Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pre Match: Ulinzi (A)

The Leopards take on Ulinzi this weekend in Round 4 of the matches.

Gregory Mulemi writing for Kenyanstar reports:-

Ulinzi stars host AFC Leopards in what is set to be the weekend highlight in round four of the Kenya Premier League. With both sides still unbeaten in this season’s league, both coaches have expressed the desire of getting maximum points in this tie. 

Ulinzi stars coach Benjamin Nyangweso is hoping that he will emerge victorious in Sunday’s match. 

‘The mood in the camp is great and everybody is looking forward to this great match.’
Nyangweso says that the military side is taking the match just like any other match and will expect his charges to give everything just for the points.

‘I can tell you that there are no special preparations for this match. We treat the match just as any other tie and hopefully we will turn tables around.’ 

He has however rued injuries to Josiah Odhiambo, Kevin Simiyu and Enock Momanyi as a big problem going into tomorrows match.

‘We will be missing the services of Simiyu, Enock and Josiah Odhiambo. I have a backup plan thou because I know you cannot face AFC Leopards just as any other side. They are on top form, they have not conceded and I know that they will give us stiff competition. '

AFC Leopards’ coach Jan Koops is however aware of the threat Ulinzi might be posing to his side. 

‘ I have told my players to focus on tomorrow’s game and play their hearts out.' Koops says being top of the league table has motivated his players and they will be seeking to maintain that at all costs. 

Abbas Kiwalabye is missing in action and Koops confirmed that the stocky left back will be out for 4-5 weeks. Charles Okwemba has also been given sometime out and will be out of the first time under Koops' reign as coach.

‘ Abass is definitely out. He landed on a pipe in our last match against Oserian and hurt his knee. Okwemba is out for one week. He has not been in his best form and we thought it wise to give him some time to sort himself out. He will not be traveling with us.’

The much anticipated match is set to take place at the Afraha Stadium on Sunday from 3PM. In the reverse fixture last season, Leopards won by a solitary goal courtesy of Evans Wandera. Leopards leave for Nakuru on Saturday at 2PM

Francis Wadegu writing for The Star writes:-

AFC Leopards strong start to the 2012 Kenyan Premier League season faces a stern test tomorrow at Afraha Stadium Nakuru where they face former champions Ulinzi Stars in a clash that will give an indication of Jan Koop’s side’s ability to go all the away and end their 13 year wait for the national championship.

With seven points out of a possible nine and having not conceded a goal, Leopards go into this clash as league leaders and with striker Allan Wanga in the form of his life the soldiers know they have a fight on their hands. “Leopards have shown massive improvement over the last two years and we expect a tough game against them. The fact that we are at home will count for nothing against them because they are a big side with plenty of support across the country,” opined Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi coach.

Ulinzi, the 2010 champions will be a handful for the Leopards’ defence marshalled by the club’s most expensive buy, Eric Masika and Heritier Ndombele shielded by lankly skipper Martin Imbalambala. Ulinzi however, also have front men who can breach the best of defences. Evans Amuoka looks to have rediscovered the form that earned him call ups to the national team three years ago. Amuoka has already scored twice this season, in the last two matches, and looks to have formed a lethal partnership with new signing Kevin Amwayi.

Collins Okinyo writing for Supersport reports:

This will be the star match of the weekend as table toppers Ingwe take on 2010 champions Ulinzi Stars at their Afraha Stadium backyard. 

Leopards have enjoyed a great start to the season and coach Jan Koops will again keep faith with most of the boys that did duty against Oserian last weekend. 

Allan Wanga should again lead the attack with Jimmy Bageya in close support while veteran Mike Barasa is pushing for a place in the starting eleven after his goal last weekend. 

They will also draw confidence from their double win over the soldiers last season when they beat Ulinzi by identical 1-0 victories Nakuru and Nairobi. 

This season, Ulinzi have been blowing hot and cold and moving to unfamiliar six place on the log and coach Nyangweso will be looking for an improved performance from his players that include Kevin Amwayi, Stephen Waruru who has yet to score this season and Evans Amuoka to inspire the team. 

Predictions: Ulinzi 1 AFC Leopards 1

Carol Radull writing for The Star predicts a 2-1 win for Leopards.

Ulinzi Stars have had a rough start to the season. After recovering on the second week of matches to beat Karuturi Sport 2 – 1, the soldiers went on to draw 2-2 with the young boys in Thika. What was worrying about that result was that Ulinzi were 2 – 0 up at some point. I’m not sure where that past strength of character has gone but Benjamin Nyangweso needs to do something about it. 

AFC Leopards under Jan Koops meanwhile are on a role. They are currently top of the league and playing like champs. 

Since he took over at the helm in July last year, Koops has not lost a league match. Okay he lost a game 3 – 1 to Gor Mahia but he had only been in charge for two days. Since then he has managed to form a winning team. He has done something to the likes of Allan Wanga who is in the form of his life. Koops has created such depth in the side to the point that Mike Barasa can be a substitute. What? Keep it up Ingwe.

My Prediction: Ulinzi 1 – 2 Ingwe

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