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Monday, May 6, 2013

Under-Strength KSJ Go Down to Re-Run FC in Jericho

KSJ's Gregory Mulemi (on the floor) and Bismark Mutahi (right) during a match at City Stadium
A much-weakened Kenya Sports Journalists (KSJ) side were given a 4-1 humbling by Re-Run FC in a match that was played at Jericho Grounds under chilly conditions on Saturday morning.

Still reeling from their 1-0 loss to ex Harambee Stars internationals just a week past, KSJ had revenge written all over their faces as they looked to bounce back from a poor string of results that has dogged the team since the turn of the new year.

Sassy Vivian Akinyi retained her position between the sticks. Gregory “Carragher” (hehee) Mulemi occupied the right side of central defence and was partnered by Kevin. Vivian’s equally sassy twin sister Sharon Akinyi lined up at rightback and Dennis Kameni at leftback.

Steve “Suso” Steifmaster Ayoo shifted from his usual offensive role as he settled in the defensive midfield position to provide the grit and tenacity that was a necessity against an opponent they knew little about. Just ahead of him was Peter Muchiri who made his first full debut for KSJ in the attacking midfield role. The wings were occupied by Becky Magoma and Brian Weke with Amos Abuga the lone man upfront and Antony Junior just behind him.

In spite of missing first team regulars like Captain Alex Isaboke, his assistant Timothy Olobulu, widemen Eric Ochieng’ and Joseph Shegu, defenders Bismark Mutahi and James Magayi as well as midfield passmasters Francis Wadegu and Joshua Elvince, the media team started the match stronger than their full-strength opponents.

The first opportunity of the match fell to KSJ with just five minutes on the clock. A nice inter-change between Antony and Muchiri left the Re-Run defenders at sixes and sevens and the ball fell to Amos Abuga but the frontman shot wide with the goal at his mercy. KSJ missed their next chance just two minutes later with Muchiri the culprit after he also scuffed his effort into the stands with only the goalkeeper to beat.

KSJ were dealt a major blow quarter-way into the match as dependable stopper Mulemi limped off with what looked like a muscle tear but turned out to be a muscle pull after doctors’ assessment. Mulemi’s departure left a huge hiatus in the Media side’s defence and it proved costly just five minutes later when Maurice Shikanda’s shot deflected off a KSJ defender. The ball wrong footed custodian Vivian and squirmed into the net to give Re-Run the lead against the run of play.

KSJ were dejected but with the spirit of a wounded lion, they carved out yet another chance. Ayoo laid the ball on the path of Becky Magoma who was playing her best game of recent past. The winger curved a cross to Abuga who decided to control instead of hitting one time. His hesitation allowed the opponents to recover and clear the danger.

Abuga was playing like he had left his boots at a place further than his house in Embakasi, probably in Kisii, as he wasted yet another chance just before the interval.

Wasted opportunities would haunt the media side as they conceded the second goal just after the resumption. Maurice Shikanda robbed Ayoo of the ball in midfield and played a neat one-two with Mike Omollo who side-footed to give the hosts a 2-0 lead as KSJ looked out of sorts. Shikanda grabbed his second and third of the day within minutes of each other, the last one a powerful shot which proved too hot to handle for Vivian.

With the media side needing goals but which were not forthcoming, Steve Ayoo moved to his natural position in “the hole”. He injected speed into the otherwise lukewarm KSJ attack and almost drew a goal back when he was put through by Weke but the goalkeeper was quick off his line. The two combined again but Weke’s pass was overcooked and the goalkeeper easily collected the loose ball.

It was only a matter of time however as minutes later, KSJ scored what would be a consolation goal. Weke pounced on a good move to tap in but with the help of some poor goalkeeping. The last action of the game saw Ayoo’s header rebound off the cross bar from a Weke cross as the hard-fighting scribes lost a match they would easily have won had their first team regulars turned up.

“It’s all down to indiscipline as we always have a full squad when we have something to play for,” noted Fred Maingi, KSJ’s Team Manager. “Today we were outdone by the inability of most of our players to turn up for this friendly match which they didn’t take seriously,” he added.

“This is a very disappointing result. We could have had this game in the bag in the first quarter hour but poor finishing let us down for the umpteenth time,” observed Steve Ayoo, the stand-in captain for the day.

The good news for KSJ is that Gregory Mulemi’s injury wasn’t as bad as initially thought but he will sit out of training the whole week and won’t be available for approximately two weeks.

KSJ’s next assignment will see them return to the same venue on Sunday morning to take on former Bedjoes players. “I hope all our regular players will be available for the game as we prepare to play Umoja team the following Sunday May 19th. We shall be having friendly matches in the next two weeks so we must be serious in our training,” said Maingi.

KSJ Flop of the Match - Amos Abuga/Peter Muchiri - the duo wasted glorious opportunities to put KSJ on the scoresheet in the first half and looked like they had run a marathon after the interval as they failed to track back to help the midfield.

KSJ Man of the Match - Steve Ayoo/Sharon Akinyi - Ayoo was given huge responsibilities especially after Mulemi's departure as he ran around and covered every blade of grass on pitch. His tenacity and versatility saw him play in defence, midfield and striker. KSJ scored the consolation goal when he moved up front and was also unlucky to see his header bounce off the crossbar. Sharon on the other hand had a hard time on the right against Re-Run's tricky wingers but she held her ground.

Overall Man of the Match - Maurice Shikanda - The former Utalii, AFC Leopard and KCB striker had a bag of tricks on the day and ran rings around the KSJ defence. Capped off a fine performance with a brilliant hat-trick and set up Omollo for the other goal.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!