Kariobangi Sharks opponents in tomorrow’s CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, Artar Solar of Djibouti, arrived in the country yesterday and held a light training session at Utalii College.
The little-known Djiboutian club will feel Kasarani’s playing surface today ahead of tomorrow evening’s tie when the SportPesa Shield winners make their debut in continental club championship.
Artar Solar’s unheralded credentials offer Sharks a dream in their debut as they plot a solid home victory, a prerequisite to progressing in these two-leg knockout clashes, then travelling to the reclusive state for a return leg on December 5.
Celebrated Ghanaian outfit Asante Kotoko awaits winners of this clash in the first round, having sailed smoothly through when Congo missed the deadline to present a participating team to CAF.
The fixture between Sharks and Artar Solar has been hailed as an even one as both are not fancied to go further in the competition having not made a name on the continental scene. The Kenyan side is, however, favoured to make it past Artar Solar.
Sharks have been training under coach William Muluya who bestowed all faith in his inexperienced squad. The Sharks team has just two foreign players and did not make big signings synonymous with teams heading for continental championships.
Striker George Abege of Uganda and south Sudanese Kuol Chol are the only ‘professionals’ in a side bustling with local talent.
“We will stick with the players we have. If it is beefing up then it will be on one or two areas that we may feel inadequate but we will not be bringing veterans. We should remember that it is these same youngsters who put us here by winning the shield. They showed the world that they are ready for continental football. If they were not ready, they would not have fought as they did to win it. So they are equal to the task,” said Muluya, giving a vote of confidence to his young squad
The team has played several local friendly matches in the build-up to this clash and the 2018/19 season and feel ready.
Former Chemelil Sugar midfielder Shafan Oyugi will, however, miss the preliminary round, having not been registered when Sharks submitted their list.
Oyugi suffered documentation hitches and missed the deadline but the team management confirmed that everything has been sorted and the player will be ready for the later stages of the championships.