14 September 2017

Kenya: Nsimbe Not Throwing in Towel on Title Chase

Nairobi — Tusker FC head coach George 'Best' Nsimbe is still holding on to the final straws of an otherwise disastrous season, keeping faith that the Brewers can still race up a 14 point gap between them and leaders Gor Mahia with 11 rounds of matches remaining.

Nsimbe's charges revived their faintest title hopes on Wednesday with a 2-1 home win over resilient Zoo Kericho with the win taking them to 33 points and ending a three-match winless streak.

"This is a marathon and we can't give up. This is a great win for us and maybe this is the touch of luck we were looking for. This might be the turning point. We are not giving up and we will fight to the end. I still believe we can catch up," a confident Nsimbe told Capital Sport.

The Ugandan tactician, who joined Tusker at the beginning of the season, has also said he is confident the club's management still has self-belief in him despite an otherwise underwhelming season.

Tusker were eliminated from the GOtv Shield, a title they won for the first time in 23 years last season while their league defense campaign now seems in tatters.

"I am a qualified coach and I know the club has confidence in me. I should have more time to make this team great. This season we have not been very lucky but I still believe we can do something in future," Nsimbe added.

-Sofapaka title hunt-

Meanwhile, second placed Sofapaka saw their title charge slowed down with a 2-1 loss at the hands of another title hopeful, Ulinzi Stars.

However, the silver lining in Sofapaka's loss was that Ugandan forward Umaru Kassumba struck his 11th goal in seven matches, moving joint top of the goal scorers' chart with Ulinzi's Stephen Waruru.

With a game at hand, the soldiers moved to fifth with 36 points, nine short of leaders Gor Mahia.

"We played well and I see the rhythm is coming back slowly. We have been faced with a tough run of fixtures and getting to pick a win against a team on form like Sofapaka is a big boost for us. We will also give our best in the remaining 12 games and see whether we can challenge for the title," Ulinzi head coach Benjamin Nyangweso said.

Sofapaka assistant coach John Baraza was gracious in defeat and affirmed the team will not be deterred by the loss, instead focusing more energy to bridge the gap between them and the leaders.

-Relegation battle-

While the battle at the top remained intense, the fight for survival at the bottom equally made interesting twists.

Mathare United who had earlier not lost a single match in the second leg found themselves dragged back into the murky waters of relegation after an astounding 3-0 loss at the hands of Kariobangi Sharks.

The Premier League new boys completed a home and away whitewash of the Slum Boys, a classic example of the apprentice outwitting the master.

Not only have most of the Kariobangi Sharks players come through the Mathare system but their head coach William Muluya is a coaching student of Mathare United's Francis Kimanzi.

The victory took Sharks to fourth in the standings, much keeping to William Muluya's ambition of a top five finish

The battle for survival is set to go down the wire with Western Stima and Thika United both dropping points at home while Muhoroni Youth picked one away.

Muhoroni who were promoted to top tier football in 2012 stay confident they will remain in the league despite being placed bottom with 20 points, seven off safety.

"There are 11 games remaining and I need to win only five of those. The gap between us and safety is not big. I am confident the players can get something despite the fact that we are going through tough times especially on finances," head coach James Omondi told Capital Sport.

KPL midweek results:

Western Stima 0 Kakamega Homeboyz 0 (Moi Stadium Kisumu), Mathare United 0 Kariobangi Sharks 3 (Narok), Nzoia Sugar 3 Bandari 0 (Sudi, Bungoma), Thika United 2 Nakumatt 2 (Thika), Posta Rangers 0 Muhoroni Youth 0, Tusker FC 2 Zoo Kericho 1 (Ruaraka Complex), AFC Leopards 0 SoNy Sugar 1, Ulinzi Stars 2 Sofapaka 1 (Kericho Stadium).

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