League leaders Tusker and second placed KCB rub shoulders in what may decide the tight campaign
When Betking Premier League table toppers Tusker were prematurely declared Kenya’s representatives in the Africa Champions League on June 30 after a 4-1 win over Ulinzi Stars, the result left egg on the face of their closest challengers KCB.
Before the brewers annihilation of the soldiers, the bankers, who are still second in the pecking order with nine round of matches remaining, had been hoping to put their best feet forward in anticipation of a debut in continental football but ended up squeezing a 2-1 win over Bidco United which was too little too late.
“We have been toe to toe with Tusker in the standings and I must say we were overly downhearted when they (Tusker) were declared the country’s flag bearers at our expense. For heaven’s sake, let’s forget that and forge ahead,” said KCB coach Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno then.
Incidentally, Tusker and KCB, who are first and second with 50 points and 46 points respectively, are on the warpath on Sunday at Thika Stadium from 4pm in a match that may as well turn out to be the potential title decider.
While Tusker will be gunning to cement their lead with a win, KCB will do themselves a very big favour as a haul of maximum points will enable them bridge a point against the former who are basking in the pride of having stopped cup holders Gor Mahia in a 2-1 win in a midweek clash.
This will be an opportunity for KCB to win the anticipated cliff-hanger to continue endearing themselves to Kenyan football fans who have been used to either Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards or Tusker winning the gong.
KCB who had been branded also-rans before the Betking league kicked off will be desperate to secure a win and ultimately win the league with the hope of at least making their maiden appearance in the Cecafa/Kagame Cup that is reserved for champions in East African Leagues.
For KCB, their hopes are expected to ride on the shoulders of Derick Otanga and David Owino while Tusker should keep faith on Boniface Muchiri and Eugene Asike, whose goals peppered the ale-men against Gor. Meanwhile, Ulinzi Stars and Sofapaka will be gunning for improved results after insipid performances last weekend.
Ulinzi, who lost 3-1 to Kakamega Homeboyz, have a date with Nairobi City Stars in an early kick off Saturday at ASK Nakuru ground while Sofapaka, who were held 1-1 by lowly Vihiga United, face the test of Bidco United in Thika on Sunday from 1.00 pm.
As for Homeboyz who are inspired by match-making exploits of Allan Wanga, they face what appears a modest opposition in relegation-threatened Mathare United who are still glued at the lower reaches of the league.