Last updated 9 months ago | By Washington Onyango
Western Stima boss Salim Babu is confident his squad can challenge for the Kenya Premier League title this season despite record winners Gor Mahia dominating the league for the past years.
Babu said this time he is in charge from the start having inherited a depleted squad last season at a time fixture congestion was bothering every KPL team considering the short-time 2018/19 season saying there will be no excuses for poor shows.
The power men started the season steady after rallying from behind to hold Kariobangi Sharks 2-2 on the opening day of the 2019-20 KPL season.
Despite the draw, Babu remains upbeat as he felt his players looked pretty hungry during their first match of the season.
“We have started the season well despite the draw and I’m happy the boys played positively. Coming with a point from Nairobi and against a tough team in Sharks is not easy. We scored first and conceded two, but I’m happy we did not give up by scoring late to save a point,” he said.
“The team also started well last season and unexpectedly topped the league for two weeks joint with Gor Mahia and I believe this season we can emulate that and do it even better and stronger.”
Western Stima face moneybags Wazito this weekend at Moi Stadium Kisumu and Babu has his eyes set on collecting all three points at home.
“I believe after that good show against Sharks the boys will even play better at home. Wazito is a very strong side having spent millions in bringing new players but we are Stima and ready for them in front of our fans,” he said.
Wazito played out a 1-1 draw in their opening match against Nzoia Sugar and Babu has warned hi side to be careful with the visitors also out seeking their first win of the new season.
The tactician further believes the team is ready for a season of proper competition rather than fighting relegation, drawing from their massive signings and said they can challenge for the title despite K’Ogalo wearing the favorites tag.
“We are in a good shape compared to last season. We have now built a balanced team comprising youthful and experienced players.
“They bring new energy that the team needs and confident they can go all the way to fight for the top prize with Gor,” said Babu.
Stima signed 13 players, most of whom Babu has worked with before and have KPL experience from Sony, Chemelil Sugar, relegated Vihiga United and newly promoted KPL side Kisumu All-Stars.
Stima signed Kelvin Motsosi, Abdallah Wankuru, Kennedy Odhiambo and Apollo from the Awendo based side, with Amos Kigadi and Amos Waitere joining from Vihiga and Chemelil respectively.