The battle for crucial Kenya Cup slots is set to hit a crescendo this weekend, as the 2022/23 league calendar enters its penultimate stage.
As we head into the final fortnight, the following positions will be up for grabs; the top spot in the Kenya Cup, one playoff slot, and the battle for survival which will see two sides relegated. In the Championship, the main battle will be for the final playoff slot, with the rest of the league seemingly sorted.
Battle For Top Spot
Probably an ‘inconsequential’ battle in the grand scheme of things, as both KCB and Kabras have cemented the top two slots in the league this season, what remains is a small tiff for who finishes in first. The two are separated by one point, with KCB on a perfect 45 after nine games, Kabras on 44 after missing out on a single bonus point.
With a maximum of 10 points on offer, this battle is set to all but be decided this weekend as the two face off at the den in Ruaraka. Any kind of win for KCB this Saturday, will ensure top spot and see them take on the fourth-placed side in the Semifinals.
For Kabras, a win at the den will take them to top spot, but will need to beat Oilers on the last day of the league to cement the slot, KCB will play Machine on the same day.
That Play Off Spot
Going into match day 10, Kenya Harlequins occupy the last playoff slot, on 28 points, five points ahead of BlakBlad on 23, and three points behind Oilers on 31 points.
Remember, there are 10 points up for grabs, Quins play Mwamba on match day 10, before wrapping up their league phase at home against, Strathmore Leos. The quartered shirts need at least a win from the two, to guarantee fourth spot. Third spot is still a possibility for Quins, with a shaky Oilers side ahead of them, ready for the picking.
Oilers host the Catholic Monks, before making the trip to Kakamega to face Kabras in their last fixture. They need to beat the Monks with a bonus point to take them to 36 points and ensure a place in the playoffs. They’ll however be keeping a close eye on Quins on the last day, a loss in Kakamega coupled with two bonus point wins for the Quin will see Oilers finish in fourth.
For Blad to make their first appearance at the Kenya Cup playoffs, they’ll have to score maximum points against MMUST at home and Homeboyz away then hope for a meltdown by Quins, to sneak into fourth.
If last season’s battle for survival was Avengers Infinity war, this is the End Game! Seven sides are mathematically in the race for survival, with 10 points separating sixth-placed Nakuru (18), and bottom-placed MMUST (8), ahead of match day ten.
For Nakuru to complete yet another great escape from relegation, after I had again predicted their downfall, they need one win from their fixtures against Homeboyz at home and Monks away.
It gets interesting from this point on, with Homeboyz and Mwamba RFC tied on 15 points, followed by Catholic Monks and Mean Machine, tied on 14 points, Strathmore on 13 in 11th and as mentioned, MMUST in last on 8 points.
Homeboyz travel to Nakuru then face Blad at home, for them to ensure top flight status in a season that started with uncertainty, they’ll need to at least win one game with a bonus, or lose one with a bonus, to take their season tally to 21 points, then hope that at the very least, Strathmore don’t make the 10 points.
Mwamba’s route to survival follows a similar formula, but with the black shirts playing Quins at the RFUEA, then travelling to MMUST on the last weekend. Kulabu will also require at least five points to ensure survival and again cross their fingers that Strathmore don’t reach that 10 point mark.
The university pair of Monks and Machine, will have a bit of more work to do. The Monks travel to Nakuru to face a limping Oilers side, before winding up their season at home to the other Nakuru side, Nakuru RFC. For them to maintain top flight status, they’ll be looking to pick six points from those two fixtures, taking their tally to 20 points and hope either Machine or Strathmore slip up.
Eschuma’s route to survival has Strathmore and KCB on the way. Like the Monks, they’ll be looking to get six points here, the only difference from their Rongai based counterparts, is that the game against Strathmore largely places their fate in their hands, a win against the Leos should do the trick, though dependant on results elsewhere.
The Leos’ catastrophic season, could go from bad to worse, as they currently occupy one of the two relegation slots. Strath have to get maximum points from their last two games, against Machine as mentioned and Quins. They need to hit that 23 point mark to give themselves a fighting chance, even though they might be handed a lifeline, if the decision to award Blak blad a walk over is overturned. Previous experience from these disputes however, paint a bleak picture for Strathmore.
MMUST’s script to survival reads like the stuff of a block buster Hollywood movie, where the protagonist has been written off completely. The kisiagi boys face Blak Blad at the bin then host Mwamba on the last weekend. They have to make the maximum 10 points, afterwhich they need to hope that two sides among Homeboyz, Mwamba, Monks, Machine and Strathmore fail to score points, or score a maximum of three.
As mentioned, this season’s battle for survival is one for the books, I have only looked at one angle of the permutations. To cover all possible scenarios, we’d need a whole day and a refresher course on probabilities and statistics.
Things are a bit more straight forward in the Championship, with the only battle being for that last play off slot, between South Coast Pirates (30) and Impala (25). Above them Nondies have secured top spot on 43 points, nine ahead of Daystar Falcons, who in turn sit three points above Kisumu.
Impala travel to Diani to take on the South Coast Pirates in what will be the decider for that fourth place slot. An Impala bonus win, while denying the Pirates a losing bonus would see the two tied on 30 points, Impala then host leaders Nondies on the last day of the league season, with Pirates travelling to Machakos county to face Daystar.
Daystar take on 9th placed Shamas this Saturday, as Nondies host 11th placed Zetech Oaks. Kisumu make the trip to Eldoret before hosting Western Bulls in the last fixture.
At the opposite end of the standings, it looks all but done with Eldoret (4 points) and Zetech Oaks (7 points) set to face the axe!
Kenya Cup Match Day 10.
- Menengai Oilers bonus point win over Catholic Monks
- Strathmore Leos win over Machine
- Quins bonus point win over Mwamba
- Blad win over MMUST
- Nakuru win over Homeboyz
- KCB win over Kabras
Kenya Cup Match Day 11
- Nakuru win over Monks (Monks losing bonus)
- Blad win over Homeboyz (Homeboyz losing bonus)
- MMUST win over Mwamba (Mwamba losing bonus)
- Quins draw against Strathmore
- KCB bonus point win over Machine
- Kabras bonus point win over Oilers
KRU Championship Match Day 10
- Nondies bonus point win over Zetech
- SC Pirates win over Impala (Impala losing bonus)
- Daystar bonus point win over Shamas
- Western Bulls win over USIU
- Kisumu bonus point win over Eldoret
- UoE win over Kabarak (Kabarak losing bonus)
KRU Championship Match Day 11
- Kabarak bonus point win over Zetech
- UoE win over Eldoret
- Kisumu win over Western Bulls
- USIU bonus point win over Shamas
- SC Pirates win over Daystar (Daystar losing bonus)
- Nondies win over Impala
It is worth noting that this season, the first tie breaker is the teams’ head to head record, followed by points difference.
As always, feel free to share your predictions below and let’s catch up at the end of the league phase, be sure to enjoy these last two weekends of action, they promise to be proper block busters!
KWISHA… Nimeruka Nje!!!