NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – World defending champions Capital FM have been drawn in a tough Pool D as they prepare to retain the Standard Chartered Road to Anfield title on Saturday at Nairobi’s St Mary’s School.
Capital FM will battle it out with Sanlam formerly Pan Africa Insurance Holdings winners of the inaugural Road to Anfield tournament in 2013, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, General Electric, East African Breweries Limited and Letsego.
The tournament consists of 36 teams with six pools comprising six teams each where the top two in each group and best four losers qualify for the round of 16.
This year the teams increased from 24 that competed last year and Standard Chartered Africa Head of Digital Marketing Sarah Oyungu said it was necessitated by the big number of teams requesting to participate.
“Going by previous events, the standards for this year’s tournament are even higher. It’s super competitive this year. Last year it was exceptional Capital FM represented Kenya and won the trophy and so we are hoping this year we can have another Kenyan team winning,” Oyungu announced when conducting the draw on Tuesday.
With teams eyeing Capital FM, the Best Mix of Music skipper Lassie Atrash said his charges are ready to make history as the first team ever to defend the title since its inception in 2013, but admitted it will not be an easy walk in the park.
“First we thank God for blessing us with this opportunity once again. The experience the team got last year was fantastic and truly amazing at Anfield Stadium and actually being the first team in Africa to win the tournament. This time it will not be easy for the team but we are physically and mentally prepared. We will be coming on Saturday better and stronger than last year,” Atrash, the Capital FM Production Assistant warned.
Nation Media Group has been drawn in what is considered the Pool of death with Kenya Nut, Toyota Kenya, Nakumatt Holdings, Oracle and Nestle while last year’s local runners-up Radio Africa will face David Waruinge Advocates, Silva Corporation, Oilibya, Copy Cat and a team yet to be confirmed in a relatively easy group E.
Unlike last year where the winner earned a direct ticket to a lifetime four-day fully paid trip to Anfield, the home of English Premier League side Liverpool FC, the 2017 edition will feature a regional qualifying tournament that will incorporate Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The three nations will host qualifying tournaments in their respective countries with the local winners travelling to Tanzania to take part in the East Africa Regional final to fight for qualification to the international competition in Liverpool.
This year Kenya will send two teams to Anfield since for the first time the Standard Chartered Bank employees tournament will see the winner earn the prestigious trip.
The overall winners will also have a chance to attend an English Premier League match at Anfield, and professional training session with Liverpool FC legends and coaches.
Capital FM is the first African team to win the Standard Chartered Trophy title after beating two-time champions South Korea 3-2 in a thrilling final last year that saw the competition played under floodlight for the first time.
Capital’s Jeffrey Ooko emerged as the Most Valuable Player while Solomon Okeyo earned himself the Golden Boot with 10 goals.
Standard Media Group
Nation Media Group
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
East African Breweries Ltd
David Waruinge Advocates