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Battle for KPL survival intensifies

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Nairobi City Stars players walk off after their match in a past SPL/PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Nairobi City Stars players walk off after their match in a past SPL/PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19- Nairobi City Stars, Sofapaka, Ushuru and Thika United are the four teams fighting to avoid the two relegation spots as the Kenyan Premier League enters match week 23 this weekend.

City Stars, after six consecutive seasons of successfully avoiding the chop find themselves bottom of the pile on 13 points and nine off safety.

The Kawangware based side is winless in the last 15 matches, 11 of them being losses, a worrying trend for a club that is struggling financially.

They face a wounded AFC Leopards at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Sunday in a match they have to win to give themselves some hope of survival.

But head coach Richard Tamale Pinto is worried of a strike force that has failed to bang in the goals, scoring only three in the last 15.

“Sometimes I think they are not serious because they get chances and keep losing them thinking others will come. It is high time we start scoring because if you look at all the matches we have been playing, we have dominated our opponents but we waste so many chances,” the Ugandan tactician, called in to resuscitate City Stars from the death bed said.

The team seems to have lost their fighting spirit, especially at the backdrop of the club’s management admitting at the difficulty of sustaining the team financially, but the players are keen to work up themselves into avoiding the chop in the final eight matches of the season.

Their opponents on Sunday, Leopards have issues of their own to sort. An embarrassing 4-1 loss at the hands of Kakamega Homeboyz last weekend will give them an extra surge to go all out and bounce back with a win.

-Sofapaka-

Sofapaka team walking out of the field after a crucial victory against Ushuru FC.PHOTO/ Timothy Olobulu

Sofapaka team walking out of the field after a crucial victory against Ushuru FC.PHOTO/ Timothy Olobulu

Sofapaka moved off the bottom for the first time this season courtesy of their 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Ushuru last weekend and as they face Posta Rangers on Sunday at the Ruaraka Sports Grounds, they will hope to continue with their new found form.

Batoto ba Mungu won two consecutive matches for the first time this season, the 2-0 Ushuru win building up to their huge 5-0 win over City Stars.

“It’s a tough road, but we are ready to take it. Posta is another tough opponent but I trust my players to continue with the good work,” Sofapaka head coach David Ouma told Capital Sport.

It will not be a walk in the park against Posta especially as they welcome back their top scorer Timothy Otieno who has been out for the last three months with injury.

Posta head coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno whose team is placed ninth on the standings will hope the return of their top scorer will inspire them to improve their scoring front, having hit the back of the net only twice in the last five matches.

“We are doing everything right but our scoring is the problem. Otieno’s return will be a huge reprieve for us and I’m hoping he can add some punch to help us win,” the coach said.

Sofapaka seem unshaken and have vowed to do everything within their strength to avoid the chop.

They are seven points off 14th placed Ushuru and a win over Posta coupled with a loss for Mathare United against Ken Kenyatta’s tax men who have lost four consecutive matches will effectively reduce the gap to a mere four points.

Another team in danger of being suck into the murky waters of relegation is Thika United who are placed 13th on 23 points, eight away from the drop zone and will be playing Bandari next Wednesday at their back yard.

KPL Weekend fixtures

Saturday: Chemelil Sugar v Sony Sugar (Chemelil Complex), Mathare United v Ushuru (Nyayo Stadium) Sunday: Sofapaka v Posta Rangers (Ruaraka Complex), Western Stima v Muhoroni (Moi Stadium, Kisumu) Tusker FC v Kakamega Homeboyz, AFC Leopards v Western Stima (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru)

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