Barry Silah and Viden Ochieng
Ushuru’s stranglehold on top spot in the second-tier National Super League will come under huge test this weekend when they take on fifth-placed Kenya Police who are also chasing promotion.
Ken Kenyatta’s side dropped two vital points in their barren draw with fourth-placed KCB last weekend, allowing Nairobi Stima and Western Stima an opportunity to close in, and are now faced with a must-win situation if they have to retain their position at the summit. The taxmen have 42 points, one ahead of Nairobi Stima and two adrift of Western Stima, and with those two playing modest opponents in Kangemi All Stars and Kisumu All Stars respectively, Ushuru cannot afford to drop more points as they might find themselves third on the table come next week.
Police will not be pushovers, however, as they are full of confidence having had a solid start to the second leg and coach Charles Omondi is likely to deploy the fearsome attack of Patrick Oboya and Abraham Dawo.
The law enforcers, who have 37 points, won 1-0 away to Modern Coast Rangers last weekend and will narrow the gap between them and Ushuru to just two points should they prevail on Sunday.
“We know what to expect and our strategy going into the match is well crafted. Ushuru are a good side but we do not fear them,” said Omondi.
Meanwhile, second-placed Nairobi Stima will look to unleash the league’s top scorer Stephen Owusu on cash-strapped Kisumu All Stars tomorrow.
Ibrahim Shikanda’s men are just off a morale-boosting 4-1 win against Coast Stima and Owusu, who has 12 goals this season, alongside Job Omuse are likely to make life difficult for the lakeside outfit.
In another match, third-placed Western Stima can go top of the standings with victory against 13th-placed Kangemi All Stars at Camp Toyoyo grounds today.
Stima are likely to line up their new signings in defender John Oginga from Nairobi City Stars and Dennis Oduor from Sony Sugar, midfielder Berry Kote (Nairobi Stars), strikers Dennis Ochieng from Kisumu All Stars, Kevince Ochieng (Ushuru) and free agent Charles Kibet.
Another cash-strapped side Isibania FC have a tough date with fourth-placed KCB at Awendo Green Stadium tomorrow. It is, however, unclear if Isibania will honour the match after handing out a second walkover of the season against Western Stima last week.
“We are now thinking of disbanding this team. Some leaders including the Migori County government who promised to support us in second leg have not done anything and it is a sad state of affairs,” said Isibania team manager David Chacha.