Ze Maria's first test against Kakamega Homeboyz

By alex wafula
Apr 01, 2016
  • Gor Mahia Jose Marcelo Ferreira has a new philosophy which comes to test in his first match against Kakamega Homeboyz in Mumias. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Winless in the first five matches of the season, Gor Mahia, the SportPesa-sponsored Kenyan Premier League defending champions travel to Mumias to take on Kakamega Homeboyz on Saturday.

Brazilian coach Jose Marcello Ferreira, alias Ze Maria will be taking charge of the team competitively for the first time.  Compared to Homeboyz who were involved in the midweek fixtures, losing 2-1 to AFC Leopards in Nairobi, Gor did not have a match on Wednesday.

Ferreira says the two-week break has been of essence to his side as he sought to stamp his philosophy and is pleased with how it has fared. “The team has worked hard to cope with the new philosophy and I like the way they are hungry to get success and showing a lot of zeal in training,” the Brazilian said.

He will be boosted by the return to fitness of Rwandese striker Jacques Tuyisenge who has not been able to make his eagerly awaited debut for K’Ogalo due to injury since he arrived in late January.

The striker who skippered Rwanda to the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Ethiopia and the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Rwanda says he is ready to help Gor get their groove back.

“I feel I am ready to play having trained very well and played in several friendly matches. I know the expectations on me and I want to work hard to make the Gor fans happy and the management which has been patient with me,” Tuyisenge said.

The defending champions are 10 points behind leaders AFC Leopards who are yet to lose this season and will host a tricky Nairobi City Stars side who shocked another unbeaten side, Mathare United, 2-0 on Wednesday evening.

Despite having a better head to head record over the past six years, Leopards have always found it tough against the Kawangware-based side.

City Stars have vowed to add Leopards into their list of casualties and remain optimistic they will be the first to inflict loss on them. “It is a tough match definitely, but I believe the way we have started this season shows how much we have grown. We have been playing well, improving game by game and we are ready for Leopards on Sunday,” Dennis Okoth, the club assistant coach said.

Nandwa debuts at Thiika United

Elsewhere, James Nandwa will be taking on his first match in charge since being handed the reins at Thika United. The latter will be at home against Posta Rangers and Nandwa is upbeat his side who are yet to win a match this season will be ready for the tough duel.

“First of all I am really glad that I arrived at the team during the international break and we have had two weeks of good preparation. We have played three friendly matches and from there I believe I have shaped the side well and sealed the few loopholes that were there. It won’t be an easy match against Posta but looking at how the boys are, I am optimistic we will come up with something,” Nandwa predicted.

He admitted he had a lot to do during the two-week break and the biggest issue he had to work on was the confidence of the team which currently sits second from bottom with two points.

At the Machakos Stadium, second-placed Tusker FC will be up against third-placed Bandari FC in a tough battle. Paul Nkata’s men have lost only once, winning four and drawing once.

The dockers will not be an easy opponent. Twahir Muhiddin will be keen to pick his side after dropping points at home on Wednesday in a one-all draw with Ulinzi Stars. “It won’t be an easy match because Tusker is one of the toughest teams in the league. We need to win and I believe the only thing we will work on within the next two days will be on finishing,” Muhiddin said.

Before the cracker, struggling Sofapaka host Chemelil Sugar in the early kick off. Batoto ba Mungu are 14th on the log, only one point above the drop zone. Since their opening day 3-1 win over Ushuru FC, David Ouma’s charges have lost five on the trot.

KPL Weekend fixtures

Saturday: Sofapaka v Chemelil Sugar, Tusker FC v Bandari (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), Thika United v Posta Rangers FC (Thika Municipal Stadium), Kakamega Homeboyz v Gor Mahia (Mumias), Sony Sugar v Western Stima (Awendo) Sunday: Ushuru FC v Mathare United, AFC Leopards v City Stars (Nyayo) Monday: Ulinzi Stars v Muhoroni Youth (AFraha Stadium, Nakuru).