NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – Vihiga United, Chemelil Sugar, Nzoia Sugar, Nakumatt and Posta Rangers find themselves in the deep end of the Kenyan Premier League survival fight when the 2018 season culminates on Sunday.
Thika United and Wazito FC have already been officially relegated from the top tier and there will be one more team who will sit on the judgement seat, but in the play-off with the third placed team from the National Super League.
Vihiga, Chemelil and Nzoia are all on 38 points while Nakumatt and Posta are on 37 with the mailmen currently occupying the play-off slot, differentiated from Nakumatt on goal difference.
The biggest battle will be at the Ruaraka Complex where Nzoia takes on Nakumatt and if Posta win, whoever loses between the two will drop to the zone. A draw will see Nakumatt drop down while Vihiga will be safe.
Vihiga head coach Mike Mururi has described their clash against Nakumatt as a ‘Cup final’ and has told his team to play the game of their lives to remain in the top tier.
“This is all about their lives right now. We face a very tough Nakumatt side with tactical and technical players and we need to give our best for that game. We cannot afford to relax from the first to last minute. Looking at the team in training this week, I am confident we are in the right frame to win,” Mururi said.
Vihiga have not lost in their last four games, winning two including against champions Gor Mahia and drawing the other two. Their last meeting with Nakumatt ended in a barren draw at the Mumias Complex.
They come up against a Nakumatt side that has not won over the last five games losing three and drawing two, with sources intimating that the poor performance has been down to financial issues with the taps of the new owner said to have run dry.
But, the side will be looking to avoid the chop and a win at home, on a ground that has more often than not favored them will be a huge reprieve.
-Posta in hot soup
Posta Rangers meanwhile look more in hot soup as a loss against Homeboyz will confirm them as the team to take the play-off. Head coach Sammy Omollo has admitted that his side is in trouble, but has called on the players to step up, just for this one time.
“We have to fight with our all now because the danger of relegation is real. We just have to win; no two ways about it,” Omollo said after his side’s 2-0 loss against Sony Sugar last weekend.
Posta are on a run of four losses on the trot and have to win at all costs. On paper, they will be confident as they have only lost once to Homeboyz over their last five meetings, winning two and drawing the other two.
The last meeting between them ended 2-0 in favor of the mailmen in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Chemelil will look to complete the survival job playing against Kariobangi Sharks in Nairobi, taking on a side that has not tasted f=defeat since August 19.
Across all competitions, Sharks have won six games and drawn two and will come into the tie high in confidence especially as they seek a top five finish.
Another small motivation pushing the Sharks side will come in through striker Eric Kapaito who is looking to seal the golden boot with at least a goal as he is currently joint top with Jacques Tuyisenge and Elvis Rupia all on 15.
KPL weekend fixtures
AFC Leopards vs Nzoia Sugar FC – 3PM – Machakos, Bandari vs Thika United – 3PM – Mombasa, Kakamega Homeboyz vs Posta Rangers – 3PM – Mumias, Kariobangi Sharks vs Chemelil Sugar FC – 3PM – Camp Toyoyo, Mathare United vs Ulinzi Stars – 3PM – Kasarani, Nakumatt FC vs Vihiga United – 3PM – Ruaraka, Sony Sugar FC vs Wazito FC – 3PM – Awendo, Tusker FC vs Gor Mahia – 3PM – Thika Zoo Kericho vs Sofapaka – 3PM – Kericho