Table leaders Mathare United have taken a self requested leave from the Kenyan Premier League this weekend giving their closest rival Sony Sugar a chance to climb to the top as the season hits the home stretch.
The KPL executive committee agreed to a request by Mathare United and Tusker to be exempted from matches this weekend to allow their international players and coaches recover from their longer than expected travel from Conakry to Nairobi.
The players from the two clubs, who formed the majority in the Harambee Stars squad that played Guinea on Sunday, spent several days in west Africa after failing to secure their scheduled flights back to Nairobi on Monday.
Door wide open
As a result of the request, the matches between Western Stima and Mathare United in Kakamega today and Ulinzi Stars versus Tusker at Greensteds School on Sunday have been postponed to October 29.
The door is now wide open for second-placed Sony Sugar to take the lead when they face KCB at Awendo on Saturday.
“We have four home matches. If you look at our records we have only lost once at home and we intend to win all the remaining home matches,” Sony Sugar coach Francis Baraza said.
Potent words indeed if you look at the sugar men’s record. Sony have conceded just one goal at home all season, a 0-1 loss to Mathare United on June 3. Importantly, Sony are on a four match winning streak and are intent on keeping the race tight for the league title.
With a strike force of Marwa Chamberi, impressive in Sony’s 2-0 blanking of Thika United two weeks ago, Dennis Onkangi, John Onami and Tom Ochieng, the hosts will feel confident of picking all three points from KCB.
Have a say
The bankers though will want to have a say in this affair. On a good day KCB can challenge the best side in Kenya. They showed it with a 1-1 draw agianst Mathare on October 4, an encounter the bankers will feel they should have won.
KCB coach Yusuf Chipo is not happy with the 10th position the club holds in the league table and will be keen to collect points from a notoriously difficult place to go hunting.
Basement club Mathare Youth are on the road to face Chemelil Sugar on Sunday under stand-in coach David Ouma. MYSA have clarified that Youth’s regular coach Gabriel “Kingi” Njoroge has not been fired but is on annual leave.
“Njoroge is still an employee of Mathare and is still earning his salary,” MYSA chairman Bob Munro said on Friday.
Fifth-placed World Hope, for so long in the year the league’s leaders, have fallen off the pace.
Kenya Premier League fixtures
Saturday - World Hope v Thika United (Hope Centre), Agro Chemical v Sher Karuturi (Muhoroni), Red Berets v Bandari (Greensteds), Sony Sugar v KCB (Awendo).
Sunday – Mahakama v Gor Mahia (Nyayo Stadium), Chemelil Sugar v Mathare Youth (Chemelil), Western Stima v Mathare United (Bukhungu Stadium) postponed, Ulinzi Stars v Tusker (Greensteds School) postponed.