After their elimination from the Caf Confederation Cup on Sunday, Sofapaka shift their focus on the Kenyan Premier League on Thursday as they visit Bukhungu Stadium where they face off with Western Stima.
Mathare United, in an unfamiliar territory in the league table, host AFC Leopards under the Nyayo National Stadium floodlights.
Sofapaka have a bone to chew with Stima, who have had the last laugh in two consecutive encounters between the two teams.
Stima hammered Sofapaka 3-0 in the second leg of last season’s KPL and last month it was the electricity boys who eliminated the “Watoto wa Mungu” from the Sh1 million Top Eight championships.
“And we are ready to inflict more misery on them,” thundered Stima coach Henry Omino.
“They have played very well in the continental championship but in the local front their confidence is thin and that is what we want take advantage of.”
Omino’s side has 21 points from 13 games and holds the fifth spot.
Shifting focus to league
The Stima coach says Sofapaka are still suffering from fatigue, having played on Sunday then making a road trip to Kakamega, but he would not underestimate the threat posed by the 2009 Kenyan champions nonetheless.
“They will definitely struggle but I am not ruling out the fact that they are a good side and will come at us with guns blazing,” he said.
On Sunday, Sofapaka coach Francis Kimanzi said he is now shifting his focus to the KPL, where his side has not been performing well. They lie ninth on the table with 16 points from 12 games.
Having won four times and drawn and lost a similar number of matches, respectively, Sofapaka are two shy of the losses they suffered last season.
“It has not been a good run for us so far in the league but now that we have only the league to focus on I think we will improve,” said Kimanzi.
Sofapaka beat Tunisia’s Club Africain 3-1 on Sunday in the Caf Cup but exited the competition on a 3-4 aggregate in favour of the visitors.
Meanwhile, Mathare United, champions in 2008 who are now threatened with relegation, have a chance to move off the second-last spot when they face Leopards at Nyayo on Thursday.
Mathare have won only two of their 13 games and have 11 points, same as bottom-placed Nairobi City Stars.
Boosted by new arrivals
They meet a Leopards side boosted by new arrivals – Francis Chinjili from Western Stima, Jimmy Bagaye (City Stars) and Charles Okwemba (Rangers).
The poor showing by Mathare has their coach, Salim Ali, concerned. “Of course we are in an unfamiliar territory and we have to pull up our socks,” he said.
“We have 17 games remaining, so there is still a chance we can finish in a good position. But we have to start winning.”
Full weekend fixtures
Thursday: Western Stima v Sofapaka (Bukhungu), Mathare United v AFC Leopards (Nyayo);
Saturday: Sony Sugar v City Stars (Awendo), Ulinzi Stars v Karuturi Sports (Afraha);
Sunday: Chemelil v Gor Mahia (Afraha), Congo United v Bandari (Mombasa), Tusker v KCB (Nyayo), Rangers v Western Stima (City)