Champions Tusker FC begin life without title-winning coach Sammy Omollo Saturday afternoon at Kawangware’s Hope Centre grounds when they take on Sony Sugar in a Premier League match. (READ: Tusker hunting for foreigner to head its bench)
Stand-in coach George Maina will be in charge as the champions seek to return to their winning ways. They have not scored in six games.
Omollo was sent packing mid this week after Tusker’s 0-1 loss to Mathare United on Tuesday which was a blow to their title ambitions.
Omollo’s former assistant, Maina, will be under pressure to bring back confidence in a side that has not been particularly at their best in the second leg of the season since losing three key players; Paul Were to AFC Leopards, Brian Mandela to South Africa’s Santos and Jerry Santos to Coastal Union of Tanzania.
Eight points adrift
At 36 points, Tusker find themselves eight points behind leaders AFC Leopards and, although they have a match at hand, it will take a tough battle to catch up with AFC Leopards. But Maina is confident reviving the club’s fortunes.
“We have suffered a dip in form but we have the kind of players who can rise to the occasion and turn around our fortunes,” he said.
“We are not very far from the leaders, and the title race is still far from being decided because we have to play against each of the five top clubs,” he added.
A win for Tusker will be a welcome boost to the side. They start as favourites against Sony, but the Awendo side, under coach Zedekiah Otieno, has been playing good football although they lack the cutting edge up front. Sony’s top marksman Ishmael Dunga is in good form but lacks good supply up front from the midfield.
Later at Hope Centre, Sofapaka clash with City Stars. Sofapaka, who are lying second on the grid, were let off the hook by Gor Mahia in Monday’s barren draw and will be out to register a win to keep in touch with Leopards.
Coach Salim Ali has predicted a tough match for the ‘Batoto Ba Mungu’.
“City Stars are our bogey side. History shows matches between City Stars and Sofapaka are hard to predict,” he said.
In the first leg, Sofapaka won 2-0 to avenge last season’s 2-0 loss to the Kawangware side. Sofapaka will be without their inspirational captain James Situma but Ali says the returning Eugene Asike will offer enough cover at the back.
On Sunday, Western Stima host Karuturi in a mid-table clash at Bukhungu while fast-improving Mathare visit Muhoroni Youth. Kenya Commercial Bank take on Thika United at Nyayo on Monday afternoon.
Tusker v Sony Sugar (Hope Centre)
City Stars v Sofapaka (Hope Centre)
Sunday: Western Stima v Karuturi Sports (Bukhungu)
Muhoroni Youth v Mathare United (Muhoroni)
Monday: KCB v Thika United (Nyayo 3pm)