NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – The 2017 edition of the GOtv Shield will be played in two different zones to reduce the travel distance and cost to ease the financial burden on lower tier teams, the Football Kenya Federation has announced.
In that respect, all the lower tier teams will begin their campaign at home.
“This is the tournament that allows smaller teams to mix it up with big teams. We decided so that we are able to give small teams a chance of playing and progressing in the tournament, we should zone them and let them play their first matches at home,” FKF Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi said.
He added; “The biggest problem we have in Kenyan football especially with teams in the lower tiers is the issue of finances. We have tried to make it cheaper for the teams to participate by zoning to reduce their travel.”
Meanwhile, a cloud of uncertainty hangs around the sponsorship of the tournament with title holders GOtv entering into the final year of the five-year partnership initially signed in 2013.
“We have started talks with them but at the moment, I don’t know what lies ahead, but we will see,” FKF President Nick Mwendwa told Capital Sport.
GOtv General Manager Simon Kariithi is also uncertain whether or not the deal will be reviewed.
“We are still in discussion from our group whether there is a possibility of further discussion. Of course there is a financial burden and the company is realigning to see what other assets can we add to our platform to benefit our products,” Kariithi said.
He added; “At the moment we don’t have a green-light on whether we can go ahead but the options are still open by end of the year we will know. “
64 teams have been tentatively drawn in this year’s tournament which will start on June 24 with the final expected to be played on October 20. A total of 14 Kenyan Premier League sides have confirmed participation.
Zoo Kericho, Muhoroni Youth FC, Posta Rangers and Mathare United are the four KPL clubs which have not been drafted in the tournament.
Defending champions Tusker FC willo start their title defense away in Mombasa playing against AS Assad while last year’s finalists Ulinzi Stars will be in Nairobi, playing away to Wajiji FC from the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Athi River.
Ten-time champions Gor Mahia have also been handed a lower tier opponent, having been drawn against debutants Nairobi Water. 2014 champions Bandari FC will travel to Nairobi to face Kibera based Uweza while their predecessors AFC Leopards will be in Bondo taking on Dero FC.
GOtv Shield Full Round of 32 draw
Nairobi Water vs Gor Mahia, Bigot vs Nakumatt, Wajiji FC vs Ulinzi Stars, Timsales vs Sony Sugar, Bondo United vs Nzoia Sugar, Eldoret Youth vs Nakuru All stars, Savanna Cement vs Chemelil Sugar, Transfork vs Western Stima, Bungoma Superstars vs Kariobangi Sharks, Nyakach United vs GFE 105, Poror Mote vs KCB, Rainforest vs Agro Chemical, Umoja vs Nairobi Stima, Naivas vs Kakamega Homeboys, Elim FC vs Vihiga United, Griffin vs Palos FC.
Uweza vs Bandari, Dream Academy vs Modern Coast, Balaji FC vs Coast Stima, Young Divers vs Thika United, Taqwa vs Nairobi City Stars, Silver bullet vs Sofapaka FC, Al-Aly vs Kenpoly, Karatina Homeboyz vs Administration Police, Peter Kenneth vs Wazito, Muranga All Stars vs Bidco United, Dero FC vs AFC Leopards, Tandaza FC vs Zetech University , Avantgarde FC vs Ushuru FC, SS Asad vs Tusker FC, Mwatate United vs Kenya Police, Butterfly FC vs Leysa.