Mafuta: History spurring us on against Rangers

Nairobi Stima and Posta Rangers will go toe to toe for a chance to seal a place at next season’s topflight campaign with the third instalment of the relegation/promotion playoff and Stima head coach Evans Mafuta is looking to lead his team to becoming the first NSL side to secure promotion via the playoffs.

The tie pits together the third worst team in the KPL against the third best team in the NSL to determine who will play in the KPL for the following season.

Since it was introduced in 2017 following the extension of the KPL from 16 teams to 18, no team from the second tier has claimed victory over their top tier opponents.

Ushuru

Ushuru FC have played in the playoffs back to back and have lost in each occasion, to Thika United in the first installment and Nakumatt FC, now Mt Kenya United in 2018.

It is this reason that has Mafuta raring to go against Rangers so as to disrupt history.

“Expectations in camp are high. We believe we have what it takes to play in the KPL next season,” Mafuta, who took over from George Owoko in March during the second half of the just concluded season, told Soka.

“We expect a tough duel but aside from our qualities, one other thing that is urging us on is the fact that no team from the NSL has ever won in the playoffs. We want to be the first and show that the second tier is strong as well.”

Stima missed out on an automatic promotion slot by a whisker as only goal difference placed Kisumu All Stars ahead of them with both teams ending the season tied on 80 points.

Top scorer

Striker Dennis Owalo, who decamped to Stima from All Stars midway through the season, finished as the league’s top scorer with 24 goals and will be keen to continue his goal scoring form against Rangers.

Stima will play hosts in the first-leg which is to be played on Saturday 15 June at the Karuturi grounds in Naivasha from 3PM with the second-leg scheduled for the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos four days later on Wednesday 19.