‘X’ marks the sport as 2017 NSL kicks-off
The 2017 National Super League (NSL) second-tier season will kick-off on Saturday short of two teams pending the conclusion of a the Sports Disputes Tribunal involving four clubs vying to be promoted to or challenging their relegation from the Kenyan Premier League.
According to fixtures released by Football Kenya Federation (FKF), two teams have been labelled X awaiting the Thursday ruling where either Sofapaka FC and Muhoroni Youth FC who are appealing against demotion from the top flight or Vihiga United and KCB FC who have been earmarked to take their places will complete the 20-team list.
Muhoroni and Sofapaka finished 10th and 15th in the 2016 KPL but FKF intends to relegate them to the NSL for failing to meet the FIFA/CAF Licensing Criteria.
In their places, the federation promoted Vihiga and KCB to take their places despite finishing fifth and sixth in the 2016 NSL and therefore, out of the places to be considered for the step up to the top flight.
The decision to take action against Muhoroni and Sofapaka is another tangent in the tussle between FKF and KPL over the constitution of the 2017 top flight with the former advocating for an 18-team competition whilst the latter insists on retaining 16.
That dispute is also to be settled with the John Ohaga-led Tribunal also set to rule on the matter as well with the country’s league football in limbo as the feud simmers.
Citizen Digital understands FKF could strike by banning four senior KPL bosses from football should the impasse persist beyond Thursday apparently with blessings from world governing body, FIFA.
KPL Acting Chairman, Ambrose Rachier, founder Bob Munro, CEO Jack Oguda and James Musyoki who stepped down from the role of chairman of the league management body had disciplinary proceedings already opened against them by the federation.
There is no word yet from the federation on what would happen should the teams involved decide to appeal to a higher judicial body such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the event the Tribunal’s ruling goes against them.
According to the NSL fixtures, nine matches will be on cards in the first round.
Former KPL side Nakuru All Stars will be home to newly promoted Kibera Black Stars at the Afraha Stadium on Saturday as Agro Chemicals host Police FC at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu.
Two other promoted NSL sides Administration Police (AP) and Isebania will also be at home on the same day with the games kicking off at 3pm.
AP will lock horns with Bidco United at the Machakos Stadium, while Isebania will wait until Thursday to know their opponents following the conclusion of the cases at the Tribunal.
A double header at Nairobi’s Camp Toyoyo will highlight games on Sunday when Nairobi Stima face MOSCA from 2pm, before Wazito battle it out with FC Talanta.
St. Joseph’s welcome Palos FC tie at Afraha while Modern Coast Rangers take on Nairobi City Stars as GFE 105 tie against a yet to be confirmed team at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium, Eldoret complete the opening weekend of NSL action.
-GOtv shield schedule-
At the same time, FKF has unveiled dates for the domestic cup, GOtv Shield for 2017, spread over five months.
The knockout tournament will commence on June 24 and 25, with round 64 games where teams from the top tier to the lower tier face off.
Winners of the first round will proceed to the round of 32 set for July 8-9, with the round of 16 and quarterfinals scheduled for July 22-23 and August 19-20.
The semis will be played on September 24 before the final on October 20.
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