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SPL round 31 preview

Action returns this Wednesday with a full raft of nine matches. The title has already been decided - Gor Mahia are the 2017 champions with four games to spare – so the focus is now on the desperate relegation battle involving four teams and the tight Golden Boot race.

Muhoroni Youth v Bandari (Muhoroni)

Languishing Muhoroni Youth’s fate in the top flight league could be decided in this match.

They are rock bottom on the table and six points below second-placed Thika United with four games remaining, meaning that a loss in this game will surely see them exit the top flight.

Coach James Odijo is standing in as an emergency replacement at Muhoroni following the abrupt departure of George Maina two weeks ago.

Bandari on the other hand will play without the experienced quartet of Enock Agwanda, Jacob Keli, Noah Abich and Tyrone Owino who have been handed termination letters.

The coastal lads beat Muhoroni 3-0 in the first leg meeting played on April 1.

Nakumatt v Zoo (Ruaraka)

League joint top scorer in the league with 12 strikes Kepha Aswani of Nakumatt is chasing the Goldon Boot. Need more be said?

Aswani and Joshua Oyoo scored for Nakumatt in the first leg meeting with Zoo which ended 2-0 in favour of the retailers.

Nakumatt midfielder Boniface Akenga has collected five yellow cards and is therefore ineligible to play in this match.

Chemelil Sugar v Tusker (Chemelil)

Recovering Tusker rose to second place in the SPL table a fortnight ago after beating Nzoia Sugar, and will be intent on collecting a win to retain their elevated position on the table.

The brewers will be without their captain James Situma who has been suspended for accumulating 10 yellow cards and a red card.

Tusker’s stand in coach Francis Barasa will be facing his former employers in this match.

Tusker won the first leg clash 1-0.

Nzoia Sugar v AFC Leopards (Mumias Sports Complex)

AFC Leopards are still basking in the glory of reclaiming the GOtv Shield and will approach this match with renewed confidence.

In addition, Ingwe have put together two consecutive wins which have boosted their position on the league table so much so that they are no longer in danger of relegation, a worrying possibility just a few weeks ago.

Salim “Shittu” Abdalla has emerged as Ingwe’s most influential player after the departure of striker Gilbert Fiamenyo.

In their first leg meeting in April Ingwe prevailed 2-1 and will fancy going two up against the Bungoma sugar millers.

Posta Rangers v Kakamega Homeboyz (Narok)

This will be a battle for second place, as both teams are tied on 48 points in third and one point behind second placed Tusker.

Rangers have built up some good momentum after overcoming the 10-match winless record a fortnight ago, and have beaten Zoo Kericho and AFC Leopards in their last two games.

Homeboyz defender Moses Chikati has collected five yellow cards and is duly suspended for this match.

The two teams played to a one-all draw in the first leg.

Sofapaka v Mathare United (Narok)

As things stand, Mathare United must win all their remaining games if they are to survive relegation.

The slum boys have drawn twice and won once in their last three games, but face a huge task getting points from the formidable Sofapaka.

Golden Boot chasing Sofapaka striker Umaru Kasumba is joint second on the scorers’ charts with 11 goals and will certainly be hungry to add to his tally.

Sofapaka beat Mathare 2-1 in the first leg.

Thika United v Sony Sugar (Thika)

Thika are running out of time to get out of the relegation zone.

Sony Sugar midfielder Justine Omari will miss the next two games for his club for collecting five yellow cards and a red card.

Sony’s Joseph Omweri is also suspended from this match for the red card he picked against Chemelil in their last match.

Sony prevailed over Thika 1-0 in their first leg encounter in Awendo in April.

Ulinzi Stars v Kariobangi Sharks (Afraha)

Smarting from their painful loss in the GOtv Shield final to AFC Leopards, Kariobangi Sharks will be seeking redemption this Wednesday.

The league debutants have also not tasted victory in their last six games.

Sharks' deadly Masoud Juma could go top of the scorers’ chart with a goal, or more in this match.

The wounded soldiers have posted two consecutive losses and have gone five games without victory.

The Benjamin Nyangweso-coached side, however, managed to beat Sharks 1-0 in their first leg meeting.

Gor Mahia v Western Stima (Kasarani, 4pm)

Champions in waiting Gor Mahia have two of their strikers chasing for the league’s Golden Boot.

Medie Kagere has 10 goals and Jacques Tuyisenge 12. Expect Gor to do all that is within their powers to pump in the goals via the feet of these proven goal-getters.

Western Stima, must win all their remaining games to stay in this league.

Stima has always been the bogey team for K’Ogalo, and they beat the 15-ime champions 2-1 in their first leg match played on April 2. Could they do it again?







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