NAIROBI, September 4 – Two-time champions Tusker FC will start their title defence against cash-strapped giants, AFC Leopards in the pick of the KPL Top 8 knock-out tournament draw on Friday.
SportPesa Premier League titleholders, Gor Mahia, who won Top 8 in 2012, were drawn against Muhoroni Youth while inaugural champions, Ulinzi Stars take on Sony Sugar.
Sofapaka battle Chemelil Sugar when the quarter finals of the delayed annual knockout tournament that kicks-off on the weekend of September 26 in a venue yet to be confirmed by KPL.
Speaking when conducting the draw on Friday, KPL CEO, Jack Oguda announced the finals will be hosted in Kisumu but should the final be a Mashemeji Derby between Gor and Leopards, they move the venue to Nairobi due to security concerns.
“We are still using the same format, last year we played in four counties so this year we intend to go to six. We want to spread the game to different parts of the country and we have dubbed this road to Kisumu because the finals will be played in Kisumu.
“Only if Gor and Leopards get into the finals we will be able to rethink because Kisumu Stadium can’t host such a big match,” the KPL boss declared.
The two old giants clubs have never met in the tournament after Leopards failed to honour the 2012 edition when they were paired together in the quarter finals.
Another Mashemeji derby is in the offing after the second-leg of the SportPesa Premier League meeting was aborted due to trouble caused by a section of Leopards fans to see Gor awarded the maximum points.
SportPesa and Gor chairman, Ambrose Rachier condemned hooliganism saying they will work with police and other law enforcers before the next season to cub the menace.
“These two glamour clubs of Kenyan football are currently undergoing serious financial constraints. Our supporters should by now have known that their unbecoming behaviour that is totally unacceptable scares away potential sponsors which we badly need.
“Their behaviour leaves us with a deep vacuum financially in our quest to adequately remunerate our players, yet they cannot by any imagination help fill that void,” Rachier stated.
Mombasa is the other added county to Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos and Meru counties that are scheduled to host this year’s edition that will be broadcasted live by SuperSport.
After the quarters a mini draw for the semis which will be played in a home and away basis will be conducted.
The league body will facilitate all the expenses of teams participating including the winning allowances in the tournament where the winner will pocket Sh1m (USD 9,504.000) on top of the trophy.