BKPL: MATCHDAY 11 review

Matano gets the edge over Kimanzi

Robert The Lion Matano outwitted his counterpart Francis Kimanzi when Tusker defeated Wazito 1-0 in the opening fixture of Match Day 11. Contrary to expectation, the top of the table clash between the two seasoned veterans was a rather dull affair as both teams failed to create clear cut chances to break down the opposing defenses. Matano went for the jugular in the 65th minute with three changes. George Ogutu, Humphrey Mieno and Jackson Macharia came on for Boniface Muchiri, Otieno Apollo and Chrispinus Onyango. It looked like the game would end in a draw before super sub Jackson Macharia kept his composure in front of goal to slot past Levis Opiyo, who was making his debut for Wazito, with the last action of the game. That win ensured Matano’s Tusker ended Kimanzi’s five game winning streak to stay top of the table, one point ahead of second placed KCB who have a game in hand.

Still no way out of the cage for Zoo

Zoo hosted Bidco United in familiar territory, at Kericho Green Stadium, their home ground, hoping to record their first win of the campaign. This was the first time they were playing at the stadium after approval to host top flight matches. Heading to the match Zoo had only picked two points from the six games. The points came from the opening two draws against Bandari and Posta Rangers as the ensuing four games all ended in defeats. They faced Bidco United determined to change their fortunes but it wasn’t to be as Bidco walked away with a 2-0 win, leaving Zoo winless in seven, and on a five-game losing streak. Zoo remains to be the only side not to have recorded a win this season. They sit at the bottom of the log table on two points, seven points away from safety.

Mashemeji Derby fails to excite

The highlight and full attention on Match Day 11 was the Gor Mahia vs AFC Leopards clash at Kasarani Stadium. Even with no fans allowed in, the atmosphere of expectations was still there. Gor Mahia went to the game favored statistically. From the previous 88 derbies played, they had 30 wins compared to Leopard’s 27. The game had witnessed thirty one draws. On the pitch, it was a rather tasteless affair as the two teams struggled to create goal scoring opportunities. Kenneth Muguna continued his impressive showing for Gor Mahia spraying impressive passes all around the pitch. Elvis Rupia, AFC’s main man, went missing as he was kept in check by the Gor defensive pairing, limiting him to just two chances that didn’t trouble the goalkeeper. The derby, ending in a 0-0 draw was an anticlimax.

What’s happening at City?

After an impressive two wins in their opening three games upon returning to the top flight, City Stars have been on the decline. Nairobi City Stars have failed to record a win in eight straight games, a recipe to stir a bit of worry. Simba wa Nairobi lost 2-0 away to Kakamega Homeboyz to extend the losing streak to three straight games. The boys sponsored by Jonathan Jackson now find themselves in 13th place on the log with just ten points after eleven games played. Whatever it is, City Stars need to solve their problems and get back to winning ways lest they find themselves in the relegation places.

Sanjin Alagic

Fearless Mathare United

Of all the teams placed in relegation spots, none can boast of playing beautiful football as Salim Ali’s Mathare United. The Slum Boys have only failed to get on the scoresheet in two of the eight games they have already played. Led by the trio of Tyson Otieno, Daniel Otieno and James Kinyanjui, Mathare United are fearless. Daniel Otieno has scored four goals and chipped in with a further assist in the eight games played. Results have however not been going their way in their last four games, drawing two and slumping to defeat in two. They drew their last game against Western Stima in dramatic fashion as they conceded a last minute goal after losing concentration which has been their greatest undoing so far. They got back to winning ways on Match Day 11 courtesy of a James Kinyanjui goal that gave them all the three points against Nzoia Sugar. Now, they just need to keep the momentum going and concentrate on the game to move forward.

Mathare United player celebrating James Kinyanjui’s (3rd from left) goal against Nzoia Sugar FC on Monday 8 February

Western Stima developing a knack for late goals.

It’s never over until the fat lady sings, well, in this case until the referee blows his full time whistle especially against Abdalla Juma’s Western Stima. In the two games that the coach has overseen since being appointed as head coach, Stima have scored two late goals to rescue a point in each. Against Mathare United, Junior Mukisa scored with the last action of the second half to earn them a 1-1 draw. On Match Day 11 against Ulinzi Stars, Western Stima twice came from behind to force a 2-2 draw, with their second goal coming in the 83rd minute. Coach Abdalla’s message of staying in the game seems to have been decoded easily.

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