Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pre Match: Ulinzi

Leopards face defending champions Ulinzi Stars away at Afraha Stadium in Nakutu this afternoon in a third consecutive Leopards match to be beamed live on Supersport.

First let us start with the negatives. Carol Radul still predicts a third Leopards loss in a row.

The other negative is the report by Secretary General that some goons may have been hired to disrupt the match. The report is carried on MichezoAfrika and states:-

Newly elected AFC Leopards Secretary General Josephat Bukachi has called on fans to be extra vigilant during the Kenyan Premier League match pitting hosts Ulinzi FC and AFC Leopards game at Nakuru on Saturday afternoon. This is after the newly elected team got wind of what he claimed was a plot to disrupt the match by former ousted AFC Leopards officials.

According to Bukachi, several of the hired goons confided to them on how they had been paid and Nissans hired to ferry them to cause chaos during the match. Not willing to take any chance, Bukachi told that they had liaised with the host team and asked them to put in place adequate security measures to ensure all fans are safe.

“According to the some of the goons, three Nissans have been hired and will be used in ferrying them to the match venue with the intention of causing chaos. Of course this is disturbing news and we would take the earliest opportunity to categorically condemn such acts. We stand for peace and would like to urge the fans turning out to maintain the same and assure them that the host team has put in elaborate security measures to ensure they are safe. Anyone with the intention of causing chaos will be dealt with accordingly as per the laws.” said Bukachi.

A contingent of confirmed four hundred AFC leopards fans have already bought tickets and will be travelling from Nairobi for the encounter.After beating Posta Rangers 3-1 last week,Ingwe will be out to prove that was no fluke when they face the defending champions.

Only last week, former chairman Julius Ochiel and his secretary general Robert Asembo were met with hostile reception at the City Stadium during the AFC Leopards’ vs. Rangers Match. The two officials had to run for their dear lives under heavy missiles from the infuriated fans that descended on them with slaps, kicks, blows and all manners of nasty insults.

Hopefully, it is a false alarm. Now to the positives! There is a buzz in the press with most newspapers reporting about the game.

Winless Ulinzi Stars welcome rising AFC Leopards at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium in the match of the day on Saturday. The tie offers an attractive phase-off between a struggling champion and a resurging wannabe champ intent on sending a message, and has been made more alluring by uncertainties of both benches.

First Ulinzi. After reports this week emerged that their league winning coach Benjamin Nyangweso had been sacked over a poor run by the military side, the club’s secretary Joe Birgen denied the development and in fact offered that the coach was going to South Africa for a three-month training course.
But it is now emerging that the Ulinzi football management met last and decided to sack Nyangweso and elevate his assistant Sammy Simiyu to the top position on the bench.
Nyangweso, the 2010 KPL coach of the year, did not want to get into the details of his rather unceremonious exit only saying: “I do not know what is going on. I have not been told anything but I am not with the team now. The truth will come out.”
Ulinzi, for whatever reason, have not officially announced anything. Perhaps, like the soldiers they are, they do not want to show they have panicked. But clearly Simiyu is now the man in charge, barely weeks into the season.

Over at AFC Leopards, their official head coach Robert Bollon has gone absent without official leave. The coach was reported in some internet sites to have complained over interference in his job.
The team’s technical director, Robert Matano, dismissed such talk attributed to the Belgian saying the coach should listen to advice from the rest of his team since he did not know the players well. “We do not know where he (Bollon) is. For now I and Eliud Omukuyia are handling the team,” Matano said. Matano, a league winning coach with Sofapaka in 2009, said he will not change the side that so emphatically beat Rangers 3-1 at Nyayo Stadium last week.

Ulinzi won both fixtures last season but in their current vulnerable state, Leopards will fancy their chances. The starting line-up should have team captain Nicholas Muyoti, Liberian Abraham Cokie, forwards Brian Masiolo and the Congolese duo if Laurent Tumba and Demonde Selenge. Ulinzi will be in desperate need of a win if only to restore some level of confidence. With several internationally capped players the likes Francis Ochieng, Mulinge Munandi, Geoffrey Kokoyo, Lawrence Owino and Stephen Waruru they will offer Leopards a massive challenge.“We beat Rangers last weekend and we are confident we can also beat the champions. Morale is very high in camp,” Muyoti said on Friday.

The Standard keeps up a good analysis that calms any disruption nerves. Robin Toskin also compiles a had to head analysis.

Even more good news from the Standard is that Imbem is fully fit. 

AFC Leopards have been boosted by the return of their talisman Itubu Imbem ahead of this afternoon’s clash with champions Ulinzi Stars at the Afraha Stadium. Imbem has been out of action for more than six weeks after fracturing his jaw during the teams tour of Western Province in January. His return to the team is a major boost for stand-in coach Eliud Omukuyia since the Congolese international was the team’s top goal scorer last season with six goals. He is also expected to fill the gap left by striker Brian Masiolo who has been ruled out because of a knee injury. Leopards will also be without central defenders Martin Imbalala and John Amboko, who are both nursing ankle injuries. Team manager Bernard Onyango said they would start with skipper Nicholas Muyoti and Gabriel Israel at the central defence in the absence of the injured players.

To crown it all, KenyanStar has probably the best and most detailed pre-match analysis.

Our big preview this weekend moves from the busy city of Nairobi and head to the flamingo town of Nakuru. Kenyan premier league defending champions Ulinzi stars will be welcoming former giants AFC Leopards at their Afraha stadium backyard, in the glare of Supersport cameras. One might argue that the Afraha stadium may not be an away ground for the Leopards as they enjoy a vast fan base in the Rift valley town, but the pundits will be knocked down hard with the fact that the home team, Ulinzi stars only lost a single match on the pitch last season.

The stadium which has a capacity of holding over 5,000 fans is expected to swell and flood with a mixture of ingwe and Ulinzi fanatics. A section of the Leopards fans are also expected to travel to the town, but will be met with a troop of die had Ulinzi fans especially from the Lanet barracks.

Away from the fan supremacy and onto the pitch, this match promises to give more than what meets the eye. AFC Leopards are fresh from an emphatic 3-1 victory over Rangers FC and may also be motivated by the fact that at last they might have settled their leadership soap operas. Ulinzi on the other hand are wounded soldiers who would want to regain their feet after starting the season on a sour loosing 4 straight competitive matches, with coach Benjamin Nyangweso branding the tie a “must win” case.

Last season, Ulinzi prevailed over Leopards home and away, beating them 2-0 at home and finishing off with a 1-0 victory away. But the Leopards side they played last season has all changed, with the exception of a few like Demonde Selenga. All the others are fresh blood signed in the January transfer period. But on the soldiers’ side, the team still remains compact without major changes.

Two former Leopards players in the name of Collins Kisuya and Geoffrey Kokoyo will face with the team they once played for in their build ups to their now towering soccer careers.

The bull fights

Each team displays a totally different approach to the game and this is promising an interesting game ahead. Leopards’ game entails a lot of patience building from behind and attacking from the flanks when they enter the opponents half. Their speedy wingers in the name of Salim Kinje and Demonde Selenga proved they can fully do the duty by destroying Rangers in the same manner.

For Ulinzi, they are known to square things from their own half. Building up slowly then hitting the run on the counter. Their wingers, Stephen Waruru and Chester Okoyo have been seen to exhibit immense speed especially on the counter and this will be Leopards’ main headache. However that has not paid off so much this season as they have not been seen to fully utilize their game plan, but as the league now begins to hot up, the soldiers are expected to be riffled from their back seats and inject a considerable amount of seriousness.

The biggest battle of the game will be on the flanks: Salim Kinje against Collins Kisuya and Demonde Selenga against Mulinge Ndetto.

AFC Leopards main undoing will be their goalkeeping with Barnabas Tiema proving not reliable in their last two games. The goal he conceded against rangers this weekend probably displayed a lot not to be desired from the custodian. He spilled in a seemingly harmless shot from Joseph Nyaga; though his team went on to win the game.

For Ulinzi, coach Nyangweso will have to worry much about his attack which has not seen the net for 360 minutes of football time this year.

Team News

The ingwe coach was conspicuously missing in action last week and with the stand-in coach Robert Matano fielding a winning team different from the one Bollen played with against Tusker, he might as well be on his way out.

Martin Imbalambala still remains doubtful for the weekend game after he picked up an injury in their first match against Tusker FC. There are no other players worrying Matano with injuries.

On the Ulinzi side, Coach Nyangweso will be worried by the absence of centre back Josiah Okello due to suspension while his deputy captain Evans Amuoka will also miss after suffering a twisted arm in their away trip to Egypt late last month.

Probable line ups

Ulinzi stars:

Francis Ochieng will most likely start in goal with Mulinge Ndetto starting at Right back. The absence of Josiah Okello will force Hussein Mohammed to move into centyral defense to partner with Geoffrey Kokoyo, while Collins Kisuya who made an impressive debut against Gor over the weekend will comfortably start at left back.

In the centre of the pack, captain Stephen Ochollah is dimmed to start, partnering with Erick Apul. Lawrence owino might be gifted a chance to start on the left side of mid field especially after the regular starter Chester Okoyo has failed to impress in the last few matches. Stephen Waruru will most likely start on the right. In attack Mike Barasa will most likely partner with George Otieno, with Otieno dipping more into the midfield and Barasa playing a few yards ahead of him.

AFC Leopards:

Matano might still go with the line up that beat Rangers over the weekend. Tiema stays in goal with John Amboko and captain Nicholas Muyoti partnering in central defense.

Douglas Okumu will play the left side of midfield with Edgar waodo on the right.

In midfield, Abraham Cokie will partner with the influential Salim Kinje with Selenga and Laurent Tumba playing the flanks. The attack will see Brian Masiolo and Joseph Okumu hunt for goals.

No comments:

Post a Comment