The second half of the 2015 Kenya Premier League, arguably one of the best in recent memory, will kickoff Friday, June 26 with a befitting double-header clash at the Kasarani Stadium.
Mathare United will host Ulinzi Stars in a 5pm kick off, before fading Tusker host faded Nakuru All Stars under the floodlights. Be sure to follow us on twitter @Four4TwoMedia or on Facebook to get Live updates from now till curtains comes down.
Friday, June 26
Mathare United vs Ulinzi Stars – Kasarani Stadium, 5pm
A battle of former champions who are struggling to reestablish themselves as being among the top clubs in the Kenya Premier League. Mathare, the 2008 champions, have brought in new blood and re-signed old guards in a bid to challenge for top honors. Edward Seda and Edwin Lavatsa, formerly of AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia respectively, are part of the Slum Boys’ new look team. Returning prodigal son, Andrew Tololwa, had two fantastic seasons at Mathare and will be hoping he can hit the ground running on his second coming. Ulinzi Stars, four-time winners but whose last title was in 2008, are currently sitting third on the log. Robert Matano has helped them fish out a couple of results on the road but Mathare are unbeaten this season when playing hosts (Win 3, Draw 4). Stanley Okumbi’s side, however, have lost their last two matches against the Soldiers which included the 2-1 loss in the first leg, and have only 3 victories in their last 13 matches against Matano’s men. Tough one to call, a draw looks likely.
Tusker vs Nakuru All Stars – Kasarani Stadium, 7:15pm
Tusker had problems of their own in the first leg. Inconsistency and lack of confidence in the players made the team post their worst results in recent times. The club finished the half season 7th, a very low position by their standards, leaving coach Francis Kimanzi at risk of losing his job. However, the Tusker management decided to stick with him, giving him a new lease of life. They face a Nakuru All Stars side that will be breathing fresh air after the capture of Patrick Oboya, Shaban Odhoji and striker John ‘Softy’ Ndirangu. Tusker captain James Situma says that his team is ready to rumble and will try and earn every point this second leg. The odds favor Tusker over the bottom side bearing the fact that the Brewers are playing at home and have won their last two encounters, scoring 6 goals and conceding once.
Saturday, June 27
KCB vs Bandari – Kasarani Stadium, 1:30pm
KCB Coach Rishadi Shedu has clearly stated that he is going for nothing short of a win when his side meets his former employers in Saturday’s early fixture. Despite losing Ronald Musana and Paul Mungai Kiongera, the Bankers still have the necessary firepower having landed striker George Banda from Yanga while Athman Buki and Luke Ochieng have arrived from Tusker, and Ellie Asieche from Sofapaka. Bandari on the other hand have had a quiet transfer window. The Dockers, 10th on the log, have decided to stick to their guns which might just work in their favor. They finished their last five matches unbeaten which must have convinced coach Twahir Muhiddin that all is well. They beat KCB 3-1 in the first leg encounter but neither of the teams have managed back-to-back wins in this tie.
Ushuru vs Sony Sugar – Kasarani Stadium, 3:30pm
Ushuru recorded a five-match unbeaten run just before the mid-season break. Ken Kenyatta seems to have found a fine working formula for his side. However, they collapsed in the second half last season, picking only one win in 15 matches and hopefully Kenyatta picked a few lessons from there. Sony Sugar coach Zedekiah Otieno says they will try as much as possible to get back into the top 8 after a disastrous first half of the season that saw them go to the break in the 12th spot. The acquisition of Justin Monda and Joel Bataro should spark some confidence in the Millers’ squad as they fight mid-table mediocrity. They have won all their last three meetings with Ushuru, scoring four goals without conceding.
Chemelil Sugar vs Gor Mahia – Afraha Stadium, 2pm
Chemelil struggled to find a consistent level of performance during the first leg of the season. They only managed to get two wins and were the draw masters, 9 in total, as they finished on 15 points, good enough for an 11th place. Saturday’s fixture against two-time defending champions Gor Mahia is just Chemelil would have wanted to avoid at this stage. Head coach Mike Mururi has signed Titus Wamalwa and re-signed Jairus Adira as they aim to get only their second win ‘at home’ this season. For Kogalo, this seems nothing but a routine win for them. They go into the match at the back of a 3-0 drubbing of Lang’ata Gremio in the Gotv Shield Cup, but more impressively, they have won their last 7 encounters against Chemelil.
Sofapaka vs Western Stima – Machakos Stadium, 3pm
Head coach Sam Timbe and David Ouma have been missing from the Sofapaka training for two weeks now. Coach Timbe is in protest over the way his core players were let go without being replaced with better players. Danson Kago, Enock Agwanda, Elly Asieche and Fiston Abdul are just some of the names that left the 2009 champions and the squad looks malnourished. Western Stima coach Henry Omino says this is the perfect time to face Batoto Ba Mungu and will ‘surprise them in Machakos.’ The ‘Powermen’ have signed former international Mike Baraza but he will not feature in Saturday’s match. Stima edged the first leg clash 3-2. This fixture has witnessed 12 goals in the last 3 matches and it could be another high-scoring encounter.
Thika United vs AFC Leopards – Thika Stadium, 4:15pm
Thika United, coached by Briton Tim Bryett, were unlucky not to have picked all the three points in Mumias in their 1-1 draw against AFC Leopards when they met in March. Bryett, an ardent Liverpool FC fan, says they will aim to strangle Leopards this time round. For Leopards, head coach Zdravko Logarusic is back from Zagreb but he comes to head a side that has a quite an unfamiliar look. Captain Martin Imbalambala, topscorer Jacob Keli, keeper Wycliffe Kasaya, midfielder Edward Seda and Joel Bataro have all left the 13-time KPL champions. They have only signed goalkeeper Lucas Indeche who is a sure starter on Saturday. An intriguing clash this will be, could prove to be a cracker.
Nairobi City Stars vs Muhoroni Youth – Ruaraka, 3pm
A meeting of two sides who are fighting relegation. Nairobi City Stars have not improved from last season where they got relegated, while Muhoroni have gone backwards. City Stars finished the first leg of the season with a 6-match unbeaten run, but only once did they win, the rest being draws. Muhoroni on the other hand lost four of their last 6 matches, picking only two draws as they dropped to second from bottom. Muhoroni have been busy during the mid-season transfer window, signing among others, Gor Mahia duo Kevin Oluoch and Taofic Zakari while also handing new deals to skipper Abbas Akinyemi while also ending ties with seven players. These two sides drew 0-0 in the first leg, but it is Muhoroni who have the advantage having won 5 and lost just one of their 7 matches against their hosts this weekend.