K’Ogalo await coronation, Ulinzi still hopeful
Gor Mahia will be declared the 2015 Kenyan Premier League champions if they beat title rivals Ulinzi Stars at Afraha Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In fact, so long as they avoid defeat against the soldiers, a third straight league crown will be as good as have been won.
Perched at the summit of the log with 62 points from 25 matches, Gor Mahia have effectively locked out all the other teams from the title race with Ulinzi – on 50 points from 25 matches – being the only team with mathematical chances of catching up with them.
That would mean Ulinzi winning all their remaining five matches – beginning with Sunday’s encounter – and Gor Mahia losing all their last six matches.
But given that in all 24 matches this season, Gor are yet to taste defeat, chances of them losing six straight matches at the tailend of business is such a long short – barring a calamity of unimaginable proportion. Perhaps an improbability.
The 12-point gap between the two teams means that even a draw in the match will significantly reduce Ulinzi’s title on one hand and boost Gor’s on the other hand, given the latter’s massive goal difference.
The best Ulinzi could do is to prolong K’Ogalo’s victory celebration, if they subject Gor Mahia to their first loss of the season.
While K’Ogalo have maintained the top spot of the league table for the entire season, Robert Matano’s men have struggled to stay in touch with Gor.
Granted, the soldiers have been on a fine form lately, but Gor are still the favourites for the match.
However, Ulinzi striker Mark Makwatta has said his team is not giving up the fight for the title just yet.
“We have beaten them (Gor) enough times before, I don’t see why we can’t do it again. Our team is enjoying great form and we have gathered momentum in recent matches so although we do not expect an easy game, I believe they we can win the match,” Makwatta told Nairobi News yon Friday.
Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall on his part does not want to get ahead of himself. The Scot says he will approach the fixture with utmost concentration and respect for the opposition.
“Nothing is certain. It looks like a title decider to others but for us it is just another match that we need to win,” he said.
While Ulinzi will miss the services of defender Brian Birgen through suspension, there are no such worries for Gor Mahia.
Also this weekend, ten-time champions Tusker FC will be seeking to keep alive their hopes of a top three finish when they visit Bandari in Mombasa.
The brewers are winless in five matches, and currently lie fourth on the table with 38 points from 25 outings.
Tusker’s mission to stay in that position is however under threat from the chasing trio of Muhoroni Youth (36), AFC Leopards (35) and Bandari (35) who are fifth, sixth and seventh in that order.
Muhoroni, who are on an upward trajectory with an 11-match unbeaten record, will host Mathare United at Muhoroni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
At the Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani, 13-time champions AFC Leopards will play Western Stima behind closed doors.
The club’s vociferous fans are serving a two-match ban as punishment for the chaos they caused in Thika two months ago.
GOtv Shield holders Sofapaka will do battle against Sony Sugar away in Awendo on Saturday afternoon, while Nakuru All Stars and KCB will take on each other in a survival battle.
AFC Leopards vs Western Stima (Kasarani – 11am)
Bandari vs Tusker (Mombasa – 2pm)
Muhoroni Youth vs Mathare United (Muhoroni – 3pm)
SonySugar vs Sofapaka (Awendo – 3pm)
Nakuru All Stars vs KCB (Afraha – 2pm)
Ulinzi Stars vs Gor Mahia (Afraha – 4.15 pm)