It’s now down to mental game as Tusker close in on KPL top spot


Tusker players celebrate after defeating Ulinzi Stars in a Kenyan Premier League match.[Tusker FC]

Defending champions Tusker  FC will move joint second in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League standings if they defeat hosts Ulinzi Stars in Nakuru today.

The brewers last Saturday continued with their resurgence in the league with 2-0 win over the soldiers at Ruaraka grounds courtesy of Jackson Macharia and Shami Kibwana goals.

Ahead of their rescheduled midweek match at ASK Showground against Ulinzi, Tusker are sixth in the log on 29 points.

Victory in Nakuru will not only see them close the gap on league leaders Kakamega Homeboyz to five points, but also go joint second on the log alongside Nairobi City Stars, a feat Robert Matano is keen to achieve.

The league leaders had a difficult start to the league that left them at the bottom half table for most of the first leg but a recent burst in form has seen the champions rise from the dead, yet again.

The 12-time champions are unbeaten in their last five matches and will be seeking to string four wins in a row for the first time this season and complete a double over Ulinzi.

Matano said he expects a totally different and tough game considering the two teams are facing off again  in five days.

“To beat a team twice in such a short time is very difficult. However, we are Tusker and we are going to adapt and play better than we did in Nairobi. We are going for the maximum points again,” said Matano.

Tusker carry a head-to-head advantage in the last nine matches against Ulinzi having beaten the soldiers five times, lost one and drew three.

And after their three wins in a row (double against Bandari and last weekend against Ulinzi), Tusker midfielder Humphrey Mieno believes they have enough confidence to withstand the pressure.

Mieno said the team is being carried on by the confidence of earning 13 points over the last five matches from a possible 15.

“We have been struggling to get back-to-back wins but now we are on the right track. We need to take game at a time and maintain our focus.”

On the other side, Ulinzi Stars, 13th on the log with 21 points, will be hoping to get back on track after the return of coach Benjamin Nyangweso.

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