Spotlight on Gor’s Ze Maria as Sportpesa Premier League action resumes

Five players will miss the Kenyan Premier League round of 24 matches as the league’s busy weekend schedule returns following the international break.

Thika United are the hardest hit as they will miss two key players.

Captain Dennis Odhiambo received two yellow cards during his side’s last assignment against Bandari which ended in a 1-1 stalemate and he will be joined on the suspension sidelines by influential midfielder Eugene Mukhangula who also received two bookings in the same match. The duo will miss Thika’s visit to Posta Rangers at the Ruaraka Grounds on Sunday at 3pm. They will also be unavailable for the home match against Sony Sugar the following week.

However dominating the news will be the continued speculations that Gor Mahia’s Brazilian tactician, Ze Maria could be shown the door soon.

This comes after a series of poor results in the Kenya Premier League under the former Inter Milan and Brazillian right-back most notably in the GoTV shield where Gor Mahia were eliminated by second tier side Nzoia United.

The man who was axed by Romanian side Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt 16 months ago could soon join arch rivals AFC Leopards who were also eliminated from the GoTV shield and immediately sacked their Belgian coach Ivan Minnaert.

However club official Ronald Ngala has said that no discussion of the coach’s status has happened.
“The coach (Jose Marcelo) is with us and at the moment he is here to stay. Just like any other person, he is concerned about the team’s form and we understand he has been trying to work so hard but results are not coming,” Ngala said in quotes that were carried in a local daily.

Despite Ze Maria’s much fancied first leg run, the team seems to have lost steam scoring only two goals in their last five league matches, with the rest ending in drab draws.

The champions, Gor Mahia, will have to do without the services of right fullback Karim Nizigiyimana who got his fifth booking of the season in the 0-0 draw against Posta Rangers last time out. The Burundian will sit out the visit of Chemelil at Nyayo Stadium this Saturday. Gor Mahia trail league leaders Tusker with seven points although they have a game in hand.

Ulinzi Stars who settled for a barren draw away to Sony Sugar midweek did not only miss out on two points but also had defender Omar Mbongi shown his fifth yellow card that rules him out of the home match against Sofapaka at Afraha Stadium this Saturday. The soldiers have been deprived the services of their coach Robert Matano who is currently hositalised after he was diagnosed with a kidney problem. In his absence assistant coach Benjamin Nyangweso will lead the soldiers against relegation candidates Batoto Ba Mungu.

Completing the quintet circle is Tusker FC’s George Mandela. The former Muhoroni Youth player was shown a straight red card against Kakamega Homeboyz in their 1-0 victory last time out and will miss Sunday’s match against Ushuru at Nyayo Stadium.

In other fxtures, Ezekiel Akwana, the interim AFC Leopards coach will have a tricky affair away to Bandari on Saturday. Muhoroni Youth will host Kakamega Homeboyz, with Nairobi City Stars hosting Western Stima.




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