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Tusker, Sofapaka in tricky matches

Tusker and Sofapaka will both be angling to improve on head-to-head stats against their respective opponents as the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) enters the fifth round this weekend.

The brewers face a test of nerves and skills when they face Ulinzi Stars Sunday at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru with Sofapaka testing Posta Rangers in the first action of a double-header the same day at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

Granted, the 2017 KPL meeting between Ulinzi and Tusker was not particularly rosy for the latter, who were then the defending champions, as they settled for a 1-1 draw in the first leg on April 15 before suffering an ignominious 4-0 defeat in the reverse fixture on November 18.

That tells you Tusker, who are placed in the tenth position, will be vouching for revenge which is possible for a good measure if their never-say-die attitude in a goalless draw with Gor Mahia in a mid-week tie on Wednesday is any guide.

After presiding over Tusker’s floundering fortunes early in the season, the team’s coach Sam Timbe promised a turn-around and has the men to do the job among them Collins Shivachi and Timothy Otieno.

In the meantime, Sofapaka are expected to show no mercy to Rangers who plucked four points out of a possible six during the two teams meeting last season.

The first leg between the two ended in a 1-1 stalemate before Rangers prevailed 1-0 in the second and now, Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa whose pressure has been eased after his charges dispatched AFC Leopards 2-1 on Wednesday has his work cut out in a bid to cut Rangers down to size.

And by and large, the match will test the character of Sofapaka players as to whether they can overcome the battle-hardened nature of Rangers and especially that of players like Danson Kago, Titus Achesa and John Nairuka.

Elsewhere in the second match of the double-header in Machakos, table-toppers Gor who spurned a chance of bridging a two-point gap with Mathare after sharing the spoils with Tusker have Bandari to deal with in pursuit of realising their dream.

The sparks and vibes in the match are there and while K’Ogalo have the likes of Meddie Kagere, and Humphrey Mieno to rely on, Bandari will be looking upon David King’atua and Shaban Kenga to turn on something special to reflect their newly-found form.

In Awendo, AFC Leopards will be gunning to make amends when they stalk Sony Sugar. For the last couple of years, Awendo has proved to be a dreary hunting ground especially to teams from Nairobi and this is a jinx Leopards will be out to break.

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