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Chemelil, Zoo set for final day KPL drama

Chemelil Sugar players line up before a past Kenyan premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – With the title race all but wrapped up with Gor Mahia winning their record 18th crown with three games to spare, the final day drama of the Kenyan Premier League will swing to the bottom of the standings with Zoo Kericho and Chemelil Sugar looking to avoid the single relegation slot left.

Vihiga United and Mount Kenya United have both been relegated automatically but the fight will be on who evades the 16th place play-off slot between the sugar millers and Zoo.

Zoo Kericho handed themselves a massive boost winning 3-2 against Kakamega Homeboyz to move to 15th spot with 32 points, just one more than Chemelil who lost 1-0 to Mathare United in Awasi.

Destiny is in Zoo’s hands and they just need to beat KCB at the Mumias Complex to assure themselves of one more season in top flight. Chemelil host Sony Sugar in Awasi and their only hope will be pegged on winning and Zoo’s loss against KCB.

“We are playing at home and so we have to go all out. It will be a tough match because Sony are not an easy side but our focus is on getting maximum points. I know and I believe in my boys that we can pull this off,” Baraza said ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s crunch tie.

They come up against a Sony Sugar side that has been in superb form winning three of their last five games to move fourth in the standings. On the contrast, Chemelil are winless in the last five games, losing three and drawing two.

Chemelil Sugar head coach Francis Baraza shouts instructions during a past Kenyan premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Separating the two sides has always been hard. In their last 21 meetings, Chemelil carry a slight advantage having won eight, lost six and drawn seven. On Wednesday, they will hope their good luck charm continues and their former head coach Patrick Odhiambo, now coaching Sony does them a favor.

Miles away in Mumias, Zoo Kericho will be going all out for all three against KCB, a side that held them to a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Kericho.

Herman Iswekha, Zoo Kericho’s stand in coach is confident his side can pull off three points from the bankers who will host their last game in Mumias as all final-day games will kick off at the same time and no venue will be available in Nairobi.

“I am confident that we can survive. We have a good team with good players and we will give our all in the remaining game. We have suffered this season because we lost many of our key players and we failed to replace them but I believe we will remain in the league so that we can plan ourselves better for next season,” Iswekha opined.

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In their quest though, Zoo have been dealt a major blow with star midfielder Danson Chetambe suspended for the tie after picking up five yellow cards.

Zoo Kericho midfielder Danson Chetambe controls the ball during his side’s match against Tusker FC at the Ruaraka Complex on May 24, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

In a season of tough times for Zoo, Chetambe has been one of the finest performers for the club and his absence will be a massive blow.

Whoever fails to pick maximum points on Wednesday will not have lost it all though as they will be contesting for a place in the top tier with the third placed team from the National Super League.

The spit is currently occupied by Nairobi Stima who however are level on 71 points with second placed Kisumu All Stars with three rounds of matches left. Ushuru are placed fourth with a four-point deficit.

KPL final day fixtures (All games kick off at 2pm)

Western Stima v AFC Leopards (Moi Stadium Kisumu), Nzoia Sugar v Bandari (Sudi Stadium, Bungoma), Sofapaka v Kakamega Homeboyz (Mbaraki Complex (Mombasa), Gor Mahia v Mathare United (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos), Ulinzi Stars v Mount Kenya United (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru), Tusker FC v Posta Rangers (Ruaraka Complex, Nairobi), Chemelil Sugar v Sony Sugar (Chemelil Complex, Awasi), Kariobangi Sharks v Vihiga United (Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi), KCB v Zoo Kericho (Mumias Complex)

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