DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Jan 22 – Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Shield champions Kariobangi Sharks will be counting on the four CAF Confederations matches they have played this season as they dig in for their second appearance at the SportPesa Super Cup in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Sharks open up their campaign against favored home side Dar Young Africans (Yanga) on Tuesday evening and assistant coach Collins Omondi says aving played in tougher circumstances especially in Ghana, they will be better prepared this time round.
“The international experience has really helped us especially in Ghana when we played against Kotoko (Asante). Playing infront of such a huge crowd and losing by such a small margin improved us as a team in terms of experience,” Omondi stated.
The tactician added; “Through that experience, we are ready for anything and playing infront of a huge crowd. On the pitch, it will be 11 players versus 11 players.”
Sharks were unfortunate to slip off on penalties in last year’s edition in Nakuru, losing out to Simba 3-2 after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
Despite coming up against an on-form Yanga and an expected full house at the national stadium in Dar, Sharks are not cowed and have vowed to feast on the home side to make it for their first ever appearance in the last four.
“We have not come in here to participate but to win. We are ready for Yanga. On paper it is a tough match but everything will be decided on the pitch. They are a very good team and in this region they are one of the giants. But we are ready for them,” Omondi further stated.
His sentiments were further echoed by skipper Eric Juma who has just returned to the side after a lengthy spell off with injury.
Juma has vivid memories of last year’s tournament in Nakuru where he lost one of the penalties as Sharks exited.
“It was unfortunate we had to exit that way but we picked lessons. We lost so many chances in open play which we should have used to kill off the game. This time round, we will ensure we use our chances and I think we have clinical strikers who can do that,” Juma stated.
“We are ready to tackle Yanga. They are a good team, one of the best in the region but we are ready to face them,” he further stated.
The team has been boosted with the return of last season’s Kenyan Premier League top scorer Eric Kapaito while himself, Sven Yidah and keeper John Oyemba have all returned to full fitness after a troubled period with injury.
Juma says the squad has a lot of depth and they will be a better outfit this time round.
Sharks though come into the tournament with a checkered run of form having won two of their last five games and drawn three. To their advantage though, they are one of only three unbeaten sides in the KPL this far.