Western Stima begin life without star midfielder Kenneth Muguna when they host Sofapaka in their first match of the 2017 SportPesa Premier League season at Moi Stadium, Kisumu on Sunday.
Muguna, who is the league’s Most Valuable Player, was key to Stima’s success but has since joined 15-time champions Gor Mahia.
Coach Henry Omino on Saturday told Nation Sport they will be going full throttle against Batoto ba Mungu – who were readmitted to the top tier by the Sports Dispute Tribunal last Wednesday.
Sofapaka had been relegated together with Muhoroni Youth b Football Kenya Federation at the beginning of the year for failing to meet the Caf Club Licensing threshold.
Being an international football break, the two sides do not have players in any national teams, and it’s on this basis that they will take on each other in their re-arranged fixture.
“I am proud of my players, we are ready for the season opener and we will do our level best to win the match and start off the season on the right track,” said Omino.
“We don’t have players in the national team and this will give us a good opportunity to catch up with the rest.”
This will be Stima’s first match of 2017 season while Sofapaka will be hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Sony Sugar in Nakuru.
“We are not coming to be participants in this league. We are here to win games. Last weekend, we were unfortunate to lose, but we were not overwhelmed,” Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa said.
“My players created a number of good chances but finishing was a problem. We have worked on that this week and I believe that the least result we will get is a draw.”
Western Stima were set to meet Ulinzi Stars last weekend but the match was postponed since Benjamin Nyangweso’s chrges were taking part in the Caf Confederation Cup in which they bowed out on a 4-3 aggregate to Egypt’s Smouha.
Muhoroni Youth on the other hand will be away to Kakamega Homeboyz, who will also be playing their first match of the season, at Mumias Sports Complex.
Muhoroni beat Kariobangi Sharks 1-0 last Sunday thanks to Ambrose Ayoyi’s 36th minute penalty.