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February 20, 2018

Defining moment

Ulinzi Stars’ hope of ending their six-year wait to be crowned Kenyan Premier League champions are disappearing in the horizon at a pace nobody envisaged.

Today they take to the pitch to face the team they last succeeded as champions Sofapaka knowing that anything but victory will postpone their objective for another season.

Already, the soldiers are 13 points adrift of top spot and will have played a game more than the league leaders by the close of business today.

With striker Stephen Waruru, having come back into the squad and firing from all cylinder, it was expected they would form a devastating partnership with new boy Samuel Onyango.

That though has not been the case with Waruru having lost his early season potency when he averaged a goal after two matches. It is a puzzle that coach Benjamin Nyangweso—a striker of no mean repute in his playing days—must be keen to crack.

Defensively, they have been solid as ever but they have never come up against free-scoring Ugandan Umar Kasumba. Brought in mid-season, Kasumba has lived up to expectations, netting nine goals to date to spur Sofapaka to second in the standings—six points behind Gor Mahia.

Batoto Ba Mungu’s hope of catching the league leaders lie on Kasumba’s shoulders along with the supporting cast of Ezekiel Okare and Timothy Ludda.

At the same venue, resurgent AFC Leopards have another opportunity to further widen the gap between them and the relegation zone when they host Sony Sugar.

Leopards have rediscovered their swagger in recent weeks to shelve fears of relegation and are now focussed on a top right finish.

Sony felled Tusker over the weekend and Salim Babu will hope a repeat of the same against Leopards who fighting for a respectable finish. The two clashes are set to be aired through Bamba Sport.

Bandari FC travel to play Nzoia Sugar at Sudi Stadium with Paul Nkata worried of his two first eleven regulars who are nursing injuries. The dockers will be without Enock Agwanda and Edwin Lavatsa who are sidelined after failing to recover on time. However, Nkata believes his side will end the win-less streak which has stretched to four games “We have had adequate preparations although Agwanda and Lavatsa are injured. We haven’t won in our last four games but we hope to beat Nzoia and get back to our winning ways. It is a tough game at Sudi since they have the home fans support but we will do our best.”

Ruaraka ground is set to host a double header this evening where Posta Rangers will descend to wrestle Muhoroni Youth in a early kick off before paving way for Tusker who welcome Zoo Kericho later in the evening.

Miles away at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Mathare United and Kariobangi Sharks face off in what will be a clash of two clubs with similar playing style. This will be one tie to watch as the two teams that know each other inside out. Thika United host Nakumatt FC while Western Stima play Kakamega Homeboyz at Moi Stadium Kisumu.

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