• Tusker to test Leopards’ resilience

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  • AFC Leopards take on Tusker Saturday in a KPL tie.(Photo:File)AFC Leopards take on Tusker Saturday in a KPL tie.(Photo:File)
Apr 20, 2012-

AFC Leopards’ match against Ulinzi Stars on the fourth weekend of the Kenyan Premier League was teamed as the team’s toughest test at a time Ingwe had just established a foothold on the leadership. Come match day, Leopards beat up the soldiers into submission on their own turf.

2-0 was the scoreline.

The traditional derby against Gor Mahia came two matches later and while, Leopards were expected to give the old enemy a heavy spanking, the ill-tempered match ended scoreless amid crowd trouble.

What followed has been a string of four straight wins for Jan Koops men and by the time the chest-thumping Thika United came around, the confidence level was rocket high.

Thika were made to eat their words as Leopards weathered the storm in another tough match.

So will the reigning champions Tusker succeed where, Ulinzi, Gor and Thika have all failed when they face Leopards this weekend at Mombasa’s Mbaraki Sports Club?

Tusker coach Sammy Omollo believes he has the keys to unlock Leopards’ defence and hand the league leaders their first defeat of the season.

“We have studied Leopards’ style of play and we have worked on a strategy to counter their game plan”, he said.

Omollo’s confidence is buttressed by the superior head-to-head record that his team holds over Ingwe in recent times. Of more significance will be the return of reliable goal-hunter Dennis Mukaisi after a long injury layoff.

But Tusker, who threw away a two-goal lead against Mathare United last weekend, will be up against a Leopards’ side brimming with confidence buoyed a six-point lead at the top of the table.

The brewers will be advised to pay close attention to Allan Wanga who returns from injury. If Tusker beats Leopards, they will not only halt Ingwe’s 10-match unbeaten run this season, but also narrow the gap to a bridgeable four points.

In the day’s other standout match, Gor Mahia, who recently snapped out of an eight-match winless streak, will take the fight to Ulinzi Stars at Afraha Stadium.

Though Ulinzi are currently not in their best form, Afraha Stadium has not been a good hunting ground for K’Ogalo this term.

With the return of skipper Geoffrey Kokoyo, Eric Apul and Evans Amuoka, Ulinzi coach Sammy Simiyu has warned Gor to tread carefully when they visit Nakuru.

In Saturday’s other matches, KCB will host Karuturi Sports at the Nairobi City Stadium in an early kick off, before Mathare entertains Western Stima at the same venue.

Oserian will be at home to Muhoroni Youth, while the free falling Sony Sugar welcomes Rangers at their adopted Gusii Stadium. The sugar millers are without a win in eight matches.

Fixtures Saturday: KCB vs Karuturi Sports (City-1pm), Oserian vs Muhoroni Youth (Oserian-3pm), Mathare United vs Western Stima (City-3pm), Sony Sugar vs Rangers (Gusii-3pm), AFC, Leopards vs Tusker (Mombasa-3pm), Ulinzi Stars vs Gor Mahia (Afraha-3pm) Sunday: City Stars vs Chemelil Sugar (Hope Centre-3pm), Sofapaka vs Thika United (Nyayo-3pm).

Nesta Kizito

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