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Promotion narrowed to four as NSL hots up

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KCB players celebrate a goal during a past national Super League match at the Camp Toyoyo Grounds

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) – sponsored duo of Western and Nairobi Stima, KCB as well as Ushuru FC will push their bid to Kenyan Premier League promotion destiny when the business end of the National Super League hots up this weekend.

Leaders Western Stima will host Nairobi City Stars at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Sunday, Nairobi Stima will be away to Bidco United in Thika, KCB will be at home to Kenya Police at the Camp Toyoyo while Ushuru will face Kangemi All Stars at the same venue on Sunday.

Western Stima sit at the apex of the standings with 67 points, six ahead of second placed Nairobi Stima who have played a match less. Bankers KCB who recently sacked head coach John Kamau are third on 60 points, one ahead of fourth placed Ushuru.

A drop of points by either of the four sides will be detrimental to their hopes of earning qualification with six rounds of matches left.

KCB, who have unsuccessfully vied to get back to the top tier have vowed to give their all in the hope of finally clinching that Premier League spot.

-Lots of pressure

KCB interim coach Elvis Ayany watches on during a past national Super League match at the Camp Toyoyo Grounds

“Yes, there’s a lot of pressure from the management that we should get that promotion slot. KCB has been there among teams almost getting promoted but we somehow end up not earning it. This time, we don’t have much of a choice,” interim coach Elvis Ayany who stepped into Kamau’s shoes said.

He added; “As a team, there is also that hunger to get back to the Premier League. It drives us a lot.”

The bankers have been far from convincing though and have won three of their last five games, the most recent being against Kisumu All Stars on Monday.

They face Kenya Police in a mid-morning kick off at the Camp Toyoyo ground, a tough match by its proportions and one they need to handle with care as they lost by a solitary goal to the law enforcers in the first leg.

“They are a very tough team and it is not a game we can afford to go without preparing well. We are taking the game with very much seriousness and the only target is to get three points,” Ayany further noted.

KCB occupy third, a spot that does not give them a surety of the top tier but promises them a chance in the play-off. Ayany says their target is to get into the top two automatic promotion slots.

-Stima duo

Western Stima who have won eight of their last nine games, their only loss being a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bidco United. They face a City Stars side blowing hot and cold at sixth spot having won two and lost three of their last five games.

The first leg which remains their only meeting in the second tier ended in a 1-1 draw but the powermen keen on returning to top flight after they were relegated at the end of last season are keen to bag all three and keep their bid alive.

Nairobi Stima, the revelation of the season and crushing what seems to be a big boys’ party travel away to Thika on Saturday taking on a Bidco side they played to a 0-0 draw with in the first leg.

Led by former internationals Fred Ambani and Ibrahim Shikanda, Nairobi Stima rose from the ashes to finally dream of making a KPL slot and a win against Bidco will be a huge step in showing they are not bridal maids to the promotion party.

Stima suffered a shocking 2-1 loss to bottom side GFE 105 in their last league encounter having posted a run of five wins on the trot and they surely will be coming tong and spear to pick three points against fifth placed Bidco.

-Ushuru fighting

Ushuru FC head coach ken Kenyatta (left) follows proceedings during his side’s National Super League match against Nairobi Stima on March 25, 2018 in Nairobi. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Ushuru meanwhile have duty against Kangemi All Stars, hoping to make up for all the ground lost after temporarily leading the standings.

Head coach Ken Kenyatta still has his same experienced squad and having lost in the play-off last season, the tax men will want to prove their mettle and move into the top three with hope that the other compatriots drop points.

Kangemi have won once over the last five games, and are struggling to match up with the big boys of the league. If they are to find inspiration, then it should be from their performance when they held Kenyatta’s charges to a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

Saturday

Bidco United vs Nairobi Stima (Thika Stadium, 3 pm)

Kisumu All Stars vs Migori Youth (Moi Stadium, 3 pm)

KCB vs Kenya Police (Camp Toyoyo, 11 am)

Sunday

Western Stima vs City Stars (Moi Stadium, 3 pm)

Modern Coast Rangers vs Kibera Black Stars (Mbaraki Grounds, 3 pm)

Nakuru All-Stars vs Coast Stima (Afraha Stadium, 11 am)

Talanta vs GFE 105 (Camp Toyoyo, 2 pm)

Ushuru vs Kangemi All-Stars (Camp Toyoyo, 4.15 pm)

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