NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14- Standard Chartered Trophy Road to Anfield defending champions Capital FM have been drawn in a tricky group for this year’s tournament set to be played on Saturday at the St, Mary’s School in Nairobi.
Capital FM will headline Pool E where they are lined up to face debutants AC Nelson, Catholic Relief Services, Oracle, Davis and Shirtliff as well as the Wananchi Group.
“It is a very tricky group because we have not faced most of those teams in our group. But our aim remains the same, to start the tournament well, win all our games and top our group. The players are ready because we have been training for two months now,” skipper Lassie Atrash said.
He added; “As defending champions, there is always the pressure of retaining the title and also everyone comes to beat you. We understand the difficulty in this but the good thing is we have a caliber of players which can sustain such kind of pressure.”
The Best Mix of Music team won last year’s tournament with a hard earned 1-0 win over Letshego thanks to Jeff Ooko powerful strike.
However, the team did not proceed to Liverpool, United Kingdom to defend their international title after losing the regional tournament in Tanzania to hosts Azania. However, this year the winner from Kenya will head directly to Anfield.
“It was painful not to go to Anfield last year but we have learnt from that. It has made us stronger and that will be a motivation that we need to go to the UK and win that title again,” Atrash further commented.
A total of 48 teams have confirmed participation for this year’s competition with a further 41 playing in a separate tournament for Standard Chartered Bank staff.
The 48 teams have been spread across eight groups of six teams each with the media teams being seeded. The top two from each group proceed to the round of 16.
Last year’s losing finalists Letshego will square it out with 2016 finalists Radio Africa, Vivo Energy, Multichoice, Jameson and Resolution Insurance.
“We got to the final once and we know how tough this tournament is. This time we want to go on and challenge for the trophy. We hope for the best,” Radio Africa captain Fred Arocho commented.
Standard Chartered Head of Corporate Affairs Helen Nangozi says they expect a tougher tournament this year and also expects the standards of the game to improve.
“The tournament is becoming very competitive each year. Last year we had 36 teams and now we have 48. It shows the amount of interest it is generating and we expect the quality to be better this year,” Nangozi noted.
Road to Anfield Pools
Pool A: Nation Media Group, Impact Stars, JH Piego Corporation, PS Kenya, Diagio, General Electric.
Pool B: Standard Group, Getrudes Hospital, Louis Dreyfus Company, Metropolitan Canon, BAT, Simba Corp.
Pool C: Royal media Services, Syngenta East Africa, EABL, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Nivea, Zamara Actiaries
Pool D: Radio Africa, Vivo Energy, Multichoice, Jameson, Letshego, Resolution Insurance.
Pool E: Capital FM, AC Nelson, Catholic Relief Services, Oracle, Davis and Shirtliff, Wananchi Group.
Pool F: Mediamax, United States International University, Safaricom, Deloitte, MFI Document Solutions, NAS Services
Pool G: AIG, Bamburi, Kenya Nut, Scan Group, Oil Libya, Copy Cat
Pool H: Bollore Logistics, Total Kenya, Galana Oil, Schneider Electric, Nairobi Bottlers, ICPAK.