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Date: 23 September 2017

  Eastern African - Soccer

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Kenya: Coastarians’ finally have their day on pitch

[Posted 18 Jun 2011]
[By Charles Malingha]
Kenya: Coastarians’ finally have their day on pitch

Never before in the history of Coast football have the temperatures reached fever pitch as it is expected to be this weekend with the Mombasa derby, pitting Bandari FC against Congo United, on the card.

In Kenya, ’Derby’ has for a long time been associated with clashes between perennial archrivals Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. But with that coming up on July 23, focus is on the Coast as the first ever Mombasa Kenyan Premier League derby comes up.

’Coastarians’ – as the Coast residents are referred to in slang language – feel they have been denied top entertaining football for too long. Bandari have been in and out of the KPL but this season, albeit controversially, two clubs qualified to the top league and they and Premiership debutants Congo meet for the first time in the competition on Sunday.

Last clashed in Nationwide

The last time Congo and Bandari clashed was in the Nationwide League, a match that ended in a barren draw. The interest was next to nil.
But not tomorrow. Fans are expected to jam the Mbaraki Sports Club in their hundreds, and with this posing a security threat the two clubs want the match shifted to the more spacious Mombasa Municipal Stadium which is being renovated.

The two coaches – Gilbert Selebwa of Congo and Bandari’s Rishadu Shedu – whose sides have been struggling in the KPL, are already chiding each other. Selebwa, whose team hammered Thika United 3-0 last weekend, said that blade is even sharper ahead of the derby.
"We were sharpening the blade for you (Bandari). Thika happened to be spurring partners," said Selebwa.

Unmoved, Shedu said his boys are up to the task ahead.

"Congo are good and that’s a fact. They have just signed new players who are already delivering. But this does not mean we will sit on our laurels and do nothing . We are equally up to the task," he said.

Away from the sunny and sandy beaches of Mombasa where the derby is the talk of town, champions Ulinzi Stars have a chance to assume the leadership of the KPL if they beat Karuturi Sports at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru, this afternoon.

Karuturi, 11th on the table with 16 points, have been Ulinzi’s best customers, they being the side that handed the soldiers the league title last season. Then, they went down 2-0 on the final day of the season as Gor Mahia, who were also chasing the title, failed to beat Nairobi City Stars.


 

"You can say we beat them to lift the title but they have always been a good side. I expect them to give us problems but we are focused on winning and going to the top," said Ulinzi coach Benjamin Nyangweso, whose side has 26 points, two adrift of leaders Rangers.

With Rangers playing tomorrow, Nyangweso is excited at the prospect of his taking the leadership: "We started badly but we are now on the right track. I said if we go to the top it will take a crane to remove us from there."

Take lead into mid-term break

Today’s other match pits Sony Sugar against City Stars in Awendo. Rangers, smarting from a 2-0 loss to Bandari in Mombasa last weekend – and already set to lose several key players, among them Kevin Ochieng, Brian Mandela and Joseph Mbugi – welcome Western Stima to City Stadium tomorrow. A Rangers win will ensure they take the lead into the mid-season break, on 31 points.

Stima played to a goalless draw with Sofapaka on Thursday at Bukhungu Stadium amid complaints over the officiating with visiting coach Francis Kimanzi claiming his side was denied a clear goal.

Tusker take on Kenya Commercial Bank in another Nairobi game at Nyayo National Stadium, a match that may propel them to the top if Rangers lose and Ulinzi fail to collect maximum points. Tusker (26) are second.

Nakuru town meanwhile expects an influx of the green army of K’Ogalo when Gor plays visitors to Chemelil Sugar.

The sugarmen have decided to host the game at Afraha to accommodate the huge number of K’Ogalo followers expected from Nairobi.

Full fixtures:

Today: Ulinzi Stars v Karuturi Sports (Afraha), Sony Sugar v City Stars (Awendo); Tomorrow: Tusker v KCB (Nyayo), Congo United v Bandari (Mombasa), Chemelil v Gor Mahia (Afraha), Rangers v Western Stima (City)

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