Champions K’Ogalo take on Slum Boys in the banana-skin clash

By Robin Toskin: Wednesday, November 6th 2019 at 08:21 GMT +3 | Football


Gor Mahia Coach Steven Polack against USM Alger during their CAF Confederation Cup match at Kasarani on Sunday 29/09/19.[Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Gor Mahia’s 100 percent record start to the Kenyan Premier League season will come under severe test today at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, when they face Mathare United in what promises to be a banana-skin tie for the champions.

Ominously, the record 18-time Kenyan champions have not beaten Mathare United in the last six fixtures – their victory dating as far back as October 30, 2016.

Since then, K’Ogalo has lost twice to the 2008 champions with the other clashes ending in scoring draws – a statistic the champions’ coach Steven Polack admits he was unaware.

“We need to find the antidote for that,” Polack said yesterday.

“All I know is it will be a difficult match given both teams like to play football. I have watched Mathare United play and I think it is a decent team. We will need to be tight defensively and have conviction offensively hoping the pitch will be in good condition,” the Englishman said.

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Polack revealed center-half Charles Momanyi, who was sent off against DC Motema Pembe in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup, is in contention for a place against Mathare United United.

“We have no injury worries and above all, we are boosted by Charles’ return to the squad. He had a very good game against Motema before he was sent off. So yes, he is in contention for a place against Mathare,” Polack said.

If the head-to-head form will hold, then expect a scoring encounter between the two sides with Gor Mahia needing to find fluency in front of goal — having seen its goal ratio to chances created dwindling in recent matches.

Mathare United coach Salim Ali against Wazito FC during their KPL match at Kasarani Stadium on Saturday 05/10/19. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Mathare United tactician Salim Ali said their performance against Gor Mahia in the last six outings gives them the confidence to approach the tie with a positive mentality.

“Well, our team has changed over time but a clash with Gor Mahia is always a special encounter. Gor are undoubtedly a superpower in the KPL and we are also a hot-bed of talent. So you can always expect a good game of football,” Ali said.

The Mathare United boss regretted the 0-0 draw against Posta Rangers describing it as ‘two points dropped’.

“The good thing is that we created a lot of chances, which should encourage any coach. We have scored seven goals so far and conceded five. I can’t complain, but we can do better by converting the chances we create,” he said.

Elsewhere, Bandari visit Western Stima at Moi Stadium Kisumu today, days after they were bundled out of the Caf Confederation Cup by Horoya AC 5-2 on aggregate.

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