Bankers beat Talanta to earn top flight return after three-year absence

KCB’s decision to sack John Kamau with just over one month remaining befores the season ends has yielded handsome dividends as they gained promotion to the SportPesa Premier League yesterday after a three-year hiatus.

The bankers dispensed with Kamau last month with the team in fourth position in the 19-team league and in danger of missing out on automatic promotion, replacing him with Elvis Ayany.

The decision seems to have been a masterstroke as Ayany has won all his five matches in change as KCB dislodged Nairobi Stima to finish second and earn automatic promotion alongside leaders Western Stima who sealed their place two weeks ago.

Ayany’s side left it late to beat a hard-fighting FC Talanta 2-0 at Camp Toyoyo yesterday following well-taken goals from Dennis Gicheru and Simon Abuko to take them to a comfortable 75 points with a match left.

Talanta seemed intent on frustrating their challengers as they closed out the spaces at the back with KCB’s creative midfielder Martin Nderitu tightly-marked which meant the attacking trio of Chrispinus Onyango, Kennedy Owino and Simon Abuko were bereft of service.

Following a good move between Onyango and Dennis Nganga, the former was tripped for a foul 10 minutes from time and the resultant free kick was poked in by centre back Dennis Gicheru for KCB’s opening goal.

The second goal came when fleet footed substitute Samuel Mwangi was tripped by Michael Muya for a straight penalty call. Abuko stepped up to net the spot kick in the 91st minute, eliciting wild celebrations from his team-mates.

“We have maintained a good run recently and all we needed to do was keep playing our game. I am happy for the boys because they have sacrificed a lot to this end. Now we can celebrate,” said Ayany.

Meanwhile, third placed Nairobi Stima and fourth-placed Ushuru will have to wait until next week to know who between them will qualify for the playoffs.

Both teams are tied on 68 points with Nairobi Stima—who drew 1-1 with Kenya Police yesterday—having a superior goal difference. Ushuru beat Nakuru All Stars 3-0 and will be hoping that Stima fail to light up on the final day while they triumph to claim the playoff spot which will see them face Nakumatt FC in a two-leg tie for a chance to qualify for the top flight.

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