Football Football

Sofapaka out to escape relegation

Sofapaka players during a past match.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya
Sofapaka players during a past match.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17- To guarantee a ninth consecutive season in top flight football, 2009 Kenyan Premier League champions Sofapaka will need to win against Thika United and hope Ushuru FC fall to Posta Rangers as the 2016 season comes to an end on Saturday.

Three points separate 14th Ushuru and 15th placed Sofapaka with the latter enjoying a better goal difference which might come to their rescue if final day results go their way.

“We are hoping and praying that Posta Rangers does us a favour. For us, at the moment, our concentration is on ensuring we win our match against Thika United. That’s where our motivation lies and hopefully the other cards fall in our favour,” interim coach John Baraza said.

So confident is Sofapaka of remaining in top flight that they already seem to have engaged their former coach Sam Ssimbwa in talks of taking over the club.

The coach was present at the club’s training ground on Thursday morning and Capital Sport understands the club’s leadership has engaged him in talks over a return to the club he coached in 2009 and 2010.

Baraza, however says his charges are concentrating on getting the job done on the final day of the season.

“It is not an easy match for us because Thika is not a pushover. They are a very experienced team in the Kenyan Premier League and we will expect a very tough outing. The players are very confident and we have agreed we will give our all to win that game,” the former Harambee Stars forward said.

Sofapaka assistant coach John Baraza.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya
Sofapaka assistant coach John Baraza.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The same sentiments were shared by defender George Maelo who joined the club in midseason and has been one of the pillars of Batoto ba Mungu’s revival.

“We have our job to do which is to win. The rest we leave to fate. It is a tough game, nervous for us as well but the good thing is that we have a very experienced team and we can handle the nerves,” he added.

Meanwhile, Posta Rangers have said they will be out to ensure they finish the season within the top four and not necessarily do favours to anyone.

A win for the seventh placed Posta Rangers will see them rise to third if Chemelil Sugar, Ulinzi Stars, Western Stima and Mathare United all lose their matches.

“We had our pre-season targets, one of which was to finish within the top five. That’s what we will be working on in that match. We are not thinking of doing anyone a favor. We will just go there to do our duty and achieve results,” Posta assistant coach Lawrence Webo stated.

Ushuru head coach Ken Kenyatta was tight lipped on his hopes for the Posta match on Saturday but silently, he craves for a win to ensure his side survives another season in top flight.

The rivalry between the two sides go a long way, with the taxmen having gained promotion in 2013 after beating Posta Rangers on post-match penalties in the Division One play-off.