NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1- Thika United have finally agreed to the promotion and relegation play-off between them and Ushuru FC, ending months of push and shove between the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
On Thursday, the KPL Governing Council meeting ‘advised’ to allow Thika take part in the play-off, but added that they were not obligated to play.
Thika head coach Nicholas Muyoti has confirmed to Capital Sport that the team had been informed of the development and will be resuming training on Saturday, a week to the play off date.
“The management communicated to us and we have made arrangements to return to training. It hasn’t turned out the way I would have wished but anyway it is what has been decided and we have to follow. I know we have what it takes to remain in the league,” Muyoti said.
A source close to Capital Sport has learned that the top brass of the KPL management and Governing Council knew they did not have a watertight case in the event they refused the idea of the play-off.
“FKF wrote a letter to KPL in March and they never responded. It was just after the tribunal ruling and before the season started which is as prescribed in the 2015 MoU. Either way we knew that in the event this thing went back to the tribunal, we didn’t have a case,” the KPL source said.
He added; “At the end of the day we had to take this decision because we would have had long fights which are not necessary. We want to make peace with FKF and agreeing to this play-off was one way to avert any fights with them.”
FKF made the decision to have a play-off between the 16th placed team from the KPL and the third placed team after the automatic relegation and promotion of the top two and bottom two teams from the KPL and NSL respectively.
The league managers were however objective of the move, insisting they would stick to the agreement in 2015 that dictated only two teams which finish bottom will be relegated and a similar number from the NSL promoted.
Thika just but managed to finish 16th in the concluded season after a 1-0 win over Bandari at home and they hope to confirm their league status with a win against Ushuru over the two legs set for December 10 and 13.
“Personally I am motivated and I will meet the players tomorrow and try to motivate them as well. We have worked so hard to ensure we weren’t automatically relegated and we can’t let that hard work go away like that,” Muyoti further noted.
The coach has also hinted they will recall midfielder Said Tsuma from the national team as they need him for the crucial tie.