NAIROBI, KENYA, May 21- Defending champions AFC Leopards will start their Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Shield title defense against third tier side Shabana FC when this year’s tournament kicks off on June 1.
AFC won their 10th Shield title last year with a 2-0 win over Kariobangi Sharks and will be looking to repeat the same feat this year.
Sharks will in turn start their journey for a second consecutive final appearance and probably a shot at the title with an away trip to Nanyuki Youth.
Gor Mahia who have won the title a record 13 times kick off their campaign in Mombasa when they take on SS Assad.
Robert Matano will look to win the tournament for a second consecutive time and lead a different club to a historic third consecutive time when Tusker FC start their campaign away to Taita Taveta All Stars.
Matano saw Ulinzi get to the final in 2016 losing to Tusker FC 1-0 in the final before leading AFC Leopards last year.
Three-time champions Sofapaka will start their campaign against former giants Re Union while Bandari, winners of the title in 2015 will kick off their campaign in Garissa with a first round tie against debutants Berlin.
A total of 64 teams will participate with Five Kenyan Premier League clubs choosing not take part in the fcompetition. Mathare has had a traditionof by-passing the domestic cup and they will be joined on the sidelines by Nakumatt, Thika United, Chemelil Sugar and Zoo Kericho.
This year will have a different sponsor with betting firm SportPesa taking over from GOtv whose five-year partnership ended last year. The bookmaker has splashed Sh66mn into sponsoring the tournament to be spread over the next three years.
The prize money remains the same; winners will take home Sh2mn, the runners up Sh1mn, third placed side Sh750,000 while the fourth placed team walks home with Sh500,000.
Fortune Sacco v Mwatate United, Nunguni Yulu v Ushuru FC, Berlin (Garissa) v Bandari, Taita Taveta All Stars v Tusker, Emmausians (Tana River) v Leysa, Nanyuki All Stars v KCB, Re Union v Sofapaka, Equity Bank (Div One) v Baba Dogo United, Friend Zone v Naivas, Tandaza v Zetech University, SS Assad (Mombasa) v Gor Mahia, Kenpoly v Savannah Cement, Nanyuki Youth v Kariobangi Sharks, Nairobi Water v Wazito, Ligi Ndogo v FC Talanta, Balaji v Modern Coast, Rainforest v Sony Sugar, Shabana v AFC Leopards, Vegpro v GFE 105, Nyamira All Stars v Vihiga United, MKU Nakuru v Kisumu All Stars, River Plate v Nakuru All Stars, Nakuru West Combined v Kenya Police, Dero v Nzoia Sugar, Trans Milan v Ulinzi Stars, Asec (Kakamega) v Kakamega Homeboyz, Egerton University v Western Stima, Kabras United v Bidco, Transmara Sugar v Posta Rangers, Kisumu Hotstars v Raiply, Bungoma Superstar v Timsales, Transfoc v Eldoret Youth