NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 16 – Having eliminated 10-time champions Gor Mahia at the round of 16, National Super League leaders Nzoia United are out to fall another giant when they tackle Ulinzi Stars in the quarter-finals of the GOtv Shield on Saturday at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.
Unbeaten so far this season, Nzoia who stumbled out of the tournament last year at the same stage losing 3-2 to Muhoroni Youth, have vowed to go one better with head coach Bernard Mwalala eying a berth in the final.
“The belief in this squad is immense. As long as we are still in this competition, our aim is to go all the way to the final. Last year we lost in the quarters and there are vital lessons that we picked and I believe we will be better off this time,” Mwalala, a former Kenyan international told Capital Sport.
He knows too well their quest will not come easy as they face off a side hungry for silverware, with their charge for the Kenyan Premier Premier League crown fading off.
“Their chance of winning the league is 50-50 and I know for them, this is a championship they will give their all in. We play the same kind of football and that means this is going to be a cracker. But my boys are psyched up for the challenge because they are young players who always want to gauge themselves with the big boys,” Mwalala offered.
Ulinzi haven’t won a local title since their 2011 conquest in the KPL Top Eight Cup and stand-in coach Benjamin Nyangweso is not about to oversee another trophy-less season.
Despite their pedigree in local football, Ulinzi has never won the GOtv Shield; the closest they came was in 1995 when they reached the final losing 2-0 to Rivatex.
But Nyangweso is confident their long wait for that piece of silverware can be quenched this year.
“It is an opportunity for us to win a title and represent the country in continental football. It is not an easy match but we need to put all our efforts to it. We have put the disappointment of the midweek loss to Gor Mahia behind and hopefully, we get to win and move to the semis,” Nyangweso stated.
The soldiers booked a place in the last eight after a 3-0 win over fellow Premier League side Chemelil Sugar.
While Nzoia will miss the services of their second top scorer Edgar Nzano, Ulinzi will have all their ammunition fit and ready.