The Star (Nairobi)

6 July 2012

Kenya: Slum Boys Toil

Mentioning the name of Mathare United and relegation in the same sentence sounds quite an oddity. However, that is what the 2008 champions will have to get used to until they move further away from the 13th position, which they currently occupy, just three points shy of the drop zone. Stanley Okumbi's slum boys responded well to the adversity they have faced since the season began, by beating Karuturi sports in their first match of the second leg. They will need a similar performance today when they host fifth-placed Thika United.

Mathare have enjoyed improved form since the return to the squad of the experienced duo of skipper Anthony Kimani and goalkeeper Martin Musalia.This is the same experience they will have to show against Thika's front men Kefa Aswani and Moses Arita. "We have prepared well for the match and we just hope to put into use what we have been doing in training. I am confident we will get the three points against Thika United," said Okumbi. Thika's shock 1-0 home loss to Nairobi City Stars in their first match of the second leg was a major setback in their bid to challenge the top teams.

But with the likes of Aswani, Arita, Francis Kahata and Godfrey Miheso leading their attack, it will not be beyond them to reverse the result against City Stars. Thika will be without international left back Dennis Odhiambo, who has only just resumed training after sitting six weeks out with injury while Mathare's young defender Tyrus omondi is out on suspension.

In the second match of the KPL double header to be screened live on SuperSports, second-placed Sofapaka will be hoping to bounce back from their loss to AFC Leopards that denied them the chance to go top of the league,when they host new boys Muhoroni Youth. Salim Ali's men can still go top above champions Tusker on goal difference if they snatch all three points against relegation candidates Muhoroni but it will not be easy.

Striker Bob Mugalia, who has had an injury ravaged season will likely miss the match after aggravating an eye injury but league leading top scorer John Baraza will be available to lead the hunt for goals. Former Sofapaka man Harry Gentle will be tasked with keeping the serial goal poacher at bay while his compatriot and new signing Abbey Kunkunrumi will spearhead the attack. A win for 'Muho' will lift them off the dreaded zone.

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