Preview: Leopards-Stima clash back after 19 months

AFC Leopards up against Western Stima FC may, in a few people’s eyes present just another ordinary Kenyan top flight duel, but to the keen eye, this is a classic- and it comes back after a two-year absence.

Western Stima’s relegation from the top flight at the end of the 2017 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season reduced the chances of the this clash happening and with re-admission a year later, here it is.

Leopards host Stima at the Machakos County stadium from 3 pm this afternoon, and this time, it is Ingwe in dire straits as regards the table standings of Kenya’s top division. The last meeting between the two sides was played in August 2017- ending in a square 1-1.

Oromchan Villa was the last Stima player to score against Ingwe. He is back with the Kisumu side. [IMAGE- Fabian Odhiambo]

Ugandan import Oromchan Villa gave the hosts a first-half lead but this was canceled out by Aziz Okaka briefly before the break. The two-goal scorers are active with their respective teams with Villa returning to Stima after a brief one year stint with Paidha Black Angels in Uganda- his home country.

On opposite ends of the touchline were Henry Omino and Robert Matano for the last stalemate, and in comes Paul Ogai and Andre Cassa Mbungo for the teams’ first meeting in 19 months.

Stima have, however, dominated most recent fixtures of this clash, winning a massive five of the eight played between now and June 2014.

Brian Marita in Stima colors in 2017. He currently plays for AFC Leopards. Azizi Okaka (L) was Ingwe’s last scorer against Stima [IMAGE- Fabian Odhiambo]

As opposed to their last meeting where it was Stima in serious need of the points, this Saturday meeting has Ingwe second from the log with 16 points from 17 matches. Stima are 9th on the 18-team division but have not won any of their last five fixtures while Leopards have two.

Leopards’ last win over the Powermen came in 2015 in Nairobi when a Bernard Mang’oli penalty kick settled the tie at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. There have been two draws from this point and the remaining five, won by the Kisumu side.

Brian Marita was in Stima’s colors the last time these two teams faced each other and today- if selected, he turns out in Ingwe blue. Another Stima old boy at the den is Dennis Sikhayi.

Coaching and New Additions

Stima’s Paul Ogai takes charge of his first match against Leopards today, and so does Andre Cassa Mbungo on the opposite dugout. The Rwandese will benefit from the recent inclusion of former Leopards defender Anthony Kimani as an assistant coach while Ogai has with him Dan Omondi- a man partly credited with Stima’s KPL U19 success of the year 2013.

Oromchan Villa celebrates his last goal against AFC Leopards in 2017. Kelvin Okoth (R) has also returned to the squad [IMAGE- Fabian Odhiambo]

The den has welcomed two new faces in Soter Kayumba, a Rwandese International and winger Ivan Ssekaza. Stima on the other hand, have confirmed that Oromchan Villa and Kelvin Okoth are cleared to play.

The two teams face off after recording impressive wins in the FKF Shield competition- both of them recording twin 4-0 wins over Kitale Transfoc and Uprising FC.