All eyes will be on the high stakes Mashemeji derby on Sunday in Nairobi pitting traditional rivals AFC Leopards against Gor Mahia. Table topping Posta Rangers will face their toughest test yet as they entertain cruising Sofapaka, while free falling Western Stima will take on a highly motivated Zoo Kericho in the pick of the weekend matches.
Mathare United vs Bandari (Kenyatta Stadium, 2pm)
Mathare have endured a poor start to the 2017 season that has seen them win just two of their eight games so far.
They, however, conjured up an impressive 1-0 win over giants Gor Mahia last weekend and should fancy their chances against the coastal side.
The Slum Boys will be without the presence of their coach Francis Kimanzi on the touchline. Kimanzi is serving a four-game touchline suspension for misconduct.
Bandari have gone three games without victory, a statistic that has seen them drop from the summit of the league to ninth.
Last season, Mathare won both home and away games in this fixture 3-1 and 1-0.
Nzoia Sugar vs Nakumatt (Sudi Stadium, 3pm)
To avoid falling off the top half of the SPL table for the first time this season, Nzoia Sugar will have to beat Nakumatt on Friday.
The two teams are well acquainted, having played together in the National Super League last year.
Nakumatt striker Boniface Akenga is enjoying good form at the moment and is one player to watch out for.
Award winning Nzoia Sugar defender Brian “OCS” Otieno will be out for the next two months with a minor fracture.
Kariobangi Sharks vs Sony Sugar (Kenyatta Stadium, 4.15pm)
Sharks seem to have put the stage fright of playing in the Premiership for the first time in their history behind them, and will be looking to extend their unbeaten ran to three games.
Sharks coach William Muluya is likely to retain midfielders Pascal Ogweno, Bolton Omwenga, Patillah Omoto in the starting lineup as they were instrumental in the team’s 1-1 draw with Chemelil Sugar last weekend.
Victor Ademba collected a red card during Sony Sugar’s last encounter against Nzoia Sugar, and will miss this game due to suspension.
Tusker vs Kakamega Homeboyz (Ruaraka ground)
Defending champions Tusker seem to have recovered from a poor start with a six-match unbeaten run.
This will be only the fifth encounter between these two teams, with the brewers confident in the knowledge they have never lost to Homeboyz in the SPL history.
Tusker’s Lloyd Wahome and Moses Ndawula returned to training after being sidelined by injuries for close to one month.
Homeboyz striker Wycliffe Ochomo, who was suspended for his team’s last game against Nakumatt for having collected a red card a week earlier (against Ulinzi Stars), will make a return for his team in this match.
The brewers beat Homeboyz by identical 1-0 scores last season.
Chemelil Sugar vs Muhoroni Youth (Chemelil Sports Complex)
Chemelil Sugar defender Willis Ouma was sent off during his team’s encounter with Kariobangi Sharks last weekend and will thus take no part in this match.
Muhoroni succumbed to a 1-0 loss against Tusker in their last match and will be looking to get back on track against the fifth placed sugar millers.
Muhoroni’s Walter Omara could finally earn a starting role to face his former employers on Saturday.
Both sides exchanged 1-0 victories in their encounters last month.
Posta Rangers vs Sofapaka (Afraha Stadium)
Posta Rangers are the only unbeaten team in the league but that record comes under severe test against in form Sofapaka.
The two teams are separated by only three points, with Rangers occupying the top league spot with 18 points from eight matches.
Joseph Mbugi saw red in Rangers’ last match against AFC Leopards, and has therefore been suspended from this match.
Rangers beat the 2009 champions by identical 1-0 score lines last season.
Thika United vs Ulinzi Stars (Thika Stadium)
Having suffered losses to Kakamage Homeboyz and Zoo Kericho last week, Ulinzi Stars will be looking to pick up the pieces when they face Thika United away.
Change of tack will be required of Benjamin Nyangweso’s boys especially since they will be playing against an unpredictable Thika Uited side.
Thika midfielder Edmond Bala is on compassionate leave after losing his mother.
Last season, the soldiers overcame Thika by a 1-0 win in the second leg match, although Thika had held them to a one-all draw in the reverse fixture.
AFC Leopards vs Gor Mahia (Nyayo National Stadium, 3pm)
This will be the 81st Mashemeji derbya and revenge will be very much on AFC Leopards’ minds after they succumbed to a 2-0 loss to the old enemy the last time the two met.
Coach Marcelo Ferreira faces derby day challenge for only the second time in his year-long tenure at Gor Mahia, while it will be the first time that Ingwe’s Stewart Hall tastes this much anticipated fixture.
Gor’s midfielder Kenneth Muguna has shaken off an ankle injury that kept him away from their last match against Mathare United.
Leopards’ Paul Kiongera has also received a clean bill of health after nursing a sore ankle last month.
In the first leg match-up last season, Ingwe piped K’Ogalo 1-0 at Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani before falling two to nothing in the return affair.
Western Stima vs Zoo Kericho (Moi Stadium, 3pm)
Three matches without defeat is the record that Zoo Kericho carry to this match.
Golden boy Mike Madoya will once again be at the heart of the Zoo front line.
Stima are at the second last position of the table having lost five of their eight games so far.
A win for Zoo will get them out of the bottom league spot for the very first time this season.
Rookies Kariobangi Sharks continued to thrive as they posted their fourth win of the season, Bandari brought Mathare United back to earth with a thud as Nzoia Sugar and Nakumatt settled to a draw in Friday’s matches.
Mathare United 0-1 Bandari (Kenyatta Stadium)
Anthony Wambani scored the all-important goal in the 36th minute.
Mathare’s defensive frailties were on display for all to see, goalkeeper Levis Opiyo caught off his line by Wambani.
The result snapped Bandari’s three-match winless streak while shocking Mathare, who had beaten Gor Mahia 1-0 a week earlier.
Nzoia Sugar 1-1 Nakumatt (Sudi Stadium)
League newcomers Nzoia Sugar failed to win at home once more as they settled for a one-all draw.
Proven goal scorer Kepha Aswani scored the first goal of the match in the 31st minute for a deserved Nakumatt lead.
Boniface Omondi however levelled matters for the home team in the 56th minute to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.
Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 Sony Sugar (Kenyatta Stadium)
Pascal Ogweno opened the scoring 22 minutes into the match connecting well with Bolton Omwenga’s corner kick.
Harambee Stars trialist Ovella Ochieng, who was introduced in the second half, doubled Sharks lead in the 82nd minute, taking advantage of a defensive blunder to telling effect.
This was Kariobangi’s fourth win in six matches as they demonstrated loudly and clearly they can bite at this level.