Gor accuse Sofapaka of ‘sabotage’ as Tusker cheer
Tusker FC had the last laugh as round 25 of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) concluded on Sunday, after closest rivals, Gor Mahia FC, dropped two points against Sofapaka FC with the champions accusing their opponents of ‘sabotage’.
The Brewers lead the log on 48 points; four above Gor with five games to go after the relegation-threatened 2009 champions forced the titleholders to a 0-0 stalemate.
Speaking to Citizen Digital, Gor Mahia Secretary General Ronald Ngala rued the chance lost to close in on Tusker accusing the bottom side of playing to wreck their title chances.
“It was like sabotage, because you could see they were fighting for a point which had no impact on their survival chances. They played like a final and you wonder where the stubborn goalkeeper was all along when they were losing almost every match.
“Had they played the way they did yesterday (Sunday) they would definitely not be at the bottom,” Ngala complained.
“It is a big blow to our bid to lift the KPL title for a fourth time in a row. We were relieved to have reduce the seven-point gap between us and Tusker to only two. Failing to maintain it was disappointing,” he further lamented.
Ngala maintains the title chase is not over as they bid to complete an unprecedented fourth in a row and 16th overall title as he admitted living up to their unbeaten 2015 was proving to be hard.
“We will accept the league is gone if Tusker will be ahead of us by more than three points after the 29th. The mistake people are making is comparing our performance with that of last season which was an exceptional year.
“Our players are playing under pressure because of the slow start we had at the beginning of first and second legs, so you can’t blame them,” the official charged.
Captain Jerim Onyango challenged his teammates to remain positive despite the latest setback in a run that has yielded six draws from their last eight league fixtures.
The keeper conceded Tusker were favourites to dethrone them from the crown if they maintain the momentum before their final day clash on November 19.
“Against Sofapaka everyone gave their best but we were unlucky. It does not end our hopes since we don’t know how Tusker will play in their upcoming matches. Every remaining match is a final to us, losing will be throwing away the league to them,” the skipper told Citizen Digital.
On his part, Tusker head coach, Paul Nkata was chuffed by the strong hand in the title race they got from dogged Sofapaka.
“I expected a win for Gor, but that’s football. Of course the result favours us but it is not done for them. We are scoring goals but we need to defend better,” the former Uganda Cranes international added.
Tusker beat his immediate former club Muhoroni Youth FC 2-1 on Friday to pile pressure on the champions.
The competition resumes in a fortnight when Gor take on third placed Western Stima as Tusker travel to Bandari FC.
Aside from the title chase, round 25 also witnessed unsavoury scenes when AFC Leopards fans barricaded their players after they slumped to a third defeat of the season to Western Stima on Saturday.
The 1-0 reverse left Ezekiel Akwana winless in his caretaker role with the former captain launching a scathing attack on his men after defeat left Leopards (29) stuck in 12th.
“Many of the players do not know what it means to play for Leopards, to wear the Leopards jersey. Many of them are just here to earn a salary. They think they have made it,” Akwana told SuperSport after the defeat.
It ended a miserable week for the club after sordid reports denied by the Leopards surfaced alleging four of them had contracted Sexually Transmitted Infections from the same lady.
Struggling Nairobi City Stars (17) caused the biggest upset of the round when they came from behind to maul Bandari 3-1 on the road in a performance that echoed their great escape acts of previous seasons.
Ken Odhiambo blamed his Dockers for lack of consistency with his team 11th on 31 as the Kawangware-based side inched to within seven points of safety.
Ulinzi Stars under the tutelage of Benjamin Nyangweso also lost to Chemelil Sugar FC by the same margin, dropping to sixth as the Sugar Millers leapt to fourth just a point behind Stima who have 40.
“I am not happy with the result but still I think that it was a good game. There was a reduced sense of urgency because the strikers kept wasting the chances they created and when Chemelil got their chance they made use of it. We have lost but the spirit remains strong,” Nyangweso who led the soldiers to the 2010 title stated.
Posta Rangers FC coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno declared their objective of accruing 32 points and remaining in the top flight has been surpassed after his side shared a 0-0 draw with Mathare United.
The Mailmen are seventh (37) and the remaining target is to finish among the top five.