Muhoroni Youth stare at relegation, body language says it all

By alex wafula
Nov 02, 2017
  • Muhoroni Youth in a previous match against Sofapaka. The Sugar millers appear to have resigned to being relegation after a lukewarm season. (SNA. File Photo)

Muhoroni Youth could be relegated if they lose to Kariobangi Sharks on Saturday depending on whether Mathare United, Western Stima and Thika United win their matches on Sunday.

The result would mean Muhoroni Youth drop 10 points away from safety, making it mathematically impossible to survive with three matches remaining. They lost 2-6 to Bandari on Wednesday.

Their opponents, Kariobangi Sharks played against Ulinzi Stars in Nakuru on Wednesday.

Muhoroni Youth have endured a torrid season and looking at the body language of their players, the urge to fight has died down.

Meanwhile, Western Stima, Thika United and Mathare United who are separated by only a point and goal difference intensify their fight for survival.

Western Stima occupy the second automatic relegation zone second from bottom. They will be playing against Ulinzi Stars at Moi Stadium, Kisumu.

“I am not worried at all that we will be relegated. There is so much improvement in this team since I came, we just need to score goals. The gap between us and Thika is very small. We just need to win and hope things work in our favor,” Richard Makumbi, the Western Stima coach said.

The last three meetings between the two sides have ended in 1-1 draws. Western Stima last beat the soldiers in 2013 at Bukhungu Stadium.

Winless Ilinzi

But they will be encouraged with their recent form vis-a-vis Ulinzi who are winless in their last five matches, losing twice and drawing thrice. Western Stima have lost once, winning twice and drawing a similar number.

“It is a tough match against Ulinzi because they are one of the top teams in Kenya. But we are driven by hope and belief. We will give our all in these three remaining matches,” the coach noted.

A loss for Western Stima will be welcome news for Mathare United and Thika United who are on 32 points. If they win, they will open up a four-point gap with two matches left and they will only need to win one of the two to avoid the axe.

However, one of them could still be trapped into relegation if FKF and KPL agree on a play-off between the 16th-placed team in the top tier and the third-placed team in the second tier.

Mathare United will be at home to Nzoia Sugar who beat AFC Leopards 2-0 on Wednesday.

Francis Kimanzi, the Mathare United head coach is at ease despite the tense end to the season.

“It doesn’t mean the other teams will win all their games as well. There is no panic on my side. I have a young squad but at the same time they are conscious of the situation we are in and if we keep on working the way we have done so far, we will be safe,” stated Kimanzi.

The two sides drew 0-0 in the first leg in Bungoma. Nzoia Sugar are seventh on the rankings and coach Bernard Mwalala is keen to finish among the top eight in their debut season.

Fight for survival

In the meantime, Thika United will take their hunt for survival to the Ruaraka Complex where they face Tusker FC.

They beat SoNy Sugar 1-0 on Wednesday, a possible motivation against the outgoing champions.

For this match, coach Nicholas Muyoti will be without Onwudi Chibueze, a striker. The Nigerian forward who scored the lone goal against SoNy Sugar was red-carded.

But, Muyoti hopes his charges can step up although he admits Chibueze’s absence is a huge blow. “It is sad and unfortunate for us but we cannot cry because of that. We need to keep the fighting spirit and the confidence is now up,” Muyoti said.

Tusker who have sprung up to second have re-discovered some late form and have won three of their last five matches, the other two being draws. They will be aiming for revenge against Thika United who beat them 2-0 in the first leg.

A win for Thika and a drop in points by Mathare will see the two sides swap places.

KPL weekend fixtures (All matches kick off 3 p.m. unless stated)

Saturday: Kakamega Homeboyz v Chemelil Sugar (Mumias Complex), Kariobangi Sharks v Muhoroni Youth (Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani).

Sunday: Tusker FC v Thika United (Ruaraka Complex), Mathare United v Nzoia Sugar (2 p.m.), AFC Leopards v Nakumatt (4 p.m. Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani), Bandari v Posta Rangers (Mbaraki Complex), SoNy Sugar v Sofapaka (Awendo Stadium), Western Stima v Ulinzi Stars (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Zoo Kericho v Gor Mahia (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).