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September 23, 2018

Thika face guillotine: Struggling side living on borrowed time to salvage their topflight status

Thika United’s Mata Makasidi challenges Mathare United’s Edward Seda during a past match
Thika United’s Mata Makasidi challenges Mathare United’s Edward Seda during a past match

There is little doubt now that Thika United are living on borrowed time as the Sportpesa Premier League resumes with the basement side playing hosts to champions elect Gor Mahia at the Thika Sub County Stadium in what will be a catch up game tomorrow.

The once proud club has lurched from one crisis to another, beating the drop by the skin of their teeth the last couple of seasons. With just five matches remaining, former goalkeeper turned coach, Joseph Rutto, has been handed the onerous task of keeping Thika among the elite.

However, with an eight-point gap to bridge to get a second chance at survival via the playoff route, it seems the dice is cast for them. Though reports have emanated that Gor players have not trained for the better part of the week, they should still be too string for Thika should they honor the fixture tomorrow.

Today, AFC Leopards will be seeking to halt a run of two consecutive defeats when they take on Rangers at the Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.

Leopards are facing an injury crisis especially at the back but head coach, Rodolfo Zapata, remains optimistic. He hopes the team will carry on by playing entertaining football and has already kicked off plans to challenge for the title next season.

“My four main defenders — Dennis Sikhayi, Robinson Kamura, Abdallah Salim and Moses Mburu are all injured as well as my three play-makers — Jafari Owiti, Marvin Nabwire and Saad Musa. However, this will not change my coaching philosophy. We can win, lose or draw a game, but we cannot lose the dignity earned by playing attractive football. If we play better than Posta Rangers, we will have more chances to win,” said Zapata.

“I will give a report to the national executive committee at the end of the season and then the club will decide which players will go and which ones to sign in order to boost the team.”

Other matches today will see relegation-threatened Chemelil Sugar take on mid-table side Mathare United while, with little to play for, a mouthwatering goal festival is likely to be served when Nakumatt take on Kariobangi Sharks at Camp Toyoyo.

Tomorrow, the Kericho double-header pitting Ulinzi Stars against second-from-bottom Wazito and hosts Zoo against Bandari will close the weekend football roster.

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