League leaders seek to extend lead in their match against former champs

By Gilbert Wandera: Tuesday, February 12th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Henry Onyango of Western Stima in action against Ulinzi Stars during the Sportpesa premier League match at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on February 11,2018.The match ended 1-1.Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard

Mathare United’s dominance in the SportPesa Premier League comes under threat this afternoon when they welcome Sofapaka at Kasarani Stadium.

It is a tough one for the Slum Boys who have gone three matches without picking a win.

They still remain at the top with 25 points despite drawing against Kariobangi Sharks and Sony Sony and losing to Mt Kenya United. 

But Kasarani has been a very favourable ground for Mathare as they are able to not only display good football, but also pick positive results. 

It’s an opportunity for Cliff Nyakeya to once again shine for coach Francis Kimanzi’s squad.

With six goals to his name, Nyakeya remains the league’s top scorer. He has brought out his best in top matches and this fixture ranks in that category. 

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Sofapaka have had a big change of fortunes since Francis Barasa took over as head coach, moving fifth on the log.

The team has some experienced strikers like Kepha Aswani and Stephen Waruru to depend on for goals.

Sofapaka’s great form is therefore likely to continue this afternoon as they seek to stop Mathare from getting back to winning ways. 

In Mombasa, Bandari take on Vihiga United at home hoping to pick all three points.

The Mombasa based side has been on a high since finishing runner-up in the Sportspesa Cup in Tanzania.

Wycliff Ochomo has been in hot red form and Vihiga should not expect any easy picks. 

Meanwhile in yesterday’s SportPesa Premier League matches, Western Stima custodian Samuel Odhiambo saved the day for his team against Ulinzi Stars with the tie ending 1-1 at Afraha Stadium, in Nakuru.

Odhiambo frustrated Ulinzi strikers Enosh Ochieng, Ibrahim Shambi and Elvis Nandwa.

However, Odhiambo failed to save an 89th minute strike by Ochieng following a goalmouth melee that saw them share the spoils.

Stima took a second-minute lead through David Ochieng, who tapped in a throw-in by Luke Ochieng for a 1-0 half time lead.

The visitors made inroads in the soldiers’ territory but swift defending by Brian Birgen, Oliver Ruto, Boniface Andayi and Hassan Mohammed saved the day for the hosts.

“We still have a young team of strikers in the absence of the experienced ones, who are out on military assignments, but we’ll make a comeback soon,” Ulinzi head coach Dunstan Nyaudo said.

Western Stima tactician Paul Ogal warned the league is getting competitive by the day and most players are suffering from fatigue due to many weekly fixtures.

“The number of matches played weekly are taking a toll on most players,” Ogal said.

In Awendo Green Stadium, Sony Sugar’s run without a win stretched to four games after they were held 0-0 by Chemelil Sugar.

Sony’s last win came against Posta Rangers last month and head coach Patrick Odhiambo was not impressed with the performance.

“We have not been playing well this month and the boys should change and hard work for us to climb up the table,” Odhiambo said.

His counterpart Charles Odero of Chemelil Sugar, however, praised his boys for picking a point from Sony.

“We took the game to them. We created good chances that we could have scored but we will pull through in our next fixture against Nzoia,” he said.