Zoo Kericho set to exorcise KPL promotion ghosts

By Gilbert Wandera: Thursday, March 17th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Dadaab Refugee camp Ibrahim Kitawi of Kariobangi Sharks FC tussle with Zoo Kericho Fc player during the FKF PL Match played in kericho green. Kariobangi Sharks FC won 2-1 against the host Zoo Kericho who were have been leading on the league. Photo/ Actiopix/Tom Maruko

Will it be third time unlucky for Zoo Kericho?

This is the question the second tier National Super League side is asking as the league kicks off at the weekend.

Zoo Kericho have twice missed out on promotion to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), both on technicalities.

In 2014, they were to be promoted only for Shabana to be awarded some points and with it, finished ahead of Zoo in the promotion battle.

Zoo Kericho were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player (Michael Otieno) during their match against Agro Chemicals and for that, were docked three vital points.

But as fate would have it, there were no promotions to the KPL in 2015 following a stand off between KPL and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over the number of teams to be promoted to the top tier league.

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While the KPL insisted on a 16 team league, FKF wanted an expanded league with 18 teams, which ended in a stalemate. Benefiting from the uncertainty, KCB and Nakuru All Stars were retained in the premier league.

Last year, Zoo Kericho were once again leading in the promotion battle, only for them to join a boycott of the FKF Premier League, where they protested after Kakamega Homeboyz were awarded points.

The club's chairman Ken Ochieng says he has no regrets at the events of last season and believes their decision to boycott when they were at the top was a small price to pay.

“We had been treated badly in 2014 after we were denied an opportunity to get promoted. We had to do something about it last year. It was worth it."