Western Stima holds Ulinzi Stars at Afraha

By alex wafula
Apr 19, 2017
  • Ulinzi Stars midfielder Daniel Waweru controls the ball under pressure from Western Stima's Jackson Saleh. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Western Stima defender Wycliffe Nyangechi clears the ball away from Ulinzi Stars' Oliver Rutto. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Marcello Ferreira was named coach of the month. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Visiting Western Stima picked up a point in a 1-1 draw against Ulinzi Stars at the Afraha Stadium on Wednesday.

The powermen had gone ahead through former KCB striker Raymond Murugi, but Ulinzi’s Stephen Waruru equalized within two minutes.

The soldiers will rue wasted opportunities two which came off the bar. The result sees them move to sixth with nine points.

“This is a game we should have won. It is a concern that for the second game running, we have failed to use our chances and dropped four vital points,” Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi coach said after the game.

Stima’s Henry Omino was happy saying his side has hugely improved after starting the season on a lull.

He admitted they are struggling to fill the void left by Kenneth Muguna, Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia), Dennis Sikhayi and Gabriel Andika (AFC Leopards) who left at the end of the season.

“If we would have lost today, then I would have been more worried. But with this performance, I am convinced that we are on the right path,” Omino told Sports News Arena.

A fast-paced start to the match saw Western Stima create the first opportunity with a shot from the edge of the box by Brian Marita which went wide.

Ball came off the post

Ulinzi responded on the other end and were almost gifted when a cross from Samuel Onyango deflected off Jackson Saleh, but the ball came off the post.

The home side was forced into a fourth minute substitution when defender Ben Sande limped off with a thigh strain. He was replaced by Alex Masinde.

This was his debut after being promoted from the under-20 team.

The injury to Sande will pose more worry for Nyangweso who already has Hassan Mohammed recuperating from a shoulder injury. The youngster put in a good effort winning balls off the ground, but struggled with aerial duels.

The hosts continued piling on pressure and in the 19th minute, poor awareness inside the box saw them lose a golden chance.

Right back Brian Birgen took on a run from deep his half, cut into the edge of the box taking a left footed shot which was spilled by the keeper. But, none of the three Ulinzi players in the box could slot home the rebound.

Western Stima also put in a good shift with Brian Marita being the liveliest with his flashy runs on the wings.

They raided the Ulinzi rear constantly, but the defense led by Geoffrey Kokoyo was at ease to thwart any danger.

Western Stima got the lead off the counter when a cleared corner by Ulinzi was humped upfield for Murugi who beat James Saruni one on one to break the deadlock.

The celebrations only lasted two minutes as Waruru hit the equalizer after following up his initial header which came off the post.

In the second half, it was the visitors who showed more hunger and Moses Arita should have done better in the 51st minute with a free header from a Marita cross, but headed wide.

Ulinzi had three great chances late on. First, Waruru’s header from a corner was deflected onto the upright while keeper Samuel Otieno twice made full stretched saves to deny Daniel Waweru and Oliver Rutto from freekicks.

Coach of the month

Meanwhile, Jose Marcelo Ferreira, the Gor Mahia coach was named the March coach of the month by the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK).

The Brazilian led Gor to an unscathed run in the opening month of the league, winning both their matches against Kariobangi Sharks and Nakumatt.

“I am happy to be awarded but this was because of the effort of the players. They made it possible and I want to dedicate it to them,” the Brazilian offered after being handed his trophy and Sh50,000 cheque.