NAIROBI, Kenya-SportPesa Premier League (SPL) debutants Zoo Kericho FC and Thika United FC are battle-ready for a relegation six-pointer on Wednesday at the Kericho County Stadium.
The encounter was initially slated for last Saturday at Moi Stadium, Kisumu and its deferral only heightened tensions among the supporters of both sides that are embroiled in a fight for survival.
Victory for Zoo will take their tally to 40 points and secure inclusion in the 2018 SPL pending the decision of a case in the Court of Appeal that seeks to overturn an earlier verdict of the High Court that nullified their top flight status.
Head coach, Sammy Okoth, is counting on home advantage to sink Thika, who are hanging precariously on the SPL table in 16th (35) ahead of the final round on Saturday.
“We were not comfortable playing the game in Kisumu but playing at home has given us a psychological boost.
“We have no injuries and everyone knows the intensity of the game. Everyone is anxiously waiting for the battle for the three points on offer,” the former Kenyan international stressed.
“We want to give our fans a reason to smile in the last home game of the season beset with challenges. It will be nice if we can sign off with a win,” Okoth added.
Team Manager, Ibrahim Muganda, echoed their coach in asserting the importance of playing in front of their passionate supporters that have added colour to the 2017 SPL, having been locked out of Kericho Green by a week-long religious crusade.
Thika boss, Nicholas Muyoti, who has overseen a revival at the struggling SPL outfit is keen on spoiling the Zoo party as he works on steering the club to the 2018 league.
“Our target is to win all our games and end these fears. We are focused on the game because it means a lot to us,” he said.
The Thika based side, who face Bandari in the last game at the Thika Sub-County Stadium are on a seven-game run without loss, their last reverse coming in a 0-2 defeat to AFC Leopards SC on September 20.
Zoo have drawn their last two in identical 1-1 results against Nakumatt FC and champion Gor Mahia FC and last won on October 7 when they stunned high-flying Kakamega Homeboyz FC 1-0.