Fingers are crossed in the GOtv Shield round of 16 this weekend as teams battle to grab a ticket to represent the country in the 2018 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Cup.
As the teams come on a collision course in the action which begins on Saturday, Sofapaka’s clash with Kariobangi Sharks will be one of the mouth-watering treats for the weekend in a fixture that is likely to go either way.
Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa (pictured) plans to bounce back to winning ways after failing to win in their last two league matches, but he will be missing his first choice custodian Mathew Kigonya who is with the SportPesa All Stars team currently on a tour of Spain, as well as defender Wesley Onguso.
Sharks will also miss the services of their midfield maestro Patila Omotto and winger Ovella Ochieng who are also on international duty in Spain.
“In our last match against Thika, we played very well, created a lot of chances but failed to convert them. We have been working on our finishing for the past few days and I expect positive results against Sharks on Sunday,” said Ssimbwa.
The last time the two sides met, they shared spoils, playing to a barren draw in the first-ever league match held at Narok Stadium.
But woe unto Sharks defence if they let loose Sofapaka strikers Umalu Kasumba and Ali Feni who have demonstrated an insatiable hunger for goals ever since they joined Batoto Ba Mungu from their native Uganda.
Elsewhere, it will be pay-back time in the clash between 2016 champions Bandari and Nakumatt at Mbaraki Sports ground in Mombasa.
There is certainly no love lost between the two teams and Nakumatt will be gunning to inflict revenge on Bandari who have twice eliminated them in th tournament.
But given that Mombasa is reputed as one of the worst hunting grounds for most Nairobi teams, Nakumatt will have to strive to hold onto their own especially in the likelihood of Bandari fielding dangerous players like Cosmas Juman and Shaban Kenga.
This coupled with punishing temperatures in Mombasa which Bandari are accustomed to automatically gives Nakumatt the tag of underdogs.
However, Nakumatt have this rare fighting spirit against fancied teams and this should serve as a warning to Bandari not take matters lightly lest the match backfires badly on them.
Fans in Meru can rest easy in terms of feasting their eyes on as Kinoru Stadium will host a double-header on Sunday, the Sofapaka versus Sofapaka clash preceding the date between Tusker and little-known Butterfly.
Tusker have the players who are capable of helping them to easily navigate to the quarter finals but they need to be wary of the so called small teams who can turn spoilers as they have nothing much to lose.
At Eldoret Keino Stadium another little-known team, Savanna FC will be up against Eldoret Youth in a match where a win can go either way.
The tie will be followed by an NSL classic as Wazito FC face host GFE 105 in the second tie afterwards. Sony Sugar who ousted last season’s finalists Ulinzi Stars will be hoping for home field blessings as they take on Nzoia Sugar in another of Saturday fixture.