Prior to their 3-1 loss to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) on Sunday in the National Super League, Nairobi Stima needed all points from their remaining games to have hopes promotion to the SportPesa Premier League.
But those lingering hopes were extinguished by the bankers at Camp Toyoyo grounds in Nairobi, and the race for promotion to Kenya’s top-flight football league intensified after Ushuru and Wazito won their respective matches in eight NSL fixtures played at the weekend.
Stima assistant coach, Fred Ambani, blamed laxity on his charges that saw them soak three goals in the opening seven minutes. “I think the boys undermined the opponents and conceded quick goals which scattered our plans,” said Ambani.
KCB coach Leonard Saleh, whose team is under pressure to return to the top-flight after a two-year hiatus, said: “We have no otherwise but to win all our remaining games to keep our promotion chances high.”
In Kisumu, Ushuru kept their ambitions on track with a 2-0 win over Palos FC, while Eric Odhiambo’s 68th-minute strike extended Wazito’s winning run in Nakuru County with a hard-fought 1-0 success over Nakuru AllStars at Afraha Stadium.
Ken Kenyatta’s Ushuru are atop the 19-team table with 75 points, and Wazito are second on 74. KCB (73) and Vihiga (71) who face Palos tomorrow, follow in that order. A win for Edward Manoah’s Vihiga will see them leapfrog Wazito in second spot.
All eyes will be on the next two games involving the four teams. Ushuru play relegated Ministry of Sports, Youth and Culture (Mosca) and fellow title contenders Vihiga, while Wazito have Kibera Black Stars and Kenya Police, who beat St Joseph 3-1 in Karuturi, to contend with.
Vihiga are also yet visit Bidco United, who beat Mosca 1-0 on Monday, in their other must-win game.