Vihiga United and Wazito FC will rub shoulders with the big boys in next year’s SportPesa Premier League (SPL) after finishing in first and second place respectively as the 2017 National Super League ended on Saturday.
Wazito smashed hapless Police 5-2 at the Narok County Stadium, while in Mumias, Bernard Ochieng’s first half goal helped Vihiga to a 1-0 win over Ushuru to finish top of the 19-team log with 80 points same as Wazito, who finished on an inferior goal difference.
Ushuru finished third on 78 points and will await the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Governing Council’s decision on November 29 on the possibility of a relegation play-off with Thika United.
“I congratulate my players, the board and entire Wazito fraternity. We’ve been competing against teams with strong financial muscle and it’s an honourable thing that we managed to qualify to the top flight. Plans start right away after a long and challenging season in the NSL,” an elated Wazito coach Frank Ouna said after the match.
His Police counterpart Charles ‘Korea’ Omondi, blamed lack of communication for the loss.
“My defenders gave too much spaces to the opponent, that said, we’ve achieved our season target of finishing in the top six, next year we aim for promotion,” said Omondi,, whose team finished sixth with 53 points.
Wazito, formed in 2011 by University of Nairobi students, were worthy winners as they went about their business in ruthless fashion.
Dennis Gicheru broke the deadlock in the 21st minute from the penalty spot after defender Phillip Okhona handled the ball inside the box. Kennedy Ayako beat Police defenders to double the lead from close range at the half-hour mark.
Kevin Ouma reduced the deficit with a free header in the 37th minute, but five minutes later, Zachary Gathu capitalised on Police’s defensive lapse to net the third goal.
Ayako scored his second a minute into the second half by tapping home Pistone Mutamba’s cross.
The few Wazito fans, who made the way to Narok County, continued to cheer on their team who pressed for more goals.
In the 53rd minute, Gicheru, on loan from Posta Rangers beat Police goalkeeper Michael Mwangi to claim his brace from yet another penalty after Essad Wasike fouled Joakim Omolo inside the area.
Substitute David Oluoch scored Police’s second in the 82nd minute but the damage had already been done.
Also present during the match was Nakuru Town East MP and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Rift Valley National Executive Committee member David Gikaria among other federation officials.
“It’s a good thing seeing community clubs like Vihiga and Wazito qualify,” said Gikaria.