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March 18, 2018

Wazito cautious: League debutants feel the heat as they face fired-up Ingwe today

Wazito FC’s David Oswe, challenges Kariobangi Sharks Duke Abuya. /OLIVE MORGAN
Wazito FC’s David Oswe, challenges Kariobangi Sharks Duke Abuya. /OLIVE MORGAN

Earlier in the season, while still basking in the glory of a historic debut victory in the Kenyan Premier League against Sony Sugar, Wazito coach Frank Ouna was quite frank in his assessment of his sides ambition.

Then, he maintained that his side were aiming to avoid relegation. Five matches in and their form indicates that beating the drop should essentially be their target. Today, they face a resurgent AFC Leopards hoping to improve on their run of four matches without a win since their triumph over Sony.

The experience of Moses Otieno, Mark Odhiambo and Kenneth Wendo will be required to get anything out of this rescheduled clash against

a resurgent Leopards. Ouna will take heart from their goalless draw against a Posta Rangers side that many had touted as title contenders but have struggled to live up to those expectations.

Wazito will need to be as organised defensively as they were against the mailmen if they are to keep the marauding Leopards’ attackers at bay.

Odhiambo and Athman Mbuki’s experience in the defense will be vital for Wazito. Ezekiel Odera, Marvin Nabwire and Brian Marita have forged a telepathic understanding upfront and the trio were all on target in their stunning come from behind victory over Mathare United four days ago.

Odera in particular has exhibited a form that made him a household name seven years ago when he scored goals for fun when he was a fresh-faced youngster playing for KCB. The deceptively languid finisher has scored four goals already this season and is on course to break his season tally of 11 goals achieved when he turned out for tie bankers in 2010.

The striker has emerged as a key player for caretaker coach, Dennis Kitambi, scoring in the two back-to-back duels the latter has been at the helm. While Leopards have averaged two goals a game, the second highest in the division behind Gor Mahia, Wazito have found hitting the back of the net a difficult task. Goals win games and the display the two the topflight newcomers have put this season attests to their struggles.

Wendo and his striking partners will need to find their range sooner rather than later if Wazito are to avoid being sucked into a relegation dogfight hardly quarter-way into their maiden topflight campaign. Victory over Leopards will move them from 14th to the top half of the standings while Ingwe will jump to second place behind Gor should they, as expected, take all three points in Machakos.

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