Sofapaka interim trainer John Baraza faces his first major test since the surprise resignation of Head Coach Sam Ssimbwa at the club when he leads them in an 11th round encounter against Sony Sugar in Ruaraka on Sunday.
Sony has been nothing but a bogey side to Sofapaka for the last couple of years and it remains to be seen just how the latter will fare without Ssimbwa who quit his position in a huff last Sunday after Batoto Ba Mungu’s shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Thika United.
Although it was a big blow for Sofapaka to lose a coach of Ssimbwa’s caliber, Baraza who has been the understudy of the Ugandan tactician for the last two years since quitting football believes Batoto Ba Mungu have the prospects of doing well in the remaining fixtures.
“Of course, the league is very competitive but my main target is to turn round the fortunes of the team. I want to win the faith of fans and hopefully, we should challenge for the league’s top honours,” said Baraza.
As Sofapaka starts life without Ssimbwa who is rumoured to be joining a Ugandan club, Baraza will be hoping that the team’s regular players like Kepha Aswani, Stephen Waruru and Umaru Kasumba will rise to the occasion.
For the last couple of years, Awendo has been reputed as a dreary hunting ground to most Nairobi teams and this is a disturbing jinx Sofapaka will be going flat out to break.
And it’s possible for a good measure if Sofapaka take into the match with a positive mind-set and put behind them the disappointment of the shock loss at Thika United.
Goalkeeper Mathias Kigonya who has a penchant of scoring goals through penalties is yet another big source of inspiration for Sofapaka who are lying in the fourth position in the chart behind AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia and Mathare United.
In the meantime, Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa has wished Ssimbwa the best of luck in his future endeavors.
“Common sense dictates that we must respect the decision by Ssimbwa to part ways with us. As for now, Baraza (John) will handle the team on an interim capacity and we do believe he will do a fantastic job as we look into Ssimbwa’s replacement,” said Kalekwa.