MATCH PREVIEW – SOFAPAKA VS AFC LEOPARDS

Kenya Premier League (KPL) title-hopefuls Sofapaka are still concerned with the alleged poor officiating in their 2-1 loss to Gor Mahia on Wednesday and do hope that the same will not recur when they face AFC Leopards in a potentially explosive fixture at Narok County Stadium this Sunday.
Sofapaka Technical Director, Martin Ndagano did not hide his disappointment over what he described as strange rulings by the center referee in which he dubiously awarded  Gor a penalty besides denying his team two spot kicks.
“I must say suspect calls pervaded the match and had justice prevailed, it would have been a different result altogether. We don’t mind losing fairly but it should not be at the hands of match officials,” said Ndagano whose team drifted to the fourth position behind Ulinzi Stars, Kakamega Homeboyz and Gor following the defeat.
This weekend, Sofapaka will be out to make amends when they face Leopards in a match pitting one team vouching for the KPL gong and another which is battling to evade relegation.
Placed 12th in the chart after the amendment of the league following the suspension of Nakumatt and Zoo Kericho, Leopards will be gunning for revenge after going down 1-0 to Batoto Ba Mungu when the two teams met in the first leg on August 26th at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Leopards coach Robert Matano is expected to throw in the fray players like Burundian Alexis Kitenge, Micheal Kibwage and Samuel Ndung’u in search of the much needed points to avoid banishment from the top-tier league.
But if Leopards have their own arsenal to brag about, they will be hard-pressed to contain Sofapaka’s scoring machine Umaru Kasumba who has so far pumped 10 goals in nine matches and is determined to surpass eleven strikes by the league’s leading marksman Stephen Waruru of Ulinzi Stars.
Sofapaka lie fourth in the league standings and assuming they dispatch Leopards and Ulinzi Stars falls at the hands of Kakamega Homeboyz at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Sunday, then coach Sam Ssimbwa’s men will catapult to the third position in the league.
For the last couple of months, Sofapaka have made the Narok Stadium a fortress of sorts as they hardly lose matches at the facility and as such, Leopards should be forewarned and tread carefully lest the worst happens.
Ssimbwa conducted endurance drills at the Stadium yesterday with several of his players saying they felt fit and ready for the assignment ahead against Ingwe.
Besides Kasumba, Sofapaka are expected to rely on several other players like Ezekiel Okare, Rodgers Aloro, Hillary Echesa, Jonathan Mugabi, Morven Otinya and Maurice Odipo, as they plot on the downfall of Leopards who are 13-times KPL champions.
However, on the flip side, Sofapaka will miss the services of resourceful midfielder Mohammed Kilume who is still nursing an injury he sustained during the match against Kakamega Homeboyz at the Mumias Complex on September 23