Sports News Arena.

Meanwhile, defending champions Tusker FC, on a run of five wins in a row will be tackling a struggling Mathare United at the Ruaraka Complex.

Mathare, 15th on the log and separated from the relegation zone on goal difference have not won since beating Gor Mahia at the end of last month.

Francis Kimanzi, the Mathare United coach will be coming up against his former employers.

Historically, it has been a see-saw affair between the two sides. In 16 meetings since 2009, Tusker have won five, Mathare four while the rest have been draws.

KPL Weekend Fixtures, (Kick off 3 p.m.)

Saturday: Kakamega Homeboyz v AFC Leopards (Mumias), Mathare United v Tusker FC (Ruaraka Complex), Muhoroni Youth v Nzoia (Muhoroni), Sofapaka v Kariobangi Sharks (Narok Stadium), Zoo Kericho v Bandari (Kericho Green Stadium).

Sunday: Gor Mahia v Thika United (Nyayo Stadium), Nakumatt v Chemelil Sugar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), SoNy Sugar v Western Stima (Awendo Stadium), Ulinzi Stars v Sofapaka (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).