Dar es Salaam, Tanzania will host the third edition of the SportPesa Cup tournament, formerly SportPesa Super Cup from January 22-27, 2019.
Mombasa-based Bandari FC will make its debut at the knockout tournament that will feature eight teams from Kenya and Tanzania.
Bandari had an impressive performance in the 2018 season of the SportPesa Premier League, rising to a historic second position behind champions Gor Mahia, to earn a slot at the invitational event.
“We appreciate this opportunity which is very good for our team where 80 per cent of the players are young with an average age of 23. It will be a good exposure for them for they are the ones that put in all their effort to get us to number two in the last SPL season,” said Bandari CEO Edward Oduor.
The SportPesa Cup tournament next year will feature teams from Kenya and Tanzania, with each country providing four. Kenya’s representatives are Gor, Bandari, SportPesa Shield winners Kariobangi Sharks and AFC Leopards.
Tanzania will be represented by the 2017/18 Premier League winners Simba SC, Yanga SC, Singida United and Mbao FC.
The winner of the tournament will get a chance to host English Premier League club Everton for a friendly in their country, making it the second time the Toffees will visit East Africa after their encounter with Gor in Dar last year.
“This tournament is geared at exposing local talent to give our players a chance to be scouted as well as play with the best in the region to improve their careers and skills,” said SportPesa Chief Marketing Officer Kelvin Twissa.
“We are delighted to welcome two new teams, Mbao and Bandari to the tournament,” he added.
Gor are the two-time champions of this tournament, earning the bragging rights of playing a seasoned Everton FC twice, at home in East Africa when the Toffees made a maiden tour to Tanzania in July 2017 and at the UK’s Goodison Park Stadium last week.
“We are actually alive to the fact that other clubs are determined to take the crown from us this time round but we want to assure them that it will be no mean task. To them I say, let us meet again in Tanzania,” said a confident Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier.
The first edition of this tournament was held in Dar es Salaam in June 2017 while the last one was held a year later in Nakuru.