Sofapaka keen to end thirst for victory over K’Ogalo
James Magayi and Charles Thuku
Sofapaka tactician John Baraza’s tenure will come under scrutiny as he leads his declining side to Moi Stadium in Kisumu for a memorable date with Gor Mahia today.
The magnitude of the fixture is significant to both Gor, who are angling for a return to the league summit and Baraza, who is itching to prove his mettle since confirmation as Sofapaka head coach.
The 2009 league champions are in unfamiliar ninth place after 17 games.
The team has blown hot and cold since Baraza replaced Divaldo Alves and collected just eight points out of a possible 15 in the last five games.
Baraza has conceded that the team’s ego was badly bruised in a 1-1 draw with tail-enders Chemelil Sugar last weekend and would wish to right those wrongs when they face Batoto Ba Mungu.
“It was disappointing to share the spoils with a team that is gracing the lower reaches of the league.
Although those are bygones, we cannot afford more slip-ups and have to put up an improved performance against Gor,” said Baraza.
“Gor are the title holders and we thus expect a tough match but the good thing for us is that we have no injury concerns and we hope to give a good account of ourselves,” added Baraza.
Baraza will be seeking redemption against a side that has plundered seven goals in their last two games.
Gor powered past stricken Chemelil 4-0 before thumping Bandari 3-0 in Afraha Stadium last weekend.
Victory will prop Gor back to the league summit where Kakamega Homeboyz currently sit.
Coach Steven Polack received a major boost last week when the club signed left-back Michael Apudo from Posta Rangers and the defender paid instant dividends when he got on the scoresheet with a long range effort on his debut.
“The team is focused and players know what is required of them. The main goal is to win each game as we move towards retaining the title and that calls for hard work in training, which the players have shown up to now,” said Polack.
However, he avoided the simmering controversy over new signings at the club where he is embroiled in a supremacy battle over who has the last say on new arrivals.