Battle lines are drawn yet again in the GOtv Shield Cup round of 32 this weekend with focus being the encounters involving battle-hardened SportPesa Premier League (SPL) sides.
To most teams, the tournament is a matter of life and death given that at stake for the winner is not only Sh 2 million but also a ticket to represent the country in next season’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) Cofederation Cup, the reason why they are ready to throw down the gauntlet in the swim-or-sink matches to achieve the dream.
It’s a 16-match programme and a peek at the fixtures may compel many to agree with the observation that the Gor Mahia versus Bandari contest in the second of the double-header on Sunday at Thika sub-county Stadium is easily the highlight of the weekend.
This is a match which will be a replica of the grande-finale of the same competition between the two teams in 1986 at the Nyayo National Stadium when Gor ran off 1-0 winners, thanks to a late goal by Sammy Onyango “Jogoo”.
Bandari Technical Director Twahir Muhiddin came short saying with certainty that the team will be itching to inflict revenge on the Green Army and only pointed out that they are gunning to give them a good match. “Obviously, we expect a difficult game since Gor is a very strong side.
But all the same, our players are psyched to play fantastic football and produce good results that will be acceptable to our fans. We signed some good players and as such we expect positive results,” said Muhiddin.
Gor stand-in coach Zedekiah Otieno said he expects a crunch match especially given that they will be up against a Bandari side that won an away match in their last outing.
“Bandari has always been gritty opponents and this is the reason why we cannot afford to underrate them and especially considering this is a knock-out event,” said Otieno.
Gor will be greatly boosted by the return of influential defender Musa Mohammed who has been serving suspension after picking a red card against Sofapaka two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Ulinzi take battle to Sony Sugar in yet another match where sparks are expected to fly at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. For Ulinzi, this will be an ultimate test after the team posted a less convincing 1-0 win over nondescripts Wajiji FC en-route to this stage.
Stephen Waruru, the hottest property amongst Kenyan strikers today, is expected to be the main source of inspiration for Ulinzi while Sony can count on Harambee Stars trialist Amos Asembeka for positive results.