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SPORTS

City Stars ready to upset Gor Mahia

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | May 15th 2021
Gor Mahia FC's Tito Okello (right) and Posta Rangers FC during an FKF Premier League match at Kasarani Annex on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, The Standard]

Nairobi City Stars coach Sanjin Alagic feels his side could have beaten Gor Mahia if they had met before the suspension of the FKF Premier League in March.

The two sides, who are only separated by two points, collide at Ruaraka Grounds tomorrow in their first fixture on the resumption the league.

Gor Mahia are seventh on the log with 22 points, while City Stars lie tenth after playing 16 matches, two more than the record Kenyan champions.

Though both sides were blowing hot and cold before the suspension of the league on March 26 by the government due to the surge in Covid-19 infections, the Serbian believes the Kawangware-based side was in a much better form than K’Ogalo.

“It is unfortunate we didn’t face Gor Mahia when we were in top form before the suspension. They have not been at their best level this season, that is why I’m sure we could have beaten them. But we are in the same situation right now because both teams have not been training,” Alagic told Standard Sports.

“Of course we have a lot of respect for Gor Mahia. It is an amazing team with great tradition and always hard to play against, but we have a good squad and we have prepared well in the 10 days we have trained.

“We have showed that we can play some good football and I hope we can replicate that quality on Sunday and register positive results.”

Nairobi City Stars’ Coach Sanjin Alagic in their FKF Premier League match against Tusker FC at Utali Grounds on Saturday, March 20, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, The Standard]

And with the quality of players the team has including the trio of Bolton Omwenga, Kevin Okumu and striker Nicholas Kipkirui (previously Gor Mahia) who joined the team in the midseason window, the tactician is confident of surpassing the 43-points record mark on their return to the top flight football.

“We had problems with the full backs and the attack, that’s why we brought in Kevin Okumu, Bolton Omwenga and Nicholas Kipkirui. Okumu and Omwenga have settled in quite well but unfortunately for Kipkirui he is not ready. He is not in his best form, but I’m sure very soon he will be in squad to help us achieve more victories,” said Alagic.

“I believe we have the quality to win every match and surpass 43 points mark. We will go in every match to win. We don’t care if our opponents are Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards or Western Stima. This league is very complicated and difficult so, you need to be at your best to produce good game and win the points.”

Yesterday, Kariobangi Sharks (31) leapfrogged KCB (30) into the second spot on the log after beating Kakamega Homeboyz at Utalii Grounds.

Today, league leaders Tusker (36) face a test of character when they host the bankers (1pm) at Ruaraka Grounds before AFC Leopards entertain Nzoia Sugar at the same venue.

“It is good for us to be back in action after around two months so that we can continue doing what we love. We started training last week and played a few friendlies but I think we are not so good,” said Matano.

“However, our minds, hearts and spirit is still there and we are all willing to continue from where we left off. The positive thing is that every team was affected by the suspension but matches are going to determine our consistency. If you win matches you will take the league, but if you don’t then forget about it.”

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