Sofapaka face tough test to beat on-form Tusker keeper Matasi

Tusker FC goalkeeper Patrick Matasi in a past training session. [Courtesy, Standard]

Harambee Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi’s recent form has evidently helped turn around Tusker FC’s fortunes after a poor start to the season.

The brewers had a difficult start to the 2021/2022 season that saw them stay in the bottom half of the table standings for the better part of the first leg.

However, a recent burst in form has seen the champions rise from the dead with Matasi right in the middle of the positive run.

The Kenyan international has kept six consecutive clean sheets which has seen the club rise to sixth on the log with 30 points, seven points behind leaders Kakamega Homeboyz.

Today, Tusker will be banking on Matasi’s safe hands when they travel to Wundanyi to face unpredictable Sofapaka as the league resumes after a two-week break. Nine matches will be on the cards from today to Sunday.

Four matches will be played tomorrow with Kariobangi Sharks taking on Nzoia Sugar, Nairobi City Stars tackle Mathare United, Kenya Police play Wazito as Ulinzi Stars square it out with KCB.

On Sunday, league leaders Kakamega Homeboys will host Bidco United, AFC Leopards meet struggling Vihiga Bullets as Talanta entertain Posta Rangers.

Tusker will be hoping to stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches and in the process close the gap on leaders Homeboyz to four points.

While Matasi will be seeking to chalk up his seventh clean sheet, Sofapaka coach Ken Odhiambo will be out to keep their top-five finish targets alive. 

“Friday’s encounter will be a massive one for us because we look on building on a Wazito win. The brewers are on some good run in the last four league encounters and this only means we will have to step up more to get the full points,” Odhiambo told the club’s website.

“Top five chances is a huge possibility for us, we are six points off it and 13 off the top spot. I believe once we get the rhythm we will be able to close in and challenge for the title, because it is not a done affair yet.”

But having seen the brewers drop points in their barren draw against Ulinzi Stars last week, midfielder Jackson Macharia is determined to inspire them back to winning ways.

Macharia made a brilliant return to the team from a short January break when he scored in their 2-0 victory over the soldiers on February 12 at Ruaraka Grounds. 

“I used the time to rest especially after some hard work last season and the first phase of continental football,” Macharia told the club’s website.

“I took a small vacation because I feel I deserved it. Now I am ready, stronger and fresher and I am ready to give my best to help my team succeed.

“It is now up to us to do the things that worked well for us and also correct a few of the weaknesses we noted.” 

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