With Gor Mahia odds on favourites to clinch the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) title, a protracted battle looms in the FKF SportPesa Shield Cup whose winner will be Kenya’s emissaries in the 2019 Confederation Cup.
Assuming that Gor wins both the Shield Cup and SPL, which is possible, the Green Army would ordinarily vie for the more prestigious CAF Champions League on the strength of the latter competition, leaving other teams jostling for the CAF Cup.
With Gor exempted from the Shield Cup action at the weekend, defending champions AFC Leopards laid bare their intentions of reclaiming the gong when they powered into the last 16 following a resounding 4-0 victory over little-known Rain Forest in Naivasha.
Ingwe, who saw off Shabana in the round of 64, are reaping big especially after they acquired the services of Argentine trainer Rodolfo Zapata and would wish to prove that their improved fortunes are not an element of luck.
That said, pride of place goes to on-song Leopards striker Ezekiel Odera whose brace coupled with a goal each by Jafari Owiti and Ray Omondi pepped up the big cats in the weekend’s conquest.
As the emotions of victory hit home at Leopards den, it was a sad weekend for Bandari who bade farewell to the knock out competition after a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of visiting Tusker at Mbaraki Sports ground in Mombasa.
Bandari, who were Kenya’s representatives in the CAF Confedeartion Cup two years ago, were expected to produce a sensational performance before their own faithful but faltered disappointingly and will now have to focus on the SportPesa Premier League, ostensibly to finish in a respectable position.
To Tusker, who are least likely to win the SPL, the victory lit up enthusiasm of revisiting the continental arena within a year since being eliminated from the CAF Champions League by unfashionable Mauritius side Port Louis.
The Shield Cup, which is bankrolled by betting firm SportPesa, had its fair share of surprises one of which saw National Super League (NSL) side KCB eat humble pie following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of nondescripts Leysa FC.
On the contrary, Sofapaka handed Baba Dogo United a 3-0 defeat at Camp Toyoyo grounds in Jericho. Stephen Waruru opened the scores in the 18th minute before Umaru Kasumba made it 2-0 six minutes later. Pistone Mutamba would mark his debut with a goal five minutes upon resumption from a well-taken free kick.