John ‘Bobby’ Ogolla makes his much awaited return to the Nairobi City Stars’ dugout on Thursday afternoon when he leads his charges against Bandari in a mid-week league clash at the Nyayo National Stadium from 4pm.
Bandari are the bookmakers’ favourites after a fairy-tale run last season which culminated in them claiming the domestic cup, but the silver-haired haired City Stars coach has warned the visitors that the battle lines are drawn saying his boys will face the match with bravery.
Last season, the dockers completed a double over City Stars but Ogolla, who gained fame in his hey days as a shrewd, no-nonsense centre back, says that history will count for nothing when the two sides clash.
“It (the match) is very important for me as a coach. The preparation has been good.
The first three weeks were mainly used in building the squad but we’ve had enough time to prepare and we are ready for Bandari.
Being a home match, they should expect a tough battle. Last year, they took six points from us and when I say we are ready now, we couldn’t have been more ready,” he said.
“I have a blend of young and experienced boys who are hungry and ready to go.”
Thursday’s match will particularly be special to City Stars striker, George Abege who swapped City for Bandari and featured prominently for the coastal side in a stellar campaign last term.
Bandari tactician, Twahir Muhiddin, has called on Abege to show no mercy on his former side.
“He (Abege) is a professional and I don’t think he should have mercy on them. Bandari are his current employers and he should do his job as a professional.
“Matches between Bandari and City Stars are usually tough but we could build on the advantage that most of their players are new and have no league experience but I’m sure they’ll be out to prove their worth,” Muhiddin said.
Abege missed his team’s 2-0 defeat to St Eloi Lupopo last Sunday in Lubumbashi, Congo with a toe problem but Muhiddin gave a strong hint that he could be recalled to lead the line in Thursday’s clash.
Shariff Mohammed has also shrugged off fatigue concerns and is also primed for a starting berth alongside Dan Sserunkuma and midfield powerhouse, Musa Mudde, both of whom started on the bench in Congo.
Based on the big name players in their squad, the dockers are favourites going into this match but City coach, Ogolla, says his boys will fight bravely but cautiously in what promises to be a riveting game.