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NSL title race open as four teams take league lead

Barry Silah @obel_barry

The race for promotion to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) next season will not be among a select few given what has been witnessed in the second tier National Super League (NSL) so far.

With most teams having played seven matches at the end of last weekend, four teams are tied on 14 points with four of the chasing pack just two points (one team) and three points (three teams) behind, two of them with a match in hand.

It is a clear sign of how competitive the 2018 season is turning out to be with only three promotion slots available, two direct and one via a play-off. Bidco United are the surprise leaders having taken over from Kibera Black Stars after a 2-0 win over Administration Police last weekend.

Leonard Saleh’s men, who have lost only once in the campaign, lead the standings on goal difference ahead of Western Stima, Kibera Black Stars and Kisumu All Stars all who have 14 points. Stima won 1-0 away to stubborn GFE 105 on Saturday to get back on track after enduring a difficult two weeks, a period which they surrendered top spot.

But the same cannot be said of two early season contenders Ushuru and KCB whose form has been erratic despite good financial backing. The two came close to KPL promotion last year before fizzling out at the back end of the season and it was assumed they would launch a sustained campaign in 2018 but that has not happened so far.

Ushuru, who lie 13th on the 19-team table with eight points, were beaten 3-0 by Coast Stima in Mombasa, their biggest loss thus far while sixth-placed KCB drew 1-1 away to St Joseph’s Youth.

The biggest win of the weekend, however, came from Bukhungu Stadium where Kakamega High School’s Green Commandoes stunned former leaders Isibania 4-1 for their first three points of the campaign.

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