After five seasons in the Kenyan second tier, since being relegated at the end of 2016, Nairobi City Stars has been promoted to feature in the 2020/2021 Kenyan Premier League (KPL).
The announcement, of the team’s bold return to Kenya’s top flight, was made on 30 April 2020 by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) following their cancellation of all league’s countrywide due to the ongoing Corona virus pandemic that ended football activities in mid-March and has complicated return of games in the near future.
Upon receiving the news, an overly excited Nairobi City Stars Chairman Jonathan Jackson said;
“I am totally delighted with the result that having started in 14th position we have come 1st. I wish to immensely thank the CEO and coach for their very hard work and professional management, and of course I thank all members of the club, the technical bench and of course the players themselves. We only achieved this fabulous result as a great team and the senior management who held and drove the team together. Thank you Simba wa Nairobi City Stars team.”
The promotion comes amid the premature end of the league as 26 games had been played and there were ten more pending.
Parts of a statement from FKF on Thursday confirmed that, practically, leagues will not continue hence bringing all seasons in all tiers of leagues to a close
“Following the Covid -19 situation in Kenya and the recent public health regulations announced by the Government, including the extension of the ongoing curfew and cessation to May 16, 2020, banning of all public gatherings of more than 15 individuals and the indefinite closure of all stadiums has made it untenable to conclude the 2019/2020 league season in time for the kickoff of the 2020/2021 season,”
“The extra ordinary step has been reluctantly arrived at, in an effort aimed at safeguarding the well-being, safety and good health of the thousands of football players, Technical Bench members, fans and the general Kenyan public,”
“In light of the aforementioned and guided by Rule 220.127.116.11 of the Rules and Regulations Governing Kenyan Football “Where the league format due to circumstances of force majeure fails to be completed within the season, the league winner shall be determined as follows; Where all the Clubs in the league have completed the first round fixture but less than 75% league games have been played, the table standings at the end of the first round shall be considered as the final table standing of the league.”
At the close of the 18 games in the first leg that ended in December, City Stars had accumulated 43 points from 13 wins and four draws and had a seven-point buffer over second placed Bidco United who are also promoted. Vihiga United beat Nairobi Stima to playoff third place on goal difference and will go on to played team number 16 in the Kenyan Premier League (Kisumu AllStars) over two legs for a chance for a quick return to the Premier League.
With the first leg table in mind, it was confirmed thus; “FKF hereby declares Nairobi City Stars FC the Betika National Super League Champions for 2019/2020 Season,”
“Nairobi City Stars FC and Bidco United FC are automatically promoted to the Kenyan Premier League 2020/2021 Season. Vihiga United FC shall play Kisumu AllStars FC in the KPL/NSL Play-off Match depending on the Covid 19 situation in the country and lifting of government regulations towards the same.”
Admin Police, St. Joseph’s and already disbanded and expelled Northern Wanderers who occupied places 17 to 20 in the December 2019 standings, in that order, are all relegated to the third tier, the Division One next season.
As City Stars and Bidco exit the NSL, Mwatate and Silibwet, winners of respective zones in Division one both earn promotion. Playoff winner between MCF and Soy United will take up the third slot.