• Will Leopards maintain the tempo?

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  • AFC Leopards will be away to Thika United this weekend.(Photo:File)AFC Leopards will be away to Thika United this weekend.(Photo:File)
Apr 13, 2012-

A raft of sanctions imposed on GorMahia players by new coach, Zdravko Logarusic, and the firing of Rangers head coach, Ezekiel Akwana, were the major talking points off the pitch this week.

But when action resumes in the Kenyan Premier League this weekend, AFC Leopards are expected to hog all the headlines, as they seek to sustain their vice-like grip on the league leadership.

Leopards’ match against Thika United at the latter’s home ground will the highlight fixture of the four matches lined up for Saturday.

Last weekend, Jan Koops’ men were ruthless in their 6-2 rout of Rangers at a rain lashed Mumias Sports Complex to stay ahead of the pack with 23 points from 9 matches.

Ingwe’s near perfect run has seen them only drop points two matches – identical barren draws against Chemelil Sugar and Gor Mahia.

But in Thika they will come up against a side riding on the crest of an eight-match unbeaten run.

Thika lie 5th on the log with 14 points. While Thika coach, John Irungu, acknowledges Leopards’ great form, he believes his side has the capacity to ensnare and tame the felines.

“We respect Leopards, but we will take the fight to them. We have done well in our past matches and we are not about to drop our guard”, Irungu said. However, if Leopards avoid defeat in Thika, their stay at the top of the table will be guaranteed irrespective of whatever happens in the other matches this weekend.

At City Stadium, all eyes will be on James Nandwa, who will face his former employers Karuturi Sports when he formally takes charge of Rangers. That Rangers is a club in deep crisis is an open secret.

Club chairman, Yobesh Ongeri, has lately had plate-full of issues to deal with. From quelling a simmering disenchantment within the playing unit, courting an ambivalent sponsor (Daima Dairy), grappling with a court case and dealing with a headstrong coach, Ongeri has seen it all.

In the field of play, Rangers who had a fairy tale run last season, have rapidly been reduced to also-rans.

The Mumias debacle was the second time in a just a few days Rangers’ net had been stuffed with a six-pack. They will certainly be treading on very thin ice when Michael Nam’s Karuturi Sports come calling.

Four matches will be played on Sunday with fallen giants GorMahia and Mathare United up against very strong opposition. Can things get any worse for the once mighty Gor? That is the million dollar question on the minds of K’Ogalo’s long suffering fans who have not savoured victory since the opening day.

The arrival of tough talking Croat Logarusic has failed to spark off an immediate turnaround the fans were hoping for.

At a lowly 14th place, Gor now find themselves in the unfamiliar position of fighting relegation as opposed to challenge for the title.

The high riding Sofapaka will certainly not give them the soft cushion that they need when the two teams lock horns during the 3pm kick off match at City Stadium.

The Nyayo National Stadium will be the venue of a double-header featuring City Stars up against Ulinzi Stars in the early kick off, before reigning champions Tusker entertains Mathare United.

KPL Fixtures Saturday: Western StimavsOserian (Bukhungu-3pm), Thika United vs AFC Leoprads (Thika-3pm), Muhoroni Youth vs Sony Sugar (Muhoroni-3pm), Rangers vsKaruturi Sports (City-3pm) Sunday: City Stars vsUlinzi Stars (Nyayo-3pm), Tusker vsMathare United (Nyayo-5pm), GorMahiavsSofapaka (City Stadium-3pm), Chemelil Sugar vs KCB (Chemelil-3pm).

Nesta Kizito

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