NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – Just a day after celebrating the club’s 55th birthday, AFC Leopards will have little time to party as their new found form will come under sharp focus when they face a stern Sofapaka test at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Wednesday afternoon.
Ingwe banished a six-game losing streak with back to back victories over Sony Sugar and Tusker FC and the club will be looking to take that count to three when they take on third placed Batoto ba Mungu.
AFC has been boosted with the news on Tuesday afternoon that their defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng will be eligible to play after the Harambee Stars defender received his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) from Sweden.
“I am glad that I can finally play but I don’t think I am yet in a position to start because it has been long since I played. But I am ready if the coach wants me to start then I have to do my best,” Ochieng noted.
He added; “This is the first step of my journey back to the top and hopefully I will give the best to the team.”
Ochieng’s addition will be a huge plus for the AFC defense that had been leaking goals before their victory over Sony in Kakamega.
Head coach Cassa Mbungo will also hope Ochieng’s experience in his vast career will help propel the team off the bottom half of the table as they are currently languishing at 14th spot with 16 points, five away from the top half.
The first leg between these two sides ended 2-2 but it promises to be a cracker when they meet again at Bukhungu.
Meanwhile, Sofapaka will go top of the standings with victory on Wednesday. They sit third with 30 points, just two shy of early leaders Bandari and a victory will put them on top of everyone.
“That is the motivation we have as a team because, you can never count the matches you have not played. Being on top of the league is itself a morale boosting thing to the players and that is our target. To go up there and remain there,” Sofapaka coach John Baraza said.
He added; “We expect a very tough game beyavse AFC are in good form and that means there is something positive they are doing. It is always tough against them and it will not be different this time.”
Sofapaka will welcome back defensive stalwart Mousa Omar who missed last weekend’s massive 3-0 win over Chemelil Sugar in Awasi, but they will still be without the injured trio of Dennis Odhiambo, Michael Oduor and Mohammed Kilume.
“Dennis has trained very well and he is back up in contention. But we felt this match is too early for him but next week he should be available. Mohammed has just started light training but probably in the next three or four weeks we should be looking at him back,” Baraza opined.
In the other midweek ties, Kariobangi Sharks will be at home against Nzoia Sugar at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani, the reigning FKF Shield champions looking to get themselves back into title contention.
After two draws in their last three games, Sharks find themselves dropping down to fifth spot with 26 points and boss William Muluya will be aiming to get back to winning ways against a Nzoia side that has lost four of its last five games.
Nzoia, still without replacement for Nicholas Muyoti as head coach, are struggling to keep afloat and are 11th in the standings with 20 points.
The first leg in Sudi ended 0-0 and it was the first time the sugar millers were getting a point off Sharks, the latter having won all the preceding four ties.
KPL Wednesday midweek fixtures:
Western Stima vs Chemelil Sugar FC – Kisumu – 3pm
AFC Leopards vs Sofapaka – Bukhungu – 3pm
Kariobangi Sharks vs Nzoia Sugar FC – Kasarani – 3pm
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