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Four teams in tight race as NSL finally takes shape

Barry Silah and Ruth Arege @PeopleSports11

As round 27 of the National Super League (NSL) ended on Sunday afternoon, it was evident the championship mathematically has four teams in strong contention for Premiership promotion.

The top four sides are currently only separated by three points in what pundits believe would be one of the most contested seasons in recent times. The past weekend, however, saw crucial spectacles which changed the dynamics of the league.

Early pacesetters Western Stima and Ushuru who are currently tied on 52 points had their run checked against underdogs Bidco United and Nairobi Stima respectively.

Even as the campaign heats up and positions shift, it becomes tricky for the top sides to drop points which considerably could jeopardise their calculations.

Stima who narrowly lost 1-0 to fifth-placed Bidco Utd on Saturday courtesy of Victor Ayugi’s strike were just beginning to pick momentum after three wins on the trot under new tactician Paul Ogai formerly of Kisumu All Stars. Interestingly the side that inflicted the unexpected defeat to Stima is also handled by a new tactician Anthony Akhulia.

“We want to keep our foot on the ground and take every match as it comes. So far so good and we will not fear anybody but play our game, then see how it ends,” said Akhulia who has put together an impressive four straight winning run for the Thika based side, to steer them out of the relegation zone as they currently have 45 points on the table.

Ibrahim Shikanda’s rampaging Stima ensured they earned sweet revenge by trouncing high riding Ushuru 2-1 at Karuturi to keep them at touching distance with 49 points. In the reverse fixture they were spanked 3-1 by the taxmen who failed to replicate their ideas.

KCB on 50 points look beneficiaries of the whole arithmetical shift at the top as they now occupy third slot with a match in hand. Coach John Kamau however believes keeping the pace will largely depend on playing cautious.

“We have to have the right mentality and make few mistakes. Everybody is fighting for points so no team would come easy,” he told People Sport following his team’s 3-0 dispatch of GFE 105 at Sudi Stadium.

Meanwhile, in Mombasa, Wananyuki beat Somali Youth 3-1 in the quater-final of the  Taifa Ngano tournament played in Mombasa over the weekend. Somali Youth striker Hussein Barre scored the first for his side from a well play in the sixth minute making’ them enjoy the lead until the end of first half. All was not lost for Wananyuki, who despite coming into the pitch one goal down in the second half they managed to an equalizer in the 48th min of the play through Murah Brian.

Few minutes later Mohamed Agege added another goal for his side in the 66th minute before Charles Festus entered into the scoring sheet with a 75th minute goal in the tough encounter played at the Mombasa sports club grounds. Congo boys comfortably beat Fetuwe Fc 1-0, to also secure a semifinals slot.

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