AFC Leopards and Tusker, two of Kenya’s four representatives in the SportPesa Super Cup, face a test of nerves and skills when they come up against Tanzanian opponents in the inaugural tournament which kicks off at Uhuru Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam today.
Tusker lock horns with Young Africans (Yanga) and prior to the match, the newly promoted side in the Mainland Premier League, Singida United will kick off their campaign in the opening game Leopards at the same venue.
Another Tanzanian outfit Simba will kick off their campaign tomorrow when they face Nakuru AllStars whereas on the same day, Zanzibar envoys Jang’ombe Boys will face Gor Mahia.
For Tusker, they have their work cut out against Yanga who are enjoying a rich vein in form and whether the Kenyans will prevail over the Jangawni side punishing 30 degrees Celcius temperatures in Dar remains to be seen.
However, Tusker coach Sam Time has promised fire and brimeston from his charges who are equally on top of their game. “We are enjoying good form and I have instructed the players to replicate the same in Dar-es-Salaam.
Of course, we don’t expect things to be easy but I think we are capable of navigating through top the final and eventually win the cup,” said Timbe before Tusker boarded the flight to Dar.
Yanga deputy coach Juma Mwambusi has, however, opted to take a cautious approach given that Tusker is an unknown quantity to them Mwambusi was quoted in a Tanzanian daily saying said they do not know the kind of football philosophy of Tusker thus making the match difficult and unpredictable. However, he is optimistic his side will perform well.
“We have not played against them (Tusker) recently and we do not know much about their current squad but definitely you should expect a tough opponent because Tusker has always been a good team,” he said.
Going into the game, Yanga will miss the services of some of their key players – Simon Msuva, Benno Kakolanya and Hassan Ramadhan Kessy, who are currently with the national team, Taifa Stars for a training camp in Egypt ahead of the AFCON qualifying match against Lesotho this weekend.
For Tusker coach, Timbe, his trump cards include the experienced Allan Wanga, James Situma, Michael Khamati and Duncan Ochieng’ and Danson Kago.
Like Tusker, AFC Leopards face what appears an uphill task against Singida but the good news is that Ingwe has a strong squad that is under the tutelage of interim coach Dennis Kitambi.