After weeks of anticipation, the 2019/20 season began as we hosted Western Stima at the Machakos Stadium. Having won the two previous home matches against this opponent, expectations of bagging maximum points were high.
The coach handed three of his new signings their league debut with Armani Kyata and Samuel Olwande starting in the back four while Patrick Otieno was slotted at offensive right in a front three that included usual suspects in Kapaito and Mwendwa. The midfield three was the normal Abuya-Omoto-Yidah trio with Kenyan international John Oyemba standing in between the sticks.
Sharks started on the high gear with Kyata going close in the 6thminute after heading a Mwendwa cross just inches above the bar. Four minutes later, Erick Kapaito’s cut back fell squarely for Mwendwa but the winger’s goal bound shot was blocked.
However, it was Western Stima who took the lead with what was their first attack as their centre back Owino jumped the highest to head in from a corner kick in the 15th minute. Our record league top scorer Erick Kapaito popped up with the equaliser in the 29th minute, tapping in from Armani Kyata’s header to send the game to the break at one all.
Upon resumption, Harrison Mwendwa’s industry on the left wing paid off as he danced past two defenders and crossed the ball to debutant Patrick Otieno who headed in to give us a well deserved lead, opening his Sharks account at the 53rd minute.
Mwendwa was unable to continue due to injury and had to be substituted in 64th minute with James Mazembe taking his place. Shaphan Oyugi then replaced Patrick Otieno in the 74th minute. In a bid to consolidate the lead, Daniel Sakari came on for Duke Abuya with ten minutes of play left.
The boys continued to hold on despite pressure from the visitors, but were unlucky to concede a soft penalty in the 86th minute which was converted by Abawa, leveling the scorers with just a few minutes of play left.
The late push by the boys wasn’t enough to break the opponents for the third time, and even the five minutes of added time didn’t produce another goal.
The boys will have plenty of time to go back to the drawing board as the international break is will occupy next weekend before they face AFC Leopards on match day 2 the following weekend.
Starting XI : John Oyemba (GK), Eric Juma ©, Armani Kyata, Geoffrey Lemu, Samuel Olwande, Sven Yidah, Patilla Omoto, Duke Abuya (Daniel Sakari), Patrick Otieno (Shaphan Oyugi), Harrison Mwendwa (James Mazembe), Erick Kapaito.
SUBS: Brian Bwire, Tom Teka, Shaphan Oyugi, James Mazembe, Kevintom Machika, Dan Sakari, Bonface Onyango.