Sports

Nzoia relegated, survival fight on

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 03:15 | By
ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo (centre) join other Gor Mahia fans in celebrating the team’s 21st Premier League title, on the terraces of the SportPesa Stadium in Muranga on Sunday.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo (centre) join other Gor Mahia fans in celebrating the team’s 21st Premier League title, on the terraces of the SportPesa Stadium in Muranga on Sunday. PHOTO/Print

It is now official. Nzoia Sugar became the first team to be relegated from the 2023-24 Football Kenya Federation Premier League campaign following their 0-0 draw against Nairobi City Stars at Sudi Stadium in Bungoma on Sunday.

The Sugar Millers, who earned promotion to the top-flight in 2016, saw their journey end after only eight years after enduring a frustrating campaign that saw them collect a paltry 19 points from 31 matches, though they still have three matches to conclude the season.

To summarize their disastrous campaign, Nzoia have managed four wins and seven draws and suffered the most defeats in 20. Against City Stars, a win could have extended their slim hopes of survival to the final day of the campaign as they still have to play against Ulinzi Stars, Muhoroni Youth, and Sofapaka.

However, it was not the case as Simba wa Nairobi proved difficult to break despite playing away to snatch a draw that ended Nzoia’s life in the league. “I kept believing we could survive, we had to keep and trust the process but it is now not possible even if we win our next matches,” said Nzoia Sugar Mike Mururi after the game.

The draw enabled City Stars to keep their fifth space on the 18-team table with 48 points, accumulated from 13 wins, nine draws, and 10 defeats. Following Nzoia’s relegation, the battle for survival will continue to gather pace with Sofapaka, Shabana, and Muhoroni lying on the chopping board.

Sofapaka kept alive their slim chances of staying up following a 2-2 draw away to Bandari FC at Ukunda Stadium on Sunday. Batoto ba Mungu should blame themselves for not coming out winners, as they raced into an early 2-0 lead in the first half courtesy of a double from Darius Msagha.

However, the Dockers, who have been blowing hot and cold in recent matches, hit back to level matters through Izaddin Ramadan in the 59th minute and Beja Nyamawi in the 87th minute. As it stands, Sofapaka are sitting two places above the relegation spot in position 14 with 32 points, after leap-frogging FC Talanta, who dropped to position 15 with 31 points.

Kisii-based Glamour Boys Shabana are placed in the 16th position with 29 points and will be fighting with Muhoroni, who have 28 points for the relegation playoff spot, which guarantees a place in the league for another season.

Meanwhile, while Gor Mahia lifted a record-breaking 21st league title following their 3-0 success against Muhoroni, their rivals AFC Leopards suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Bidco United.

Samuel Ndungu scored for Bidco in the 65th minute to hand Ingwe their eighth defeat of the season. The defeat left Ingwe in position sixth on the log with 47 points while Bidco remained tenth with 44 points.

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