Ulinzi Stars coach Benjamin Nyangweso has backed his charges to overcome a torrid run in the SportPesa Premier League that has seen the 2010 champions drop to sixth place in the standings.
A winless run of seven league matches, which includes three straight defeats in their last three outings make for a sad read for the soldiers who are aiming to reclaim the league title they last won in 2010.
But Nyangweso, whose side last won a league match on May 21 – a slim 1-0 win over Posta Rangers at Afraha Stadium, has backed his players to rediscover their early season form when they take on Chemelil Sugar at Afraha Stadium on Tuesday.
The soldiers have lost twice to Nzoia Sugar and once to Nakumatt in the last month, and the Chemelil Sugar match provides them with an opportunity to get back on track and revive their hopes of reclaiming the title.
Currently, the soldiers are 11 points behind runway leaders Gor Mahia after 19 rounds.
A key concern for the soldiers however is that the league’s top scorer, Stephen Waruru, has been misfiring in recent matches while Samuel Onyango’s form, which saw him dazzle both for club and country early in the season, has dipped.
Despite their dip in form, the duo is likely to be retained in the starting lineup as Nyangweso looks to avenge the 2-1 loss they suffered in the hands of Chemelil three months ago.
“We have just been unlucky in those three games but that shouldn’t mean that we are surrendering. The league is not over yet and there are many games left for us to catch up,” Nyangweso said.
Not that Chemelil Sugar are doing any better in the league.
The sugar millers have not won any of their last six games, and are currently 11th on the log with 23 points from 19 matches.
Coach Abdalla Juma has chosen to place faith in the likes of new signing Paul Muchuma who scored his first goal for the team in their 1-1 draw with Posta Rangers on Saturday.
“We don’t have a squad as good as that of Ulinzi. That is our only handicap. Otherwise, we are capable of beating them because we did it at home in May,” said Juma.
This will be the soldiers’ last game before they leave for Burundi to defend their East Africa Military Games title.
On Wednesday, leaders Gor Mahia will tackle third-placed Posta Rangers from 4.15pm at Nyayo, moments after Sofapaka take on high flying Nzoia Sugar at the same venue from 2pm.
In other league matches set for Wednesday, Mathare United will be hoping to continue with their revival when they battle troubled Nakumatt at Ruaraka while Kariobangi Sharks, fresh from advancing to the GOtv Shield semi-finals at the weekend, welcome Western Stima in Machakos.
Ulinzi Stars v Chemelil Sugar (Afraha, 3pm)
Kakamega Homeboyz v Bandari (Mumias, 3pm)
Kariobangi Sharks v Western Stima (Machakos, 3pm)
Sofapaka v Nzoia Sugar (Nyayo, 2pm)
Gor Mahia v Posta Rangers (Nyayo, 4.15pm)
Mathare United v Nakumatt (Ruaraka, 3pm)
Muhoroni Youth v Thika United (Muhoroni, 3pm)
SoNy Sugar v Zoo Kericho (Awendo, 3pm)
AFC Leopards v Tusker (Nyayo, 4pm)