Thika Stadium is set to host a crunch match on Sunday, with hosts Thika United facing off with Mathare United in their opening game of the 2017 season.

The Slum Boys will begin life without nine established players who were central to the team last season including midfielder Eric Johanna, defender Robinson Kamura, Obadiah Ndege, Whyvone Isuza and Eric Mata.

Former Kenya coach Francis Kimanzi, who is in his second year with the slum boys, has said that he will focus on rebuilding the team this season.

Kimanzi is optimistic that his team is ready for the season despite losing many players in the transfer window.

"In football we have to accept that movement of players affect the equilibrium in any team but I believe we have younger players who are hungry for success and it will be good to see how they start the league against Thika."

On the other hand Thika will have to do without experienced left-back Dennis Odhiambo when they come up against Mathare United.

Odhiambo is at the centre of a double signing controversy between his parent club Thika United and coastal side Bandari, and according to coach James Nandwa, they have been advised not to field him as the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) solves the issue.

"Dennis is our player and has been training with the club throughout the season. He is still on contract but he will miss the match against Mathare. Hopefully the whole issue will be solved and we can have him available for the next match," Nandwa told

"We want to focus on the first game which is very important for us and hopefully we will get the much needed win despite our opponents being a very good side," Nandwa added.

The game will be live on SuperSport 9 East from 2pm.