Sofapaka seek lost glory with SportPesa Shield

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Saturday, March 16th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Sofapaka FC's Umar Kasumba (left) and Gideon Kibet of Chemelil FC during KPL match against Chemelil Sugar at Chemelil Sports Ground on Saturday March 9, 2019. Sofapaka FC won 3-0. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Sofapaka team manager Hillary Echesa has urged his players to focus on ending their long trophy drought as they face off with Bungoma Superstars in today’s SportPesa Shield round of 32 knockout tie at Sudi Stadium.

Batoto Ba Mungu, currently at the top of the SportPesa Premier League table with 33 points, last won the domestic Cup in 2014 when they beat Posta Rangers 2-1 in the final. This was just five years after winning the league title on their debut.

But with a stiff title race in the offing after a motivating 1-0 midweek win over AFC Leopards at Bukhungu Stadium, the former Kenyan international is purely looking on Sofapaka’s positives as the knock out stage of the oldest tournament in the country kicks off this weekend with 15 matches lined up across the country.

“We cannot afford to underrate any of our opponents whether in the Cup or the league. It’s almost a decade since we last won the league and over five years since we tasted Cup glory. But I believe with our current form and the quality of players we have, we can end that drought,” Echesa said.

“However, as you know football is dynamic and there is no ‘small’ teams, it’s a game full of surprises. All the same, we hope we are going to make something happen this year.”

While Sofapaka will be hunting in Bungoma, Kariobangi Sharks will open their title defence with an early 1pm  kick off match against Elim at Bukhungu Stadium before paving way for a clash between AFC Leopards and lower tier side Transfoc at 3.15pm.

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And just like Echesa, Sharks team manager Mathew Sam they have set their sights on the Sh 2million prize money and a ticket to represent the country in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.