National Super League (NSL) side Nairobi Stima’s push for promotion to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) will see the Ruaraka based team take on other promotion chasers Ushuru FC in their next match and head coach Ibrahim Bura Shikanda acknowledges just how important that game is.
Shikanda’s side reactivated their ambitions with a crucial 1 – 0 win over league leaders Vihiga United on Wednesday 30 August in Naivasha and the coach is convinced his charges are back at their best following an earlier loss to Bidco United which ended the team’s run of 19 matches unbeaten.
The sweetness of the win over Vihiga United was borne in the toughness of the game, Bura admits, while pointing out that it was the culmination of good planning before and during the game.
"It was a really tough game but we are glad that we came out tops against very tough opposition. We had been plotting against them from the past week and had an elaborate work plan for them. We identified their key men and locked them out,"
"I must say all our departments worked extremely well. We denied their fast attackers the space that would have given them one on one chances with our keeper and more so we locked out their experienced midfielder (Charles) Okwemba from making his penetrative passes," Shikanda told Soka.
From one tough game to another, Shikanda will have to keep his charges as fresh as possible, considering Ushuru were inactive in the midweek matches and with a game in hand, are also looking to close the gap at the top.
"The win was an immediate recovery from the (shock) loss to Bidco. In that game we missed our chances and they utilized theirs in the second half including a last minute winner. The win over Vihiga will give us the right mind to face a tough Ushuru whom we felt did not deserve to beat us in the first leg," he opined.
Club chairman Vincent Onyango also admitted the win came with a big magnitude, with all energies at the side being directed to seeing the team seal promotion.
"The win was good for us and we appreciate it because it keeps us in the race. We are now looking forward to the next game against Ushuru. We will play and accept the results,” he noted.
After 22 matches, Stima are third on the log, joint on 46 points with Ushuru FC, four points behind Vihiga United.