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Nairobi Stima in deep end for promotion bid

Nairobi Stima players line up before a past National Super League match at the Karuturi Complex in Naivasha.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – Promotion-chasing Nairobi Stima find themselves engulfed in a huge battle in their journey to next year’s Kenyan Premier League (KPL) as they face the division’s top two sides in their final two games of the National Super League (NSL) season.

Nairobi face leaders and already promoted Western Stima on Wednesday at the Karuturi Grounds in Naivasha before concluding the season against second placed KCB in Nairobi on Sunday. Both matches will be key in their bid for a first ever top-flight promotion.

A win against their ‘big brothers’ Western Stima on Wednesday will make for a mouth-watering tie against second placed KCB on Sunday with three points separating the two sides in the standings, if the bankers beat Coast Stima on Wednesday.

Assistant coach Fred Ambani, a former Kenyan international admits they have their work cut out but says they are under no pressure only noting they will give their best on the pitch.

“It is a very tough path for us because both teams we are facing are very tough. But we are ready for it. For us, we just need to put our effort on the pitch and hope results favor us,” Ambani who assists another former Kenyan international Ibrahim Shikanda at the team said.

Nairobi Stima in action during their National Super League match against Administration Police at the Camp Toyoyo Ground.

Nairobi Stima are four points ahead of Ushuru and if the taxmen drop points when they face GFE 105 in midweek, then the Nairobi based power-men will be assured of a chance at qualification with the play-off against the 16th placed team from the KPL.

“We are ready for anything, but it is our wish that we get the automatic slot. Western Stima will be a very tough game because despite the fact that they have already qualified for the Premier League, they want to finish number one,”

“We beat them in the first leg and they will come in for revenge. For us, we are prepared for that game and the players are hungry to get results, from the way they have been playing,” Ambani further noted.

Ambani’s charges warmed up for the Stima Derby with a 2-0 victory over Administration Police while the visitors were 1-0 winners over Coast Stima on Friday, a victory that earned them a confirmed slot in next season’s KPL.

KCB players line up before their National Super League match against Green Commandos at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on September 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu.

Elsewhere, KCB might confirm for themselves a slot in top flight on Wednesday if they pick up maximum points against Coast Stima and Nairobi Stima drop points against Western Stima.

Three points separate the two sides at second and third spot and if both win on Wednesday, the bankers will only need a point in the season ending match to pip them to the second automatic promotion slot.

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Head coach Elvis Ayany has however said they are under no pressure, calling on his players to maintain calm and approach each game with 100 percent effort.

“It is step by step for us. Yes, we see the finish line in sight but nothing is done yet until we confirm that we have the automatic qualification ticket. The last two seasons, we have suffered because we won games even before playing them but now, we can’t underrate anyone. We will fight till the end,” Ayany told Capital Sport.

Ushuru FC players hurdle together before their National Super League match against St. Joseph Youth at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on September 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu.

Though not admitting it, Ushuru seemed to have already resigned to the fact that promotion might be a foregone venture for them this season. Four points away from third place and motivation nowhere near close to fight, the taxmen might do with another season in the second tier.

Ushuru wasted chances on Friday before being held to a 1-1 draw by St. Joseph Youth, a result that with Nairobi Stima winning the next day meant their ambition was all going up in smoke.

“This was the match that I was really relying on to get three points and push, but it did not happen. That’s how football is. We must accept the results; win, draw or loss. The hopes are now minimal but we will see how things go before the season ends,” the experienced and long serving Kenyatta said.

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