Sofapaka fails to break Bandari jinx, losing first fixture for the third time
With camaraderie back amongst footballers after the resumption of the sport in the country at the weekend, Sofapaka coach David Ouma was left ruing the team’s missed chances after they failed to break their season opening day jinx against Bandari, going down 2-1 at the Mbaraki grounds.
For the third season in a row, Sofapaka lost its opening match against Bandari and this time the 2009 champions’ coach David Ouma blamed his charges for wasting a glut of chances in the fixture.
“We started the match with a good momentum by sticking to the game plan, and I am glad it did not take long to break the deadlock through Joseph Waithera, who perfectly teamed up with Davis Kasiyre. We had a good command of the entire game, but I feel we should have done better in the closing stages of the match,” Ouma said.
He added: “We will have ourselves to blame because we played according to our strategy, but we gave our opponents space on the flanks in the dying minutes of each half and they punished us with late goals. Today we went down, but what matters moving forward is how we will bounce back to winning ways in our next fixture, because we have to in order to be within range with rest.”
In Nairobi, Gor Mahia coach Jonathan McKinstry said that the team has no reason to underperform, despite the Fifa embargo not to sign players notwithstanding after his side got off to a winning start.
The former Uganda Cranes and Rwanda’s Amavubi trainer said the team need not be crybabies for being suspended by the world body from enlisting new players and insisted that the younger lot who were sourced from the junior ranks have been ideal stopgaps.
“We have young players who are doing well. They are a spectacular lot and are a marvel of football players. Their decision-making and maturity are commendable and if you may ask me, we have no excuses not to win the league title,” said McKinstry.
The tactician made the remarks soon after his team made a dream start in the campaign by beating Nzoia Sugar 1-0 at Nyayo National Stadium, thanks to Benson Omala’s strike.
Since the embargo by Fifa, K’ogalo has mainly been relying on players from its junior cadre.
Before the start of the season, Gor suffered another set-back when its dependable striker Samuel Onyango decamped to Kabwe Warriors of Zambia.
Gor has been under restriction from Fifa after dismissing ex-players in Ugandan Shafik Batambuze, Tanzanian Dickson Ambundo and former coach Steven Polack without clearing their dues.
In the meantime, besides Gor, other teams which made a bright start in the new season were Tusker, AFC Leopards, Bandari, Bidco United and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).
But the victory by Gor, who were spurred on by their patron and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, was not devoid of controversy after Nzoia claimed to have been denied an equalising goal by Moses Mudavadi in the dying minutes.
Perhaps the shocker of the weekend was last season’s runners-up Kakamega Homeboyz losing 2-1 to reigning champions Tusker at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega after Lawrence Luvanda and Jackson Macharia struck for Tusker.
with Chris Masinza replying for Homeboyz with the latter’s new coach John Baraza promising to work on the frailties in their next match.
“We made a mistake and we were punished. I will strive to address the weakness in the coming game and all I can say is that It’s too early to judge us by the result,” offered Baraza who handled National Super League side Mara Sugar before joining Abana Abeingo.
Just like their arch-rivals Gor, AFC Leopards also had their patron Alex Muteshi amongst the fans and ultimately made him happy in a 2-0 win over Ulinzi Stars at Ulinzi Sports Complex.
Another surprise result was Bidco United from Thika beating Nairobi City Stars by two unanswered goals at Nyayo Stadium.