NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – Three Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clubs will not take part in this year’s GOtv Shield tournament with Football Kenya Federation confirming entries from 64 teams.
For the second time in a row, Mathare United will not to take part in the tournament as well as Nairobi City Stars and struggling Sofapaka.
While Sofapaka and Mathare claimed their decision is to enable them concentrate on the Premier League, City Stars boss Peter Jabuya says the federation never informed them of the tournament and entry procedures.
“We were left in the cold and no one told us anything about it. It is a lapse on the federation side and not ours,” Jabuya told Capital Sport.
Mathare United Chief Executive Officer Jectone Obure in response said the club which is chasing its second KPL title has decided to focus on the league.
The same sentiments were shared by GOtv Shield 2010 and 2014 champions Sofapaka who are languishing at the relegation zone, sitting second last on seven points.
“If you look at where we are at the standings, it is not pleasant at all. As a technical bench, we told the management we want to focus our energy on fighting relegation and we thought putting ourselves into the GOtv Shield would jeopardize our focus,” Sofapaka assistant coach John Baraza outlined.
In the second tier, Shabana, Zoo Kericho and St Joseph also opted out leaving 15 National Super League clubs in the competition that will see the winner represent Kenya in the CAF Confederations Cup next year.
Nonetheless, FKF expect an intense tournament with the first round of the 32 knockout matches being played June 25.
Defending champions Bandari FC start their title defence a few kilometres from their Mombasa base as they have been drawn away to Lamu based Tezo.
Losing finalists Nakumatt FC will hope to have the same fine run of form that saw them get to the final last year after eliminating Gor Mahia in the semi-final as they begin their journey at home against Super Matuga FC.
Ulinzi Stars who have never won the tournament will hope for better luck this time and will start their campaign against Nakuru local side Umoja FC at the Afraha Stadium.
Ten-time champions Gor Mahia whose last conquest in the domestic cup came in 2012 will kick off their quest at home against Mombasa Mahakama.
The 13 KPL and 15 National Super League sides were seeded for the draw and placed in pot one while the rest of the teams were in pot two.
Wazito FC, who were eliminated from the round of 16 last year by AFC Leopards, have vowed to do better and target to upset the status quo by going all the way to the finals.
“We have learnt a lot since last season. We had a good run in the tournament but lost to AFC because of experience ending up conceding a goal in the final minutes of the match,” former Harambee Stars forward Francis Oduor, who is the team’s assistant coach said.
The winner of the tournament not only earns a spot to represent Kenya in the continental assignment but also walks away with Sh2mn.
“This tournament is an important part of our contribution to Kenyan football because it helps give players a chance to showcase their talent and at the end of it aid in improving the standards of football in the country,” GOtv General Manager Felix Kyengo noted.
Fortune Sacco v Zetech University, Butterfly v Administration Police, Tusker FC v Machakos United, Uprising v Police FC, Posta Rangers v Timsales, Mwatate United v Timsales, Agro Chemical v Baba Dogo United, Transfoc v Vihiga United, Western Stima v Limuru Olympic, Oyugi All Stars v Fresha, Kakamega Homeboyz v Lang’ata Gremio, Mumbi Nationale v AFC Leopards, Thika United v Vapor Sports, Egan FC v Mosca, GFE 105 v Isiolo Youth, Taqwa v KCB, Nzoia United v Meru Tigers, Kiambu All Stars v Savannah Cement, Gor Mahia v Mombasa Mahakama, K. Chiefs v Nairobi Stima, Muhoroni Youth v Amani Youth Sports, Umoja v Ulinzi Stars, Chemelil Sugar v Nyakach United, Leventis v Talanta, Modern Coast v Coast Stima, Tiki FC v Sony Sugar, Kariobangi Sharks v Nairobi Water, Isibania v Palos FC, Nakumatt FC v Super Matuga, Tezo FC v Bandari, Wazito v Taveta Sisal, Nakuru All Stars v Bidco.