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SPL round 18 preview

Teams have only a three-day turn around period before the next round of fixtures on Wednesday as the second leg proper of the 18-team competition begins.

Bandari vs Sony Sugar (Mbaraki Sports Club, 3pm)

Sony Sugar’s Abdalla Hamisi and Justine Omari collected red cards during their first leg match against Bandari five days ago and are suspended for this match.

The last five league matches between the two sides have ended 1-0. The sides traded victories in the last two seasons. Bandari won this season’s first leg 1-0 just a couple of days ago.

Muhoroni Youth vs Sofapaka (Muhoroni Stadium, 3pm)

Muhoroni Youth return to their dreaded Muhoroni Youth grounds this weekend following the Independent Disciplinary and Complaints Committee’s decision to dismiss a petition by Nzoia Sugar to ban the grounds on security grounds.

Only a win will prevent Muhoroni from falling to the league’s bottom spot, and they will be desperate to take advantage of their notorious home advantage.

Muhoroni Youth won the first leg clash by a 1-0 score and Batoto ba Mungu the second leg 2-1.

Nzoia Sugar vs Ulinzi Stars (Sudi Stadium, 3pm)

Nzoia’s 2-1 victory over Ulinzi Stars last weekend caused the solders to slip from first to third place on the log, and they will be keen to bounce right back up.

Curiously, Nzoia have failed to post a victory at their Sudi home in their last eight matches.

League top scorer Stephen Waruru has literally been banging in a-goal-a-match for Ulinzi Stars and will once again be the lead attacker for Benjamin Nyangweso.

The last time these two teams met was in September last year where the soldiers eliminated Nzoia from the GOtv Shield on post-match penalties following a 1-1 score at the end of regular time.

Posta Rangers vs Tusker (Nyayo Stadium, 2pm)

Tusker’s defensive midfielder Hashim Sempala is suspended for this match after accumulating five yellow cards.

Champions Tusker have not won in four consecutive league matches, a situation that has seen them fall from first to fourth place on the log, two points off leaders Gor Mahia, who have a game in hand.

Posta Rangers will welcome back defender Luke Ochieng and goalkeeper Patrick Matasi who both missed Sunday’s action due to suspension.

Tusker captain James Situma will also return from suspension, but the position of Allan Wanga who was absent from the starting lineup last weekend is unclear.

Rangers won the first leg 1-0 and the brewers revenged 2-1 in the second leg of their league meetings last season.

Nakumatt vs Gor Mahia (Nyayo Stadium, 4.15pm)

Boniface Oluoch, who was not in the Gor lineup last weekend, joined the team for training on Monday from compassionate leave, and is available for selection.

Gor's coach Dylan Kerr’s agenda will involve the chase for a second consecutive victory as well as maintaining the league’s top position.

Burly Gor midfielder Ernest Wendo is still nursing a groin injury and in his stead will be the equally gifted Philemon Otieno.

Nakumatt’s Kepha Aswani could be the difference for the retail traders as the seek revenge of their Sunday’s 2-0 spanking at the hands of K’Ogalo.

Mathare United vs Kakamega Homeboyz (Ruaraka Grounds, 3pm)

Homeboyz benefitted from a penalty last weekend in Mumias which condemned Mathare United to a ninth winless match, and as confirmed by their coach Francis Kimanzi, kept their confidence as low as a lying envelope.

Mathare goalkeeper Levis Opiyo returns after serving a one-match suspension last weekend.

Mathare United have never beaten Kakamega Homeboyz in history. Their last four encounters have twice ended in draws, and twice in 1-0 and 2-1 wins for Homeboyz.

Thika United vs Chemelil Sugar (Thika Stadium, 4pm)

Thika midfielder Said Tsuma has accumulated five yellow cards and will therefore play no part in this match as he serves the automatic one match ban.

Chemelil goalkeeper Jairus Adira and defender James Agembe will be welcomed back from suspension.

Last season, Thika United beat Chemelil Sugar both home and away by identical 1-0 scores.

Western Stima vs AFC Leopards (Moi Stadium, 3pm)

Having been sunk by an Ezekiel Otuoma goal in their clash with Western Stima at the weekend, AFC Leopards will be in search of revenge when they travel to Kisumu for a return meeting.

Stima coach Henry Omino has however vowed to beat the Big Cats by an even bigger score line.

AFC Leopard’s five-goal club top scorer Gilbert Fiamenyo, who had been sidelined by injury for two months, parted ways with Ingwe. His position in the starting lineup has been filled by Keziron Kizito and Alex Okaka.

Western Stima have been on top of Ingwe over the past two seasons. Last season Stima beat Leopards three times, including a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing in the knock out GOtv Shield.

Zoo Kericho vs Kariobangi Sharks (Kericho Green Stadium, 3pm)

Buoyant league debutants Kariobangi Sharks have gone 11 matches without defeat, but they will be wary of fellow newcomers Zoo Kericho who came close to beating them last weekend.

A win could see Sharks breaking into the league’s top three.

Sharks forwards Ovella Ochieng and Masoud Juma are available after returning from their Spain tour with the SportPesa Premier League All Stars.

Danson Namasaka, who scored the equaliser for Zoo Kericho in their 1-1 draw against Sharks last weekend, should start, paired with Mike Madoya.







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