There is hope, albeit faint, for SportPesa Premier League (SPL) title chasers after last Sunday’s stumble by dominant defending champions Gor Mahia in Machakos.
For the second time this season the record champions gave away a two-goal cushion to share spoils in a league match, leaving their lead at the top to a manageable three points although they have two matches at hand.
The 3-3 draw with Sofapaka raised a glimmer of hope for the chasing pack in second placed Ulinzi Stars, Mathare United, AFC Leopards and Sofapaka who are all within striking range of leaders Gor Mahia.
Ulinzi’s victory over Wazito on Saturday capped a four-match winning run that has seen the Dunstan Nyaudo-coached soldiers, leap past Nakumatt, Chemelil and Nzoia Sugar. The former Kenyan international who took over reigns of Ulinzi at the start of season is, however, modest in his ambitions as he plans for long term team stability.
“It is too early to say that we will be fighting for the title as there is a lot of work to be done to get the team playing well, but if we win it then that would be alright.
“There is a systemic change in the way Ulinzi now plays and that is what I want to really establish before I can then focus on challenging for the title. That does not mean we will not give our very best in the league,”Nyaudo said after shaking off a series of disappointments early in the season.
While Ulinzi Stars completed a quartet of victories on the trot, early pace setters Mathare United recorded their sixth draw of the season.
Their scoreless draw away to Kakamega Homeboys was Francis Kimanzi’s fourth consecutive draw, which leaves them a point behind Ulinzi Stars and places them third on the log. The slum boys have now gone six matches without victory but still retain title hopefuls.
“The title is within reach and until it is decided we shall play to win our matches and if that gives us the title so be it. The team has some experienced players now, last season was a struggle as the players were young and new,” Kimanzi said.
Twelve-time champions AFC Leopards ended a disturbing eight-game winless run with a 2-0 victory over Thika United giving their newly installed Argentine tactician Rodolfo Zapata a sigh of relief.
Ingwe’s last victory was recorded on March 18 against Kakamega Hombeboyz. Since then, they drew six and lost two of their ensuing ties until Sunday afternoon when Whyvonne Isuza and Ezekiel Odera scored the priceless goals in the second half.
A resurgent Nakumatt has swapped positions with Sony Sugar at the foot of the table following their shock victory over former Tusker. Nakumatt, however, remain in relegation zone and must work their way past Thika and Zoo to ward of the red line zone.