Title-chasing Mathare United seek to regain league leadership when they play cash-strapped Nakumatt in one of the mid-week Kenyan Premier League (KPL) matches today.
The second-placed side responded well after suffering their first league loss in the hands of AFC Leopards by consecutively trouncing stubborn sugar millers Sony and Chemelil and now have the struggling Nakumatt in their crosshairs.
Nakumatt had the better of the two last season, picking four points from Mathare by way of first leg victory and a one-all draw in the second as they made their debut to top-flight football.
The retail giants, however, face debilitating financial woes this year, which have unfortunately translated to poor results on the pitch.
Last week’s reported take-over of Nakumatt by unknown tycoons failed to inspire the team in weekend’s 2-0 loss to Sofapaka, as their only victory in eight league matches this year came in February against Nzoia Sugar.
They have lost half of their fixtures and drawn three times. Odds are staked against them in today’s fixture as they face a buoyant Mathare United outfit that looks well psyched for a title fight.
“That is the ultimate target for us. We had a very poor season in 2017 but we have matured and reinforced the team to compete at the top. One game at a time we are moving and hopefully we’ll lift the title at the end of the season,” Mathare coach Francis Kimanzi said.
Fourth-placed Sofapaka are on a cruise after shaking off a poor start to the season. Should they record a sixth victory this year in their fixture against a resurgent Nzoia Sugar, the Sam Ssimbwa-led 2009 champions would leap to second on the table if Mathare falter against Nakumatt.
Sofapaka have scored seven goals in their last two matches but will have to work harder against a mean Nzoia Sugar. The millers equally started slowly but have recovered with three victories in their last five fixtures, escaping the danger zones with their March exploits.
“We focused too much on getting goals and in the process left our defense vulnerable. That is why we have conceded many goals but the last few sessions have stopped the leak at the back and should halt the rate at which we concede. Otherwise we are on course despite a bad start,” said Ssimbwa.