Babu challenges Nzoia to make history with Lidonde Cup triumph

AFC Leopards players celebrate after scoring a goal against Vihiga Bullets at Mumias Sports Complex yesterday. [AFC Leopards]

Nzoia Sugar coach Salim Babu has challenged his players to make history beating AFC Leopards in today's final of the inaugural Elijah Lidonde Memorial Cup at Bukhungu Stadium.

The millers became the first team to qualify for the final after making light work of Kakamega Homeboyz, thrashing the 2020/2021 FKF Premier League runner-up 5-2 at Mumias Sports Complex yesterday.

AFC Leopards then also produced a similar performance with Ronald Shichenje bagging a brace as Ingwe overcame Vihiga Bullets 5-3 in the second semifinal match at the same venue.

Victor Omune, Maxwell Otieno and Brian Wanyama were also on target to seal a final spot for Leopards, currently under the tutelage of goalkeeper trainer Lawrence Webo. 

First semis victory was a type of result Babu needed to prove his worthiness after he recently attracted interest from Homeboyz following the sacking of the Bernard Mwalala-led technical bench.

James Kibandem, Levis Barasa, Kevin Juma, Felician Okanda and Leonard Kasembeli scored a goal each to inspire Nzoia, who survived relegation from the Premier League by a whisker, to an emphatic victory.

With the win, Nzoia are now assured of at least Sh0.5M in prize money ahead of today’s final against Ingwe whose winners will pocket Sh1M.

And by his own admission, Babu said they are not only motivated to write history but also to go back to Bungoma richer.

“It’s a good performance from the boy; they worked hard and followed instructions throughout the game. The early goals made work easier for us,” a jubilant Babu told Standard Sports.

“To be honest, we are motivated by the prize money. As you are aware, most clubs are struggling financially, that’s why we really want to win the trophy.

“Beating a team of Kakamega Homeboyz caliber is no mean feat, but we must remain focused and write history by becoming the first team to claim Lidonde Cup.”

Homeboyz and Vihiga will battle in the third place playoffs with the winners walking home with Sh0.4M and the losers Sh0.25M.

The four-team tournament is being held in honour of Ingwe legends who have died in recent years.