FIFA break a blessing to Sofapaka, says Haringingo ahead of league resumption

Thursday, September 14th, 2023 01:00 | By
Sofapaka’s Francis Haringingo (right) give instructions to players during the team’s training at Eastleigh High School. PHOTO/ Rodgers Ndegwa

Sofapaka coach Francis Haringingo has said the Fifa international break came at the right time for his side as they prepare to take on Posta Rangers in their matchday three of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League on Sunday.

Batoto ba Mungu kicked off their 2023-24 season campaign with a 1-1 draw against champions Gor Mahia before they suffered a 1-0 defeat against visiting Bandari FC. Afterwards, the league took a break to pave the way for the international break which saw Kenya’s Harambee Stars play two friendly matches – a 2-1 win against Qatar and a 1-0 defeat against South Sudan on Tuesday.

According to the Burundian tactician, who arrived at Sofapaka from Rwanda where he had guided Rayon Sports to the Peace Cup trophy in the last campaign, the Fifa break was a huge blessing to his side as it helped the technical bench to study and rectify mistakes from their opening matches and get ready to face the Mailmen. During the period, they also managed to seal the signing of veteran midfielder Humphrey Mieno.

“We have trained well for the last weeks since our last match (against Bandari) and I must admit the FIFA break came at the right time for my team because we have been able to reflect and anaylse our past two matches and we have had the opportunity to rectify mistakes of where we did wrong,” said Haringingo.

He added: “We are now prepared to return to action, we are ready to battle against Posta Rangers, it will not be an easy game, of course, they have a good team, and on top of that they (Posta) won their last assignment by a convincing result but it will not scare us from giving our best and for the maximum points.”

The game against Posta could see Sofapaka hand midfielder Humphrey Mieno a start having sealed a one-year transfer switch to the side following his exit from Tusker FC. This will be the third time Mieno is parading for Batoto ba Mungu after he refused to extend his stay with the Brewers at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda has maintained his support for coach Tom Juma despite the team’s mixed start to the season. Ingwe have so far played two matches in the league, drawing 0-0 against FC Talanta before losing 1-0 against KCB but according to Shikanda, they are behind Juma, who replaced Belgian Patrick Aussems on a permanent basis.

“I have a million percent confidence in him (Juma), we are continuing, the fact that we actually settled on Juma was so that we have continuity in the technical bench because we knew we were going to restart in the playing unit, so if we could have restarted in the playing unit and restarted in the technical bench we could have sunk further,” Shikanda told People Sports.

On the team’s struggle to find the back of the net from the first two matches, Shikanda said: “Having not scored in two matches, this is football, and these things will happen, remember before we started signing the players, we had this issue of Fifa which was actually blocking us from our preparations, I believe the team is now ready, and we are ready to battle out, I want to sit comfortably because I know I have a team.”

Ingwe will return to action with a home game against Muhoroni Youth at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.

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