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Relegation fights highlight KPL Round 31

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Mount Kenya United’s Timothy Wanyonyi celebrates his goal during a past match Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – While Mount Kenya United will be automatically relegated from the Kenyan Premier League if they fail to show up against Sony Sugar in Machakos on Saturday afternoon, three other teams will be in action as they seek to release themselves off the snares of the chop.

Mount Kenya have already given two walkovers – to Mathare United and Gor Mahia – and according to regulations a third walkover will automatically see the relegation axe wielded on them.

The players who have not been training have vowed not to show up for the match as they are yet to get their dues.

“As at now (Friday evening) the position still remains that we will not honor the match. The players had said if at least they would help us pay our house rents, then we can consider, But they have not said anything so we will just stay at home,” one of the players told Capital Sport.

Mount Kenya sit bottom of the table with a meagre 18 points off 30 matches and even if they honor their match against Sony and lose, they will be officially relegated with three matches left.

Mount Kenya are 10 points adrift 16th placed Zoo Kericho and 11 away from safety.

Sofapaka striker John Avire wheels past Vihiga United’s Collins Kisuya during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on January 13, 2019. PHOTO/Sofapaka

Vihiga United are placed 18th in the standings with 25 points, three behind the play-off 16th slot and four behind assured safety. Mike Mururi’s men play Tusker FC at the Mumias complex with their focus primed at three points to keep their promotion hopes alive.

A win for Vihiga might potentially  take them above Zoo who play away to bandari FC in Mombasa. Zoo on their end will be looking for maximum points against a Bandari side that has won thrice on the trot and are in good form.

If Zoo pick victory, then they can move as high as 14th if both Posta Rangers and Chemelil fail to win. Rangers face Kakamega Homeboyz in Machakos on Sunday while Chemelil will be at home against Ulinzi Stars on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Kariobangi Sharks and KCB will face off for the second time in less than a week when they duel at the Kasarani Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The two sides clashed last weekend in Machakos in the semi-finals of the Football Kenya Federation Shield with Sharks coming off 1-0 winners courtesy of a Bolton Omwenga own goal.

KCB head coach Frank Ouna shouts instructions from the touchline during their Kenyan premier League fixture against AFC Leopards at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on May 15, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

KCB boss Frank Ouna will be out to lay some revenge as he looks to leap his side into the top eight.

“It was a different ball game altogether and if you look at that game keenly, it wasn’t one with clear cut chances and we had some good opportunities to win. We will go in for victory and to show that we are also a good side,” Ouna said.

He added; “This season our target was to avoid relegation and so far so good I am almost certain we have passed that bridge. Now the focus is to finish the season well and pick points in the four games remaining.”

Meanwhile in Bungoma, third placed Sofapaka will look to pick maximum points against Nzoia and move back to second in the standings. Bandari skipped over them after hitting Tusker on Thursday and Sofapaka can briefly re-take their position.

They will be boosted with the return of striker Umaru Kasumba who will look to extend his goal tally as he hunts for the golden boot while midfielder Brian Magonya also returns after missing last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Gor Mahia in Kisumu.

“It will be quite a tough game for us because Nzoia is not a pushover. They beat Gor Mahia in midweek and will come here with confidence. But we know our focus and we know that we want to finish second now that the league title is gone,” Baraza stated.

KPL weekend fixtures:

Saturday: Mount Kenya United v Sony Sugar, Posta Rangers v Kakamega Homeboyz (Machakos), Kariobangi Sharks v KCB (Kasarani), Nzoia Sugar v Sofapaka (Bungoma).

Sunday: Western Stima v Mathare United (Kisumu), Vihiga United v Tusker (Mumias), Chemelil Sugar v Ulinzi Stars (Chemelil), Bandari v Zoo Kericho (Mombasa), AFC Leopards v Gor Mahia (Kasarani)

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