KPL ROUND EIGHT REVIEW: Mathare hit 20-point mark in 11-goal weekend

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A total of eleven goals were scored in round eight of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) in a weekend Mathare United became the first team to hit the 20-point mark following a 3-2 win over Kakamega Homeboyz in a five-goal thriller at Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi, on Saturday.

Kenyan international Allan Wanga shot the visitors ahead after 10 minutes but Chrispin Oduor quickly equalized for the Slum Boys in 20th minute before completing his brace seven minutes later.

Cliff Nyakeya added the third goal at the hour mark before Luke Namanda reduced the deficit with a cleanly taken goal deep in stoppage time for a 3-2 scoreline.

Mathare, coached by Harambee Stars assistant coach Francis Kimanzi, top the 18-team standings with 20 points, two ahead of Bandari who dropped to second position after temporarily sitting top since Thursday.

How long can Mathare hold on to clinch the title for the first time eleven years?

“For us we take each game at a time, the league is a marathon,” admitted Kimanzi after winger Kevin Kimani and promising midfielder James Kinyanjui stood out for the 2008 champions.

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For the Homeboyz technical bench things are not looking good.

Coach Paul Nkata and his assistant Hamza Kalanzi  have two more games to save their job.

The Kakamega-based side is winless in five matches, something that has not gone down well with the club supremo.

Nkata has to win his next two matches away to Ulinzi Stars on January 27 and at home to Bandari three days later or ship out.

Homeboyz, who returned to the top flight in 2016, have accumulated eight points in as many games and sit eleventh on the table.

In Machakos, draws reigned on a hot Saturday afternoon with Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Vihiga United sharing the spoils of a 1-1 stalemate before Sony Sugar held Sofapaka to a scoreless draw.

It was a good outcome for the Bankers who had risked dropping down the table after a disastrous start to the season going six matches without a win.

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A draw lifted them out of the relegation spot for the first time this season sitting just a point above the drop zone on six points after eight games.

Mathare United technical bench at Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi, on January 19, 2019. [PHOTO: STEPHEN MALOUDA/SPORTS AFRICA]

Tables turned when the Ruaraka-based side roped in experienced coach Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo as an assistant to Frank Ouna. This came after the suspension of assistant coaches Elvis Ayany and Ezekiel Akwana.
KCB beat AFC Leopards 1-0 as a result of the changes before the Saturday draw but face a stern test away to Western Stima on Wednesday.

Can they carry on with the positive fight?

“I liked how we fought on after being reduced to ten men, this means we can manage the hot conditions in Kisumu,” said coach Ouna whose side finished with a man down after Rwandese defender Gabriel Mugabo was sent off on 63 minutes.

Cash-strapped Vihiga host Nzoia Sugar, a match coach Mike Mururi believes they can bag maximum points if the boys are motivated.

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“The lack of financial power is demoralising us because for instance if had we travelled to Machakos in time, we could’ve easily won the match but we arrived at 4.30am with no time to rest but managed a draw,” said Mururi whose side had protested against honouring the fixture owing to lack of funds.

Sofapaka coach John Baraza was pleased with the barren draw against Sony Sugar on his first match after being installed following the resignation of Medo Melis last week.

“My aim was to rectify the defence which has been conceding goals and at that point I am happy with the scoreless draw, now we shift focus on working on our finishing,” he said.

Saturday results

KCB 1-1 Vihiga United (Kenyatta stadium, Machakos)

Sofapaka 0-0 Sony Sugar (Kenyatta stadium, Machakos)

Mathare United 3-2 Kakamega Homeboyz (MISC,  Nairobi )


Western Stima 2-2 Nzoia Sugar (Moi stadium, Kisumu)

Ulinzi Stars 0-0 Tusker (Afraha stadium)

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