Mwalala hopes Bandari can win league crown

By Ernest Ndunda: Thursday, August 9th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia striker, Godfrey Wasulumbi [right]and Bandari defender, Joshua Oyoo run for control of the ball during sportpesa premier league played at Mbaraki sports club in Mombasa. Bandari won 2--1. Photo Omondi Onyango/Standard

It was just a time bomb before Gor Mahia’s smooth run in the SportPesa Premier came to an end.

The writing had been on the wall and there were clear signs in the match results against AFC Leopards and Nakumatt. 

During the match against AFC Leopards, Gor struggled to beat Ingwe and replayed the same poor show against Nakumatt where they rallied from behind to force a 2-2 draw.

It also emerged that there has been ‘disagreement’ between coach Dylan Kerr and goalkeeper trainer Willis Ochieng. There were reports that the two officials differed in a pep talk at half time during the Tuesday’s match against Bandari over the choice of Shaaban Odhoji as first choice goal keeper.

During the post-match interview, Kerr raised concern with the goalkeeper. “The goalkeeper was unstable and we need to work on the keepers’ technical skills,” he said.

Yesterday, Gor Mahia confirmed there was an exchange between the coach and goal keeper trainer. Club Secretary Ben Omondi in a statement that coach Kerr and Ochieng differed sharply.

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“The incident between the coach and keeper trainer witnessed during the Gor Mahia and Bandari on Tuesday was unfortunate. In my view, the bench did not know how to handle the pressure of losing that match.”

Omondi said the technical expertise is geared towards delivering the best desired results. “Let’s avoid negativity and unnecessary criticism especially those directed to our players, “ said Omondi, who denied max fixing allegations leveled against the goalkeeper during the match.

For Bandari, they have been in fine form since arrival of coach Bernard Mwalala from Nzoia Sugar, registering four wins and a draw in their last five matches.

Mwalala says the win sent a warning shot to Gor Mahia that they should not start uncorking the champagne at this early stage and should expect strong challenge from his team.

 “We have narrowed Gor Mahia’s 13-gap lead to 11 and it’s not yet done until the final match. My intention before the Tuesday match was not to break K’Ogalo’s unbeaten run but to grab the three points, to enable Bandari to ascend to the second position,” said Mwalala.

He says if Gor Mahia make mistakes in their remaining fixtures, Bandari is capable of pushing the league to the wire.

After Tuesday’s match, Gor Mahia are still on top with 56 points from 23 matches while Bandari lie second with 11 points adrift from 26 matches.

Since taking over last month from Ken Odhiambo, Mwalala has gone five matches unbeaten and is looking forward to extending the good run on Sunday when they face Tusker in Nairobi.

Bandari Sports Club Secretary Edward Oduor confirmed the team departs tonight to Nairobi for a two-day training ahead of the Sunday match.

“We have eight matches at hand before the conclusion of the 2018 league and our focus is to get all the maximum points,” said Oduor.

He said Mwalala has instilled high standards of discipline, which has been an added advantage to the team.