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Promoted KCB, Western Stima face tricky ties

SportPesa Kenya Premier League (SPL) returnees have a lot in their hands when they face Kakamega Homeboyz in their first taste of top-flight action on December 8 since being in limbo for three years.

There is no respite after the conclusion of the SPL 2018 season and for KCB, their 2019 season opening match against Homeboyz at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega will give the team’s coach Elvis Ayany a grand opportunity to prove that the bankers really deserved to dine with the big boys.

KCB needed goals from Dennis Gicheru and Simon Abuko to hit the 75 point-mark at the top of the National Super League (NSL), thus earning qualification to the top-tier league.

Ayany himself a utility player at KCB, said he was happy at the input of his players, adding that he would wish to prove a point in the opening SPL match against Homeboyz and indeed the subsequent fixtures.

“I’m happy with the character displayed by his charges, who earned the promotion with one round of matches still left to the conclusion of the season. We are aware of what is awaiting us in the top tier, but we are ready for it thanks to the competitive season we have had,” said Ayany.

Ayany was a KCB FC player in 2015 when they were relegated from the Kenyan Premier League but three years down the line, he has helped the team get promotion back to the top tier, though this time as the head coach.

The bankers assured themselves of a slot in next year’s top league after beating FC Talanta 2-0, thus cementing their hold on second spot with an eight-point buffer between them and Nairobi Stima.

“I was playing for KCB when we were relegated in 2015 and now I am thankful that I have helped the team gain promotion. It has been like a dream come true for me and I feel so proud of the players and the effort they gave,” the tactician told Capital Sport.

The bankers have previously tried in vain in 2016 and 2017 to return to top flight but on both occasions, they failed to deliver, waning away on the final few weeks of the campaign.

In the meantime, Western Stima who last participated in the SPL in 2017 have to deal with Post Rangers in their opening match as former champions Sofapaka face off the play-off winner at Ruaraka ground.

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