James Magayi @magayijim
Winless Kericho County outfit Zoo FC host defending champions Gor Mahia in a Kenyan Premier League (KPL) fixture at the Green Stadium this evening seeking their first of point the season. Zoo won a two-pronged battle on the pitch and in corridors of justice to retain top-flight tenancy but started the season terribly by losing 4-2 to Ulinzi Stars.
The minnows, playing in the top tier for the second season, are upbeat about today’s fixture as they reminisce on a famous draw they registered at the same venue last year.
Gor’s Champions League engagement last weekend afforded Zoo more rest time and the Kericho-based side want to maximise on this to upset the 16-time league winners. Odds are, however, staked high against Zoo as they face a formidable K’Ogalo side boasting some of the best talents in the region.
Zoo are also banking on Gor getting preoccupied by next week’s CAF Champions League return tie in Equatorial Guinea but with the sort of squad depth at K’Ogalo, Dylan Kerr will still field a fearsome team even if he rotates the players.
Coach Sammy Okoth believes his side will fare well against Gor but cautioned his defensive players to be vigilant. “My squad has similar qualities to players of any other team in this division. That means we can beat anyone if and when we prepare well and execute our game plans,” he said.
“Our next opponents are a good side and we have to seal defensive loopholes that cost us much in our opening game. Conceding four goals most of which were avoidable does not really inspire confidence but I believe the emphasis we put during the training sessions after that unfortunate loss should shore up our defending,” added Okoth.
Fleet-footed and inventive winger Michael Madoya and lethal marksman Nicholas Kipkirui headline some of the talented forward players within Zoo’s ranks. The duo will attempt to prise open a K’Ogalo defence that is yet to concede after three competitive matches this season.
Gor plundered four at home to woeful Nakumatt in their opening league match and hope to join Mathare United at the summit with victory over Zoo. Kerr is keen to keep a winning momentum especially as they wade through two important tournaments.