AFC Leopards are leaving nothing to chance in their quest to win the inaugural Elijah Lidonde Memorial Cup that will be played in a knockout format in Kakamega County this weekend.
The four-team tournament kicks off at Mumias Sports Complex today with the final set for tomorrow at Bukhungu Stadium.
FKF Premier League trio of AFC, Kakamega Homeboyz and Nzoia Sugar will battle with recently relegated Vihiga Bullets in the competition being held in honour of Ingwe legends who have died in recent years.
Lidonde, whom the tournament was named after, captained both Abaluhya (AFC Leopards) and Harambee Stars between 1950 and 1961 before passing on in September 1987.
Homeboyz will tackle Nzoia in the first semifinal tie in Mumias today as AFC take on Vihiga.
The winners will walk home with Sh1M in prize money. The first runner-up will pocket Sh0.5m while third and fourth placed teams will bag Sh0.4M and Sh0.25M respectively.
Having failed to win the Premier League title this season, both AFC and Homeboyz players feel this is a perfect chance for them to at least lift a silverware.
Homeboyz was edged out on goal difference by eventual winners Tusker after both teams were tied on 63 points, while Leopards finished sixth on the log.
Tournament’s patron Alex Muteshi, who is also the Director General Department of Immigration, said he is looking forward to staging a successful event.
And for AFC captain Eugene Mukangula his teammate Zachary Njite, the players are not only eager to win the title in memory of their club’s legend, but also to make their fans happy.
“Of course this is a memorial tournament, but as a team we are in Kakamega for a mission. We are going to give it our all on the pitch in honour of our fallen legends and at least win something for our fans,” Mukangula told Standard Sports moments after visiting the late Lidonde’s home in Ikolomani Constituency yesterday.
But stand-in Kakamega Homeboyz coach Hesbon Nyabinge and veteran midfielder Ali Bai have urged the players to put their FKF PL title disappointment behind them if they are to win the tournament.