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Date: 21 July 2017

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Sofapaka seeks Revenge over Ismaili

[Posted 18 Mar 2011]
[By Charles Malingha]
Sofapaka seeks Revenge over Ismaili

Sofapaka will be looking at revenge  of their Champions League 2-0 defeat to Ismaili last year when the Egyptian club host the Kenyan side on Friday night in the first leg of Caf Confederation Cup.

The imminent arrival of the 2009 Kenyan Premier League champions at Ismailia Stadium heralds the most important game of The Dervishes’ season, one that looks set to be played with a makeshift defence.

Defenders Shadi Mohamed and Ibrahim Yehia has returned from injury layoffs but are yet to regain match fitness ahead of the 8:30pm clash.

Should the two fail to impress, they will leave holes in the backline that will affect the team as players would be slotted around to fill in for the missing defenders.

If the rearguard pair is sidelined, coach Mark Wotte might employ a three-man backline consisting of Ahmed Khairy, Abdullah Al-Shahat and Moatasem Salem.

"The defence is still a headache for us with Shadi and Yehia still unfit," Ismaili assistant coach Ahmed Qenawi said.

"We might be forced to deploy Ahmed Khairi as a sweeper and use Abdullah Al-Shahhat at the heart of defence, even though they are both midfielders," he added.

Mohamed, a former Al Ahli skipper, has been nursing a groin injury and it’s yet to be known whether he will attain full fitness before the game.

Ismaili will be dealt a blow should he miss the match, given that his fellow defender Ibrahim Yehia is not yet fully match-fit.

Sofapaka are also struggling with injury problems of their own, and face the dilemma of having George Opiyo as the only fully fit goalkeeper, with his understudy Zachary Onyango yet to get match fit (at least by press time).

Given the enormity of Friday’s game and the few missing players, this encounter should be both entertaining and nail biting for the visitors as they look to overcome a 2-0 defeat they suffered at the same venue last year.

In their domestic league, Ismaili are second to Zamalek with 29 points from 15 league games, including hard-fought wins over two of the league’s better teams in Al Masry and El Hodood.

While Sofapaka’s dominance in the KPL this season hasn’t left many lingering questions around the nature of the team’s good ball possession – dominating tactics against Mathare, Chemilil Sugar and Bandari – Friday night’s game should be markedly different.

Whenever Ismaili play at home the entire stadium turns yellow and white – their team colours. They have one of the largest fan bases in the country.

"We have come here for points and we intend to go back home with something. They (Ismaili) are a strong side but we also have players of high calibre," said Sofapaka captain James Situma by telephone from Egypt.

Having played with a changing combination of Edgar Ochieng, James Situma, Abdulatif Omar and Thomas Wanyama in the past few league encounters, it remains unclear exactly what the makeup of the back four will be in Friday’s match.

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