Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa has urged his players to rise up to the challenge of the 2018 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) after the team made a shaky start in the season at the weekend.
Ssimbwa’s clarion call comes in the wake of the almost nilly-willy onslaught Sofapaka went through at the hands of Bandari at Narok County Stadium on Sunday, losing 3-0 in the process as Batoto Ba Mungu frantically jostled for a perfect start despite making some of the greatest signings during the January transfer window.
For Sofapaka, the defeat rekindled bitter memories of the 2017 KPL when they succumbed to Sony Sugar in their opening match with Ssimbwa overly concerned with the result.
“From what I saw, we have a lot to do and what I want is consistency and potency especially from the new players. I think our biggest undoing has been failure by the players to gel and that is what I will work on,” said Ssimbwa.
He added: “I have been closely monitoring the team right from pre-season friendlies and therefore stand at a high pedestal to ascertain the individual quality of each player. But I must be honest to say the players have not gelled yet and this was the bane of the indifferent result against Bandari.
That much change moving forward,” Missed chances Ssimbwa was at pains to explain the missed chances by new recruits Umaru Kasumba, Kepha Aswani and Stephen Waruru and reckons that they will have to improve in the team’s next match against Kakamega Homeboyz who beat Sofapaka home and away last season.
In the meantime, KPL defending champions Gor Mahia made a dream start with a resounding 4-0 win over Nakumatt in one of the nine round one matches that produced a total of 20 goals. Buoyed by their Super Cup win over arch rivals AFC Leopards the previous weekend, Gor have to thank Meddie Kagere for the huge win after the Rwandan talisman scored a hat-trick, Wellington Ochieng’ contributing the other goal.
In contrast, Leopards dropped points as they launched their league campaign in a 1-1 draw with Posta Rangers on Saturday in Nakuru. Besides Bandari, two other teams including Mathare United and Kakamega Homeboyz chalked up morale-boosting wins, as new freebies caused the biggest upset by beating Sony Sugar.
Kakamega Homeboyz under Mike Mururi proved too good for Thika United, beating them 1-0, thanks to Allan Wanga’s goal, as Mathare United’s new signing from Tusker, Clifford Alwanga scored a brace to propel them to a 2-1 win over newcomers Vihiga United.
This was Alwanga’s first brace on his competitive Mathare United debut as the team came from behind to beat Vihiga who seemed to have suffered stage-fright in the match held at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega. Defending Champions Tusker had a weekend to forget after losing 2-0 to Chemelil Sugar with Kariobangi Sharks also among the casualties.