NAIROBI, Kenya, April 23 – GOtv Shield defending champions AFC Leopards and bitter rivals Gor Mahia were the only teams seeded and will join the fray in the quarterfinals when this year’s draw was conducted on Wednesday in Nairobi.
According to organisers, the other 14 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) teams will battle it out for a place in the last-16 alongside 24 Super League teams.
The draw featured only 24 teams from national division one and Provisional leagues that will lock horns this weekend in knockout ties with 12 proceeding to the round of 52 that will see super league and KPL teams join.
According to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Secretary General Michael Esakwa, the number of teams has increased from 48 to 64 since they want the tournament to be competitive.
Esakwa added Gor and Ingwe were seeded by the virtue of being last year’s finalists and also to avoid the two local giants meeting early as organisers ‘hope’ for a repeat of last year’s derby final.
“The response was overwhelming since we had more than 10,000 teams who had expressed interest to play in the competition but we could only manage to accommodate a maximum of 64 clubs.
“All the matches will be played on Saturday and Sunday in venues that we are yet to be confirmed for the purpose of live coverage. We had reserved this weekend for the GOtv Shield matches so we will not have any premier league matches,” Esakwa said when launching this year’s event.
“We are proud to be part of the tournament and we are committed to see the tournament grow. We want the tournament to get more competitive I’m happy to announce that will be having more matches played and televised in the counties thereby bringing the game closer to the people and also in the spirit of devolved Government.
“I would like to see more people coming to the stadiums because last year the turn out was low so I’m encouraging people to attend the matches to make the game lively and popular,” GOtv General Manager Felix Kyengo stated.
After the round of 52, the teams will be whittled to 32 then to 16 before reaching to the last eight and in all this rounds a draw will be conducted.
Leopards beat Gor 1-0 last season to claim the Shied.
The overall winner will receive Sh2m (USD 22,949) and represent the country at next year’s CAF Confederations Cup.
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