Ulinzi break Sofapaka’s winning streak

By alex wafula
Sep 14, 2021
  • Zoo Kericho's Selemba Mangili vies for the ball with Tusker's Hashim Sempaala. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Ulinzi Stars overcame a fatigue which saw them play six matches in two weeks to end Sofapaka’s perfect run in the Kenya Premier League was by winning 2-1 on Wednesday at the Kericho Stadium.

Batoto ba Mungu had been on a run of four wins in five games but they fell short against the military side who got three vital points.

Youngster Cliff Kasuti and winger Samuel Onyango scored in the second half to give Ulinzi a 2-0 lead.

Umaru Kassumba grabbed one back for Sofapaka, his 11th goal of the season to give a nervous ending to the match.

“It was a very tough match but I am pleased we could get a win. We are still piling pressure on the top to see if anything will happen,” Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi Stars coach said.

In Nairobi, defending champions Tusker FC bounced back to winning ways with a nerve calming 2-1 win over Zoo Kericho at the Ruaraka Complex. The win moves Tusker to seventh on the log, 11 points behind leaders Gor.

George Nsimbe, the Tusker FC coach still believes the brewers have what it takes to challenge for the title, despite the difference with the top teams.

“It is a marathon and we cannot give up until it is over. We will continue working hard and hope this result gives us a new turning point. We are now scoring which was a problem and hopefully for the remaining 11 games, we get things right,” Nsimbe noted.

Owusu intervention

It took the intervention of second half substitute Stephen Owusu to help them back to winning ways after Danson Chetambe had drawn Zoo Kericho level. Humphrey Mieno had broken the deadlock in the 52nd minute.

With nine minutes remaining on the clock, the Ghanaian forward who had come on for Martin Kiiza tapped in at the far post after racing through to a Mike Khamati low shot. Tusker had gone full offensive for the final 15 minutes of the game. 

Zoo Kericho started the match at pace and dominated early proceedings. Their pace on either wing from Nicholas Kipkurui and Mike Madoya was a handful for the Tusker backline.

Isaac Kipyegon had the first shot on target with a curling freekick from distance which was collected by Tusker keeper David Okello.

Kipkurui should have converted on the half hour mark when he raced to the near post to connect to a Stanslus Akiya low cross, but his touch was inches off target.

Tusker’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes came through Boniface Muchiri whose shot from distance but the Zoo Kericho keeper turned it behind for a corner.

On the other end, Tusker’s Okello pulled off a brilliant one handed save to parry away a venomous volley from Madoya inside the box after he had dummied past two defenders.

In the second half, Tusker came back better organized and played with more intent.

Seven minutes after the restart, Humphrey Mieno put them ahead after breaking the offside trap to pick out a Muchiri pass before calmly slotting past Zoo Kericho shot stopper Samuel Koko.

Tusker came close

Tusker came close to a second three minutes later but Koko backtracked to tip over a swirling freekick from Eugene Asike. Tusker couldn’t hold on to the lead for long as Chetambe lifted the ball over an advancing Okello in the Tusker goal from a Kipkurui pass.

Three Tusker players; Asike, Collins Shivachi and Mieno tried to tap the ball away before crossing the line, but the die was already cast.

A lapse in concentration however saw them go down again. Khamati broke the offside trap on the right from a Hashim Ssempala through ball and squared in for Owusu to tap home.

In the early kick off, Posta Rangers’ poor run in the second leg continued, going for a sixth consecutive match without a win after being held to a 0-0 draw by bottom side Muhoroni Youth.

Sammy Omollo, the Posta Rangers boss was disappointed with the result especially with his strikers failing to score.

“We were better compared to last weekend but we just can’t score. It is a concern Today we tried to change the formation abit. It worked for some minutes but then went off. We will work on that over the coming days and hopefully we can get it right,” Omollo noted.

Meanwhile, his opposite number James Omondi is confident his boys will not suffer from the relegation axe despite being six points off safety.

“I have 11 matches remaining. If I can manage just five wins off those, then I will be safe. I am not at all worried that this team will be relegated. I know we are facing tough times financially but I have talked to these boys and told them they should play for their futures. They are young and have listened,” Omondi said.

Changes at Western Stima

This comes even as another bottom side Western Stima made changes in their technical bench, hiring Ugandan coach Richard Makumi as their new boss.

Former coach Henry Omino has been elevated to the position of Technical Director.

Speaking to Sports News Arena, Stima chairman Laban Jobita admitted he was under pressure from the team’s board to make changes after a spate of poor results.

“I didn’t have much of a choice because the board wants to see results. The new coach takes charge from this weekend and hopefully he brings in some spate of good luck because that is what we have been missing,” Jobita noted.

Stima pdrew 0-0 with Kakamega Homeboyz in Kisumu, a match that Makumi watched from the stands.

“I am confident we can survive because the gap between us and the rest of the teams is small. We have to work harder because I think we have been playing very good football,” added Jobita.

At the same time, the team has parted ways with assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo who joined them mid-season from Agro-Chemical.

Elsewhere, Mathare United’s race to get off the drop zone suffered a major hit with a 3-0 loss at the hands of Kariobangi Sharks.

It was a case of the apprentice outwitting the master as William Muluya, the Sharks coach is a prodigy of Mathare coach Francis Kimanzi.

Duke Abuya came back to haunt his former employers scoring the opener with Ovella Ochieng and Massoud Juma adding two more. 

KPL midweek results

Western Stima 0 Kakamega Homeboyz 0 (Moi Stadium Kisumu), Mathare United 0 Kariobangi Sharks 3 (Narok), Nzoia Sugar 3 Bandari 0 (Sudi, Bungoma), Thika United 2 Nakumatt 2 (Thika), Posta Rangers 0 Muhoroni Youth 0, Tusker FC 2 Zoo Kericho 1 (Ruaraka Complex), AFC Leopards 0 SoNy Sugar 1 (2 p.m.), Ulinzi Stars 2 Sofapaka 1 (Kericho Stadium).

Thursday: Gor Mahia v Chemelil Sugar (Moi Stadium)