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Posta Rangers beat Nairobi Stima to escape chop

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | June 20th 2019
Gor Mahia George Odhiambo (R) and Elvis Osok of Posta Rangers battle for ball possession during their KPL match at Kenyatta Stadium Machakos on May 25, 2019. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Posta Rangers held a firm grip on SportPesa Premier League (SPL) after beating National Super League (NSL) side Nairobi Stima 3-2 in the two-legged promotion play-off.

John Kamau’s charges sealed their fate in the SPL by holding the super league side to a 1-1 yesterday at Kenyatta Stadium.

Carrying a 2-1 goal advantage from the first leg staged last week at Karuturi Sports Ground, Rangers were determined in the return leg and they just needed to avoid defeat to ensure they remain in the top tier league.

Francis Nambute’s goal in the fourth minute raised their confidence before NSL top scorer Dennis Oalo pulled one back for Stima. But there was no turning back for Rangers.

The win ended Nairobi Stima aim of becoming the first super league side to earn promotion to the Kenyan Premier League through play-offs as Posta Rangers prolonged their three-year stay in the KPL.

Speaking after the match, Rangers head coach Kamau said he was happy his side managed the high pressure.

“Congratulations to the players for giving their best today and making sure that we continue playing in the top league. We had a bad season but I think we did well today,” said the former KCB coach.

Kamau, who took over from Sammy Omollo in January when the team was fighting relegation and moved them one place above the automatic relegation spot in the top flight SPL, said he will prepare for next season.

“We have made and now it’s time we start rebuilding from here. For us to avoid playing in the playoffs again next season, we have to make good preparations before the league resumes,” he added.

His Stima counterpart Evans Mafuta hailed his striker Oalo and the team for trying their best saying they will stage a good show next season.

“We played our best and lost. We concede defeat despite the disappointment of failing to ascend to the premier league but we will do our best in the super league next season to finish among the top two automatic spots,” Mafuta said.

Stima, who only lost two games from 38 matches and were on the verge of gaining automatic promotion but had an inferior goal difference as compared to NSL runners-up Kisumu All Stars, will battle in the super league next season.

Wazito and Kisumu All Stars remain the only NSL side teams to be promoted in the KPL with Posta Rangers completing the full 18 teams.

KPL Playoffs Result

First Leg: Nairobi Stima 1-2 Posta Rangers

Second Leg: Posta Rangers 1-1 Nairobi Stima

Rangers win 3-2 on aggregate

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