Shabana, Murang’a Seal complete FKF Premier League promotion

Written by on 19 June 2023

Shabana and Murang’a Seal sealed their places in the Football Kenya Federation after vital wins on Sunday.

Shabana defeated Migori Youth 1-0 at Gusii Stadium, while Murang’a Seal were 1-0 winners against Coast Heroes at Mbaraki Stadium.

Sealed tickets

The National Super League rivals sealed their places in the top flight with some matches to go. Murang’a Seal have three, while Shabana have four games before they conclude their campaign.

The win at the coast took Murang’a’s point tally to 64, while ‘Tore Bobe’ have a point fewer.

Murang’a Seal’s dependable player, Yusuf Ali, scored the all-important goal that secured the team’s ultimate promotion dream.

The goal was scored in stoppage time of the first half, and Murang’a were able to hold onto the slim lead throughout the second half to win.

Shabana fans at Gusii Stadium. PHOTO/Shabana FC/Facebook.
Shabana fans at Gusii Stadium. PHOTO/Shabana FC/Facebook.

At Gusii Stadium, Shabana picked up the win thanks to a goal scored by Isaac Otieno. They are now on 64 points, a similar tally to Murang’a Seals’, but an inferior goal difference relegates them to the second position.

A win in their game in hand will see them get back to the summit of the Super League table.

With the two automatic places sealed already, Migori Youth and Mara Sugar will now fight for promotion through the playoffs.

Shabana return

Meanwhile, Shabana’s promotion is welcome news for their supporters, who filled the Gusii Stadium for the crucial duel against Migori Youth.

Their return to the top flight means they will brush shoulders with the best teams in the country in the 2023–24 season.

The club was formed in 1980 by Kisii-based businessman Dogo Khan. They were promoted back to the Kenyan Premier League after winning Zone B of FKF Division One.

A dispute over its relegation in 2006 almost saw the club collapse, but it held together, participated in the lower leagues, rose up, and has finally secured a place in the top-tier after 17 years.

The dispute mentioned beforehand unfolded after they refused to be relegated to the Nationwide League, as the NSL was initially known, but the Kenyan Premier League management refused to readmit them.

Shabana fans at Gusii Stadium. PHOTO/Shabana FC/Facebook.
Shabana fans at Gusii Stadium. PHOTO/Shabana FC/Facebook.

As the dispute went on, ‘Tore Bobe’ did not play in any league in 2007. They regrouped, formed Gusii United FC, and returned to league football.

They maintained Gusii Stadium as their home ground, and in 2008 they joined the NSL after beating Mwatate United through the post-match penalties. The game had ended in a 1-1 draw, and the winner had to be decided by spot kicks.

Their promotion to the Premier League means the competition will now have three community clubs. Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, the regular participants in the top flight, are the other community clubs.

Just like Ingwe and K’Ogalo, ‘Tore Bobe’ enjoy massive support, and their presence is set to bring new hype to the Premier League.

As Murang’a Seal and Shabana celebrate their promotion, they should work hard in order to keep their Premier League statues, unlike teams that have been relegated in their first seasons in the top flight.

Kisumu All-Stars and Vihiga United are examples, as they could not avoid relegation just after a season in the Premier League. Their struggle was primarily financial, something that Shabana and Murang’a Seal must work on to avoid at the earliest.

Maiden KPL appearance

Muranga’a Seal will be in the top tier for the first time in their history, and their promotion could see more Premier League action played at their St Sebastian Park home ground.

Meanwhile, as the NSL hits the homestretch, allegations of match manipulation raised by Migori Youth are yet to be addressed. The claims came after Mara Sugar defeated Silibwet Leons 7-0 and went third in the logs.

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