Kenya: Eyes On FKF Cup As League Takes Break
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Cup takes centre stage this weekend with four matches involving the four top flight teams in the country on the cards.
Tusker, Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards and 2010 Cup winners Sofapaka will be in action this weekend as the Kenya Premier League takes a deserved two-week international break.
AFC Leopards will at be at their adopted home ground of Mumias Sports Complex to host Karuturi Sports in arguably the match of the quarter-final round. Ingwe, winners in 2009, have set their sights on returning to continental football and the FKF Cup provides one avenue for them to achieve their goal. Defender Eric Masika has promised to give his best shot in the tourney and deliver the Cup.
“Our top priority now given a choice would be to lift the league title because it has been a long since we were crowned Kenyan champions. That is what our fans would like us to achieve but it would be a wonderful achievement if I can win the FKF Cup again with Leopards after doing it with Gor last year,” explained Masika.
Defending Cup champions Gor Mahia will be hoping to take their good form into their last eight clash against Muhoroni Youth at City Stadium tomorrow. Coach Zdravko Logarusic has not hidden his desire to pick a treble of trophies this season- a rare achievement in the recent history of Kenyan football-having already picked up the Top Eight Cup. Gor are also still firmly in contention for the league title sitting only two points behind leaders Tusker.
Today’s match will give the Croatian tactician a chance to play his fringe players with captain Jerim Onyango certain to miss the match for compassionate reasons while the likes of Rama Salim, Dan Serunkuma and Moses Odhiambo are likely to start on the bench. Lanky Edwin Lavatsa will lead Gor’s attack assisted by Kevin Omondi if Logarusic rings the changes.
Alfred Imonje’s Muhoroni’s priorities might be on maintaining their place in the top flight league as the fears of relegation haunt them. But to play Gor Mahia at their own perch will be ample motivation for them to give this encounter their best shot and hope to at least to remain with some fond memories, should the worst happen and they are relegated from the top flight league at the end of the season.
Last year losing finalists Sofapaka face nationwide side KRA hoping to maintain their good run in the tournament that has seen them reach two consecutive finals-losing once and winning two years ago. Coach Stewart Hall has pegged his hopes of notching the first win at the club in this match but he will have to do it within regular goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng and Congolese winger Heritier Luvualu.
“Here (at Sofapaka) we have long term targets and short term targets. For the long term ones, we are looking at the players who we will keep in the team and those who we will recruit but in the short term plan we want to win the matches in including the one against KRA,” said Hall.
In the other match, Tusker will have arguable the easiest route on paper to the last four. They face Bob Oyugi’s Talanta FC, hoping to make a mark in a tournament they have avoided like a plague for the last seven years. The winner of the FKF Cup gets a direct ticket to represent the country in the CAF Continental Cup
AFC Leopards vs Karuturi Sports (Mumias)
Gor Mahia vs Muhoroni Youth (City)
Talanta vs Tusker (Afraha)
Sofapaka vs KRA (Nyayo)
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