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Excitement as Shabana, Murang’a Seal Secure FKF-PL Promotion

Excitement hit the Gusii land as National Super League giants Shabana and Murang’a Seal secured promotion to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League after winning their matches against Migori Youth and Coastal Heroes, respectively, on Sunday.


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The wins put them on 64 points, with Murang’a Seal leading the National Super League (NSL) log thanks to a superior goal difference, albeit having played one more game.

Third-placed Mara Sugar, who lost 2-1 to SS Assad on Saturday have garnered 53 points with four games level with Migori Youth.

Shabana returns to the top-flight league after 17 years in the cold, while Murang’a Seal will feature in the Premier League for the first time in their history.

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The glamour boys were axed in 2006 before sinking further into Division I in 2014.

They returned to the NSL in 2018 after edging out Mwatate United 7-6 in the NSL promotion playoff via penalties at Moi Sports Center Kasarani but had to wait for five years before fulfilling their dream return to the elite league.

At the Gusii Stadium, it was a battle of the Titans, with Kevin Otile’s well-taken goal in the 5th minute for Shabana enough to earn them the famous win.

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In a derby-esque encounter, both sets of fans cheered their teams from the stands in turns, but the exchange turned chaotic in the 59th, with the referee being forced to halt the proceedings after police lobbed teargas to disperse them.

The tipping point was occasioned by Migori Youth fans accusing the centre referee of being biased against their team.

Kisii OCPD Amos Ambassador told Citizen Digital that an unknown number of fans were rushed to the hospital after sustaining soft tissue injuries.

Ally Yusuf’s lone goal in the first half was enough for Mombasa to take them over the line. Despite earning a promotion, SEAL coach Vincent Nyaberi blamed his team for not playing as planned.

“Yes, we have earned our promotion but still have work to do. We want to finish as number one and be crowned champions, so we have to win all our remaining matches. We would have won more convincingly had we stuck to our plan strictly,” said Nyaberi.

On his side, Heroes head coach Mohammed Hussein said they had many opportunities to score and win, pointing out individual mistakes that contributed to their loss.

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 “Our performance was excellent and fantastic, but luck was not on our side, mostly because we didn’t take our chances. Just a few mistakes by individual players cost us those opportunities,” averred Hussein.

SEAL started pulling dangerous strikes through John Kiplangat and Fabian Adiginy, calmly dealt with by Heroes goalkeeper Said Dhadho.

In the 10th minute, Mohammed Abdilahi almost gave the Heroes the lead, but Rajab Omar cleared his shot on the line for a corner.

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The visitors would have scored the opener at the half-hour mark, but Adiginy failed to convert a fine cross from winger Erick Balecho.

A minute before the end of the first half, Yusuf fired a powerful shot from six yards past Heroes keeper Said Dhadho after an excellent holding play from striker Kiplangat.

Ten minutes into the second half, Titus Kapchanga almost doubled the lead, but his header was tipped out for a corner by Heroes goalkeeper Dhadho.

The home side’s pressure for an equalizer through Abdulraman Abdallah and Mohammed Ali bore no fruit, with Seal looking pretty calm in their defence.

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In the 73rd minute, Murang’a Seal captain Kiplangat danced past Heroes’ last man Kevin Washe and blasted the ball off target with only the keeper to beat.

At the 90th-minute mark, Heroes winger Mohammed Ali wasted a glorious chance to equalize by firing wide after a sumptuous cross from Abdulrahman Abdallah.


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