Paul Mungai Kiongera has banged 11 goals for KCB this season but none of them would be as important should he find the winning goal in a crunch tie against Ulinzi Stars this Saturday.
The on-loan Simba FC forward, arguably punching below his weight with the struggling Bankers, was downtrodden with the 1-0 defeat to Nairobi City Stars last weekend, so much so that he walked straight to the dressing room, his back curled like a question mark, chin on his chest, head hanging loose on his body, shoulders dropped and perhaps his belief that they could beat the drop up in smokes.
“We’ve blown it. This was our best chance to guarantee survival but now, we’ve left ourselves with a one hell of a job,” he told FourFourTwoMedia in the few seconds that he paused, arms akimbo.
A win for the Bankers could have secured them at least another season in the topflight and relegated City Stars. They had countless chances especially in the opening 15 minutes but Crispinus Onyango, Ellie Asieche and Benjamin Chaka all failed to beat Ronny Kagunzi in promising positions.
Ugandan midfielder Jimmy Bageya provided the key moment of the game, twisting and turning the Bankers’ defence before guiding the ball with the inside of his right boot past a powerless Sammy Okinda in goal.
The result saw City Stars cut the deficit between them and KCB to a point, with two matches to go. Both sides are in action this weekend with the Bankers hosting Ulinzi Stars and the Kawangware side away to Ushuru FC.
Sticking to KCB’s lanes, they arguably have a tougher run in as they play away to Western Stima in their last match.
Rishadi Shedu’s side lost the first leg match against the Soldiers 2-1 with Kiongera scoring at the stroke of half time after Ulinzi had gone 2-0 up courtesy of Geoffrey Kokoyo and John Nairuka’s early strikes.
The burden will once again be on Kiongera’s shoulders but he will need help from Chrispinus, who has scored 6 in the league, and Asieche who surprisingly has only one goal under his belt but puts so much work in.
Coincidentally, KCB played Ulinzi around the same time and under the same circumstances last season. John Macharia came off the bench and scored a 67th minute winner with just four minutes on the pitch. A similar heroic input will be needed on Sunday at the City Stadium where the Bankers have always gotten the better of the Soldiers who they have beaten in their last three home legs. Ulinzi will be under no pressure having secured second spot in the league.
They warmed up for this clash with a 4-0 mauling of AFC Leopards in the GOtv Shield round of 16 and could spoil the party for KCB.
How will it end? We’ll have answers for you here at the end of the match and account every horrible miss, goal, close call and the lot on our Twitter handle @Four4TwoMedia