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SPL round five preview

Giants Tusker, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia have already tasted defeat this season. In fact, only Posta Rangers and Ulinzi Stars remain unbeaten going into the fifth round of matches.

AFC Leopards’ impressive start was brought to a thudding stop by Chemelil Sugar last weekend, and all eyes will be on them to see how they respond against Muhoroni Youth in Mombasa on Sunday, but the big one should be between reigning champions Tusker against Kenya Defence Forces side Ulinzi Stars in Kisumu on Saturday.

Newcomers Zoo Kericho are yet to win and could not have asked for a trickier opponent in resurgent 2009 champions Sofapaka.

SATURDAY

Sony Sugar vs Gor Mahia (Moi Stadium)

Sony coach Salim Babu has identified lack of clinical finishing as Gor Mahia’s weakness, and has prepared according.

Both teams have a full squad. Gor Mahia welcome back Rwandan midfielder Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza.

The unproductive Timothy Otieno was last weekend relegate to the bench and George “Blackberry” Odhiambo started in his stead. Will coach Marcelo Ferreira employ the same lineup?

The Brazilian could start for the first time this season with striker Meddie Kagere and midfielder Innocent Wafula.

Gor have not lost to Sony in their last six meetings. Last season, the sugar millers lost 1-0 in the first leg and held the record champions to a barren draw in the second leg.

Tusker vs Ulinzi Stars (Moi Stadium)

The form of Ulinzi midfielder Samuel Onyango continues to impress. Watch out for him. Omar Mbongi is on military duty and misses this match for the soldiers. Also out is Tusker captain James Situma who is serving a one-match ban for the red card he collected against Sofapaka last weekend.

The two teams met three times last year. They traded wins in the league, Ulinzi 2-1 victors and Tusker 2-0 winners. The brewers beat the KDF side 1-0 in the GOtv Shield.

SUNDAY

Bandari vs Thika United (Mbaraki Sports Club)

Lucas Indeche will likely feature between the sticks for Bandari as their number one choice goalkeeper Wilson Obungu is serving a match ban for being red carded.

Thika come into this math on the back of a 1-0 win over Zoo Kericho last weekend, but will have to be wary of the experienced coastal side.

Both teams collected two points from each other in their two league meetings last year.

AFC Leopards vs Muhoroni Youth (Mbaraki Sports Club)

Both teams failed to win their previous matches against Chemelil Sugar and Mathare United respectively.

Dennis Sikhayi, Paul Kiongera, Marcus Abwao and Abdalla Juma will miss this fixture for Ingwe due to injury.

Their absence will however pave way for young, sensational and speedy striker Marcellus Ingotse to stake a starting role for Ingwe, as dreadlocked forward Allan Katerrega maintains his starting position to assist the productive Gilbert Fiamenyo.

Muhoroni Youth collected six points from Ingwe last season, beating them 1-0 at their home turf in Muhoroni, then overcoming them 2-1 in Nairobi in the reverse fixture.

Kakamega Homeboyz vs Nzoia United (Mumias Sports Complex)

The two teams were sworn enemies while they were in the National Super League. Naturally, this mutual feeling will carry on at top flight level.

Fast paced football laced with some fearless physical play is a characteristic both teams display, and fans in Mumias will be in for a real Easter football treat.

Nzoia will be looking to get back on the right path after losing to AFC Leopards and Kariobangi Sharks in their last two games, and the same is true for Homeboyz who suffered their first defeat last weekend against Gor Mahia.

Western Stima vs Chemelil Sugar (Moi Stadium)

Home side Western Stima are a mixed bag. The defeated mighty Gor Mahia, but have lost two of their three games already.

They face a tall order against Chemelil who beat AFC Leopards 2-0 last weekend.

Since August 2013, all encounters between the two have ended in draws.

Zoo Kericho vs Sofapaka (Kericho Green Stadium)

Sofapaka have showed clear intention of fulfilling their dream of winning the 2017 SPL title.

They are unbeaten in their last three league matches despite fielding a rather modest looking squad coached by the soft spoken Ugandan Sam Ssimbwa.

Zoo Kericho are the only league team yet to record a win thus far.

This will be the very first meeting between the two sides at this level.

MONDAY

Kariobangi Sharks vs Nakumatt (Kenyatta Stadium)

Another battle of the league debutants this, with Nakumatt just shading Sharks as the favourites.

Sharks will however be buoyed by the 2-0 win against Nzoia Sugar United last week.

Former Nakuru All Stars striker Boniface Akenga is fit again to play for Nakumatt in this match after missing out in last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Thika United.

Mathare United vs Posta Rangers (Thika Stadium)

Mathare United are finding the going tough this season as the feel the absence of nine key players who departed in the December-January transfer window.

They have won only once this season and will be hard pressed to get three points from a very useful Posta Rangers side.

Abdallah Ahmed made his debut for the slum boys last weekend and could get another cameo appearance on Monday.

Last season's encounters ended 0-0, 0-0 and this one could be another tight, tight affair.







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