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SPL round 33 preview

The relegation battle is going down to the wire. Five teams - Western Stima, Zoo Kericho, Thika United, Mathare United and Nakumatt - will be in a desperate hunt for points at this penultimate round to stay alive in the competition.

Another tussle is also taking place. Kariobangi Sharks' sensational striker Masoud Juma is in pole position this deep in the season to bag the coveted Golden Boot. With 15 goals to his name he needs only match whatever strike his closest rivals Meddie Kagere (12 goals), Jacques Tuyisege (12) and Kepha Aswani (12) to ran away with the 2017 gong. Who will blink first this weekend?

SATURDAY

*Mathare United v Muhoroni Youth (Ruaraka)

Mathare United are on the brink for going down for the first time since their promotion to the top league two decades ago. They desperately need three points from their two remaining games to survive.

Muhoroni Youth’s relegation fate is already known and they will be fighting for just pride, the little that is left in them.

Mathare United goalkeeper Levis Opiyo picked a red card in his team’s previous match against Nzoia Sugar and has been suspended from the match.

The first leg ended 1-1 but you feel Mathare will carry the day on Saturday.

Zoo Kericho v Thika United (Moi)

Known to spring surprises whenever they are pinned to the ropes, Thika United will be hoping to collect the three points that they need to mathematically guarantee safety.

Zoo Kericho are also fighting for survival and need to win to remain safe. A drew could also be enough if other results go their way.

Thika edged out the Kericho-based outfit 1-0 in their first leg encounter on April 9.

Bandari v Ulinzi Stars (Mbaraki)

Ordinary Ulinzi Stars would start out as favourites, but with their erratic form only diehard fans of the Kenya Defence Forces side will back them to win.

Lewis Cosmas will be relied upon by Bandari coach Paul Nkata to bring in the goals, while Nyangweso will still rely on the experience of off-form striker Stephen Waruru and his partner Samuel Onyango upfront.

Ulinzi beat Bandari 2-1 in their first leg clash at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium.

Will recent four-goal hero Edwin Lavatsa rise to the occasion for Bandari again?

Kakamega Homeboyz v Gor Mahia (Mumias)

If Medie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge, jointly on 12, are to topple the league’s current top scorer Masoud Juma (15 goals) and stay in Golden Boot contention, they must aim to score more than just one goal each in this match.

Kakamega Homeboyz have won just one of their last four games and could feel overwhelmed playing against the champions in waiting.

Gor have never lost to Homeboyz in their five meetings in the Premier League, the last a 1-0 triumph in their first leg clash.

Kariobangi Sharks v Nzoia Sugar (Camp Toyoyo)

Leading scorer in the league Kariobangi Sharks striker Juma is decidedly red hot after recently plundering four goals to underline his top marksman status in the league this season. A Golden Boot award will crown his growing reputation and he will be hungry to knock more goals in against the sugar men.

Nzoia on the other hand are pushing for a top half finish and will also be going for the kill.

Sharks will be the more confident side be virtue of having won the first leg 2-0.

Sony Sugar v Nakumatt (Awendo)

Nakumatt’s Kepha Aswani has been silent in the last two rounds and will be keen to return to scoring ways.

Mwana Yema, Sony’s deadly front runner, lifted the sugar millers to an impressive 1-0 win over hot pre-match favourites Sofapaka last weekend, and could be the key man on Saturday.

The two sides settled to a barren draw in the reverse fixture.

Tusker v Sofapaka (Ruaraka)

This is arguably the most enticing match of the weekend, as it involves two big name sides, even though there is really not much to play for for the two who will be bitterly disappointed they did not win the title this season.

At third and fourth place on the log, the two teams are just within a point of each other, and will look to secure a second placed finish, if that is any consolation.

Tusker defender Collins Shivachi will be facing his former employers in this match while his captain James Situma returns from suspension.

The two played to a 2-2 draw in the first leg and another draw is a distinct possibility.

Western Stima v Posta Rangers (Moi)

Following the relegation of Muhoroni Youth last weekend Western Stima remain the team in greatest danger of going down.

They must beat Posta or most certainly kiss top flight football bye bye.

Western Stima midfielder Geoffrey Ochieng is suspended for this match after collecting five yellow cards.

Rangers won the first leg 1-0 and will fancy another win even though they are playing a desperate team that will likely fight like a cornered wolverine.

SUNDAY

AFC Leopards v Chemelil Sugar (MISC)

The two teams secured their safety in the league in the last round of matches and may hold back on their throttles.

But then again, perhaps not. AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano is not a man known to settle for less than a win and could have a trick or two up his sleeve.

Chemelil beat Leopards 2-0 in their first leg clash and will be anything but intimidated by this freshly crowned GOtv Shield champions







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