Meek Leopards take on KCB in a crucial league tie - Daily Nation

Leopards in a must win encounter against KCB

Friday January 11 2019

Vihiga United's Amos Kigadi tries to head the

Vihiga United's Amos Kigadi tries to head the ball under pressure from AFC Leopards captain Robinson Kamura in their SportPesa Premier League match at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on December 29, 2018. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Troubled AFC Leopards will on Saturday play host to struggling Kenya Commercial Bank at the Afraha Stadium, in a contest that may rank as the highlight of the SportPesa Premier League fixtures lined up this weekend.

At Ruaraka grounds, hosts Tusker will entertain high-flying Mathare United in a match in which the winner may take over the top spot on the league table. Mathare lead the standings with 14 points while Tusker lie third with 12 points.

Champions Gor Mahia have been excused from domestic action as they are involved in a Caf Confederation Cup play-off assignment against visiting Cameroon's New Stars de Doula at Kasarani stadium on Sunday.

SLOW START

Under the tutelage of coach Marko Vasilikevic, 25, Leopards have made a slow start this season by the clubs own standards, registering a single win in the league out of a possible six.

Off the pitch, Leopards management is yet again staring at a variety of sanctions including a possible spectator ban from the stadia, hefty fine, or even deduction of points if found guilty of failing to control their fans and officials as charged during last weekend's 1-1 draw with Nzoia United.

The club's dependable playmaker Whyvonne Isuza, who is likely to return in this match following a spell in the sidelines occasioned by injury, has however opted to focus on the positive side of things.

He said: "We have played well in the last two matches and were unfortunate to draw in both after conceding at the death. We have worked on tightening things at the back this week and hopefully that will count for something. We need a win to kick start things," he told Nation Sport.

On their part, newly promoted KCB have drafted experienced coach Sammy Omollo to shore up the team's defence following a winless streak in their opening six engagements.

Against Leopards, Bankers coach Frank Ouna will rely on Tanzania international keeper Peter Manyika, his compatriot Jamal Mwambeleko, former Leopards defender Micheal Kibwage and the enterprising Clinton Kisiavuki to deliver the much needed win.

TOP OF THE TABLE

In the top of the log clash, Mathare United's title credentials will be put to test when they come up against Robert Matano's Tusker.

The Slum Boys, who have formed a habit of starting brightly in the league and then fading off in the second leg, will have to at the very least match the grit and commitment they exhibited during that one-all draw against a Dennis Oliech inspired Gor Mahia last weekend to stand a chance of picking something from this game.

Mathare coach Francis Kimanzi is set to unleash potent striking duo of Cliff Nyakeya and Kevin Kimani in this clash but as is the case when facing a team coached by Matano, Mathare know they will have to be at their best to pick anything from this match.

In Kakamega, an out of sorts Kakamega Homeboyz will host Zoo Kericho at Bukhungu stadium, whilst pretenders Kariobangi Sharks and Western Stima battle at the Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on Sunday.

Fixtures:

Saturday

Mount Kenya United v Bandari - Afraha Stadium (2pm)
Tusker v Mathare - Ruaraka grounds (3pm)
AFC Leopards v KCB - Afraha Stadium (4:15pm)
Kakamega Homeboyz v Zoo Kericho - Bukhungu stadium (4:15pm)

Sunday:
Kariobangi Sharks v Western Stima - Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos (4:15pm)
Sony Sugar v Ulinzi Stars - Green Stadium, Awendo (3pm)
Vihiga United v Sofapaka - Bukhungu (3pm)
Posta Rangers v Chemelil Sugar - Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos (4:15 pm)

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