Friday, August 5, 2011

Pre Match: Rangers (A)

Sammy Kitula of the Nation goes with a story headlined: ‘Ingwe’ hope to find the network against Rangers

It could have been a championship match of epic proportions, but instead, Friday's Rangers versus AFC Leopards Kenyan Premier League under the Nyayo National Stadium floodlights has been toned down significantly.

What with the once high-flying Rangers managing a solitary win in their last five league outings, and capped with a failure to capitalise on a number of opportunities presented their way.

Still, David Ouma and his men will want to end the season on a positive note.
And that could be winning their first league title, only to prove to the rest of the league that they’re on the same level as Ulinzi Stars, Gor Mahia or even Tusker FC.
Friday's 7pm kick-off also presents Rangers with the opportunity to spoil Tusker’s plans at a league title, something that at this stage of the season Ouma’s men will be delighted to play a part in.
Victory over “Ingwe” will see Rangers top the log, yet again, with a narrow two-point lead over the brewers on 36, who settled for a barren draw with Gor Mahia on Wednesday night.
Surely, there would be nothing more that Leopards’ head coach, Jan Koops, would like right now, than spoiling Rangers’ chance of overhauling Tusker at the helm, while at the same time breathing a sigh of respite going by his side’s recent poor form. “We know that this will be a tough match for us.

“Leopards have always been a stubborn opponent, but we will give it our best shot and go back at the top of the table,” said Ouma. Rangers have not been great on the road in the second leg, and this is a prime opportunity for the Leopards to pounce on their weakened opponents.

Gilbert Wandera of The Standard runs with the story:-

Rangers will go back to the top of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) if they stop AFC Leopards tonight at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Currently, Rangers lie second on the log after being overtaken by Tusker who managed a barren draw against Gor Mahia on Wednesday night.

It has been a tough start for Rangers in the second leg and they are yet to replicate the form of the first leg where they won a number of matches and finished at the top of the standings at the break.

Even coach David Ouma has admitted that the second leg has not been as successful as they have being forced to play cautiously.

"This is the last leg of the league and everybody is coming to us at full throttle. In the circumstances, I have been forced to be cautious and opt to rely on counter-attacks. This is our plan for Leopards," he said.

With veteran goalkeeper Lawrence Webo injured, Victor Omondi is likely to start in goal for Rangers. Team captain Pascal Ochieng’ will be the key plank in defence given his current form while Edwin Mwaura should be relied in front of goal.

But if history is to repeat itself, Leopards start favourites having won the first leg 3-1 and go into the match on a positive note by virtue of the fact that they collected maximum points in their last fixture against Western Stima.

Another motivation for Leopards is the fact that they will move into the top ten position if they beat Rangers tonight.

The 13-time national champions have been on a resurgence of sorts and would not want to let it go. Coach Jaan Koops is happy that Mike Barasa is back after being injured in the last match against Western Stima.

Veteran striker Osca Kadenge is another reliable player in the Leopard’s side.

Barasa has scored eight goals so far averaging one goal every match and remains the biggest inspiration for a limping Leopard side.

In goal Barnabas Tiema has been in great shape after too many blunders and is tipped to start. Martin Imbalambala has also started getting more matches in defence and is growing in confidence. His presence should bring more stability at the back.

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