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Relegation playoff, Golden Boot race highlight KPL action

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By CELLESTINE OLILO
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The 2018 SportPesa Premier League (SPL) season comes to a close this weekend and with Gor Mahia having already been crowned champions, there are two major issues yet to be resolved.

One of the issues that could provide some exciting last-day drama is the battle against relegation playoffs that currently incorporates four teams and the other is the Golden Boot race.

The relegation playoff, introduced last season by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), involves the third-placed team in the National Super League and the third last team in the SPL who face off over two legs to determine who plays in the top tier for the upcoming campaign.

Thika United found their way back to the topflight after beating Ushuru 2-1 on aggregate in the playoff last year. This year, four teams are battling against the relegation playoffs.

Wazito and Thika United have already confirmed their drop by finishing in the bottom two positions, but the team that will face a NSL side in the relegation playoffs is yet to be determined.

Four teams namely Chemelil Sugar, Nakumatt, Nzoia Sugar and Posta Rangers are all in danger of finishing in the now dreaded 16th league position.

The four will therefore be chasing victory while looking over their shoulders in the hope that their fellow battlers drop points against their opponents in the final round of matches slated for Sunday.

Posta Rangers coach Sammy Omollo react during their SportPesa Premier League match against Muhoroni Youth on September 13, 2017 at Ruaraka grounds. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Posta Rangers coach Sammy Omollo reacts during their SportPesa Premier League match against Muhoroni Youth on September 13, 2017 at Ruaraka grounds. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I have told my players to be calm because this kind of pressure can lead to needless mistakes and that can be detrimental to us. I want the players to approach the game like any other and forget about the mathematical statistics involved. But even if we lose this weekend, I am confident that we will win the playoffs and remain in the top flight, said Rangers coach Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo who has a tricky away fixture against Kakamega Homeboyz.

The mailmen are on a four match losing streak.

Meanwhile, the Golden Boot is still up for grabs after with three players level on 15 goals.

Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge, former Nzoia Sugar striker Elvis Rupia and Kariobangi Sharks hit man Eric Kapaito are tied at the top of the scorers’ list with 15 goals each. Mike Madoya, who scored in Zoo Kericho’s 4-1 loss to Gor Mahia on Thursday, is also a hopeful on fourth place with 14 goals.

Mathare United ace Clifff Nyakeya and Zoo’s Nicholas Kipkurui are also within touching distance of the top scorers’ gong with 13 goals each while AFC Leopards striker Ezekiel Odera and Ulinzi Stars midfielder Elvis Nandwa have 12 strikes each.

The Golden Boot comes with a Sh500,000 cash award and all the eight players have declared their interest in it as they prepare to find the net one last time this season.

Gor Mahia Jacque Tuyisenge (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Ephrem Guikan during their Sportpesa Premier League match against AFC Leopards at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 22, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Gor Mahia Jacque Tuyisenge (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Ephrem Guikan during their Sportpesa Premier League match against AFC Leopards at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 22, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I am confident that I will win the Golden Boot although it will be tough. I will put my efforts in the last match however tough the opponents will be,” said Tuyisenge.

Based on this, Tuyisenge is a sure starter in Gor Mahia’s last match against former champions Tusker that will be played on Sunday 3pm at the Thika sub county Stadium.

AFC Leopards vs Nzoia Sugar (Machakos Stadium)

Bandari vs Thika United (Mombasa)

Kakamega Homeboyz vs Posta Rangers (Mumias Complex)

Kariobangi Sharks vs Chemelil Sugar (Camp Toyoyo)

Mathare United vs Ulinzi Stars (MISC Kasarani)

Nakumatt vs Vihiga United (Ruaraka Grounds)

Sony Sugar vs Wazito (Awendo Green Stadium)

Tusker vs Gor Mahia (Thika Stadium)

Zoo vs Sofapaka (Kericho Green Stadium)

All games kick off at 3pm



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