NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 20- Tusker FC ended their 23-year wait for the GOtv Shield after beating Ulinzi Stars 1-0 at the Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday and maintain hopes for a season double as they are also in the race for the Kenyan Premier League title.
Allan Wanga scored the all-important goal in the first half as Tusker held on to hand themselves a huge boost in their hunt to win an 11th Kenyan Premier League title.
The win not only saw Tusker receive Ksh 2m but also earn a ticket to represent Kenya at next year’s CAF Confederations Cup.
Ulinzi went home with Ksh 1m for finishing second while Kariobangi Sharks received Ksh 750 for finishing third after thrashing KCB 5-2.
David Okello’s superb keeping ensured Tusker went into the break a goal up after coming all out to thwart John Mark Makwatta’s individual brilliance.
The Ulinzi Stars forward who has 19 goals in all competition this season dribbled past four Tusker players, slalomed into the box but Okello spread his body well on the ground to block the one on one effort.
Tusker had gotten into the lead in the 21st minute and deservedly so after pounding the Ulinzi goal with waves of attack. Tusker took a quick throw on the right after Brian Birgen had lost the ball, Wanga cutting into the box and shooting low with the ball hitting the inside of the post on its way in.
The soldiers had begun the contest on the front foot and in the sixth minute had a good chance with Geoffrey Kokoyo’s freekick found Omar Mbongi at the far post but the left back’s header was parried away by Okello with Makwatta sending the rebound over.
In the 17th minute, Enosh Ochieng’s well taken low shot from the edge of the box was spilled by Okello with Osborne Monday clearing the ball for a corner with Makwatta preying on the rebound.
But as the game progressed, so did Tusker’s presence in the match.
In the 19th minute Shafik Batambuze floated a free kick from the left which James Saruni punched away to Noah Wafula, the former AFC man cutting back to George Mandela whose shot was however blocked.
Saruni was called into his first real save of the match in the 29th minute backpedalling to tip over the ball for a corner after Geoffrey Kokoyo almost turned the ball into his own net from another Batambuze free kick.
As soon as Tusker scored in the 31st minute, their confidence grew and they began to pass the ball with more ease, skipper of the day Humphrey Mieno controlling the midfield well and encouraging his team mates to play the ball instead of hooping it upfront.