The Kenya Premier League (KPL) is now on its homestretch and the title is more or less taken. The real battle in the KPL currently is the relegation battle. Mount Kenya United has already been relegated as they cannot get the points required to move out of the red zone.
Two teams from the KPL will be relegated while two from the National Super League will gain promotion to the top tier. It is not certain yet which teams will be promoted but Wazito FC and Ushuru FC are the favourites.
In the KPL relegation survival battle, three teams are facing the risk of joining Mount Kenya United to the NSL. Chemelil Sugar, Vihiga United and Zoo Kericho are the teams that could be relegated this season if they do not fight hard enough to stay in the top tier.
Sitting 15th on the log, Chemelil Sugar is currently safe from relegation but a minor slip can see them drop to the red zone. The millers are only four points away from relegation, which means a two-game slip would be lethal to their hopes of staying in the KPL.
However, they have a huge chance of staying as their fixtures are not as difficult as those of their opponents. Chemelil is yet to play against Ulinzi Stars, Sofapaka FC, Mathare FC and Sony Sugar FC this season.
Out of the four fixtures, Sofapaka and Mathare are the probable teams that would cause problems for Chemelil. They are poised to host Ulinzi Stars on Sunday and a win will edge them further from the red zone. Should Chemelil fail to get a point from the Sunday fixture, their chances of playing KPL football next season will reduce as they will play Sofapaka at home, then Mathare away before hosting Sony Sugar in the final game on May 29.
The Kericho-based club is narrowly out of the relegation zone, which is not a safe place to be when the league is on its homestretch. Zoo is separated by only three points from the relegation zone.
Just like Chemelil, Zoo has a fairly difficult couple of games left so a minor slip can see them play in the NSL next season. Zoo’s matches left are against Bandari FC, Tusker FC, Kakamega Homeboyz and KCB.
This weekend they play Bandari at the Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa. A win against Bandari will not guarantee them to move a spot away from the red zone. They would hope that Chemelil draws or loses for them to move higher in the table. Bandari has been lethal at home this season and a win for Zoo at Mbaraki is less likely to happen. On Thursday, it defeated Tusker FC 3-1 at the same venue.
Vihiga is the team that should work the hardest if it desires to get out of the relegation. In the event that the bottom side of the table remains intact until the last day of the season, Vihiga United will join Mount Kenya United to the NSL.
To make matters worse, Vihiga has tough fixtures laid up for them. They are poised to play Tusker FC, Gor Mahia, Kariobangi Sharks and Western Stima. Vihiga winning all the remaining fixtures will not even guarantee them safety from the relegation zone. They still have to hope that Zoo Kericho and Chemelil slips.
This weekend, Vihiga United will be playing the Brewers at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega.