Posta Rangers thwarts Nairobi Stima’s hopes of promotion, stays afloat

Posta Rangers have retained their place in the SportPesa Premier League after a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Nairobi Stima in the playoffs held at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos yesterday.

Francis Nambute and Dennis Oalo were the scorers of the goals in either side of competitive halves. The aggregate score therefore ended 3-2 in  favour of Rangers who will now retain their top flight status.

Rangers were superior in the opening stanza as they troubled their opponents on the counter attacks and they reaped instant rewards as Nambute opened the scoring inside five minutes even before Stima had settled.

The industrious Brian Osumba escaped the attention of Raphael Asudi before releasing a thunderbolt towards goalkeeper Jacob Osano who punched the ball with the alert Nabute nodding home the rebound to give Rangers a healthy 3-1 cushion following last Saturday’s 2-1 advantage at Karuturi grounds.

The dangerous pair of Brian Musa and Patrick Asiku complemented a well marked Oalo in Stima’s attack with central defenders Collins Omondi and skipper Jockins Atudo shielding their goalkeeper Gradus Ochieng properly.

However, the second half was a different ball game as Stima came alive with waves of attacks that unsettled the experienced Rangers. Their direct play was all the more dangerous as they put numbers inside the box.

The physical contest saw centre referee Anthony Ogwayo flash out four cards to restore calm in the high stakes game.

An interesting battle also ensued in the middle of the pack with Rangers preferring to play balls into space and let the attackers play off their markers especially the ingenious Joseph Mbugi while the force of Alex Luganji and captain Joseph Shikokoti was felt.

Tough match

“We knew they were going to play tough so we had to be patient. Our tactics and experience won it for us. This is a team that barely had a proper pre-season but now we have work to do,” said an elated Rangers coach John Kamau.  His counterpart Evans Mafuta praised his players’ character, promising to return with a bang next season.

Rangers were forced into the playoff after finishing 16th in the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) last season while Stima wound up third in the second tier National Super League (NSL).

The mailmen will stay in the top flight with Wazito and Kisumu Allstars, who finished first and second in NSL, joining them.