Gibo Zachary @Peoplesports11
Western Stima and Muhoroni Youth will begin life in the unfamiliar waters of the second-tier National Super League (NSL) this weekend not knowing where the currents will take them at the end of the 2018 campaign.
The two were relegated from the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) after a poor top-flight campaign last year and although they will be seeking a quick return to the big time, past experiences have shown that it will not be easy.
Muhoroni need to look no further than this weekend’s opponents KCB who were a mainstay in the KPL before their relegation four years ago, and have found it difficult to return ever since.
The Awasi-based team will also have to sort out the issues that contributed to their relegation, chief among them none payment of players’ salaries and allowances, if they are to launch a sustained fight to win the title or gain promotion.
The same can be said of Stima, whose lights went off after reports of sabotage among the playing unit, and coach Henry Omino will have to be wary of such incidents once again, otherwise lightning will strike twice. Besides KCB, Ushuru and Nairobi City Stars are the other teams that once played in KPL but have found it tough in the very competitive NSL where reputations count for nothing.
KCB came close to gaining promotion last year before they fizzled out at the business end of the season, allowing Wazito FC and Vihiga United to pip them same as Ushuru, who lost the coveted slot by a single point, being forced into a play-off which they eventually lost 2-1 on aggregate to Thika United.
Add in seasoned NSL sides Nairobi Stima and Kenya Police, who finished sixth and seventh in that order last season, and the fight for the two direct tickets to KPL gets even more interesting.
Nakuru Allstars, Kibera Black Stars, Modern Coast Rangers, GFE 105, ambitious Isebania FC, Bidco United, Talanta, St Joseph’s Youth and Administration Police are the other lNSL regulars that will be aiming to do well this year while newcomers such as history makers Green Commandos and Kagemi All-Stars seek to avoid going straight back to the third tier Division One.