It's AFC Leopards v Kakamega Homeboyz in Elijah Lidonde Cup final

AFC Leopards winger Ronald Sichenje Bebeto in action against Mulembe United’s Peter Madala during Elijah Litonde Super Cup tournament held at Bukhungu Stadium. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Defending champions AFC Leopards will battle with Kakamega Homeboyz in what is expected to be a thrilling final of the second edition of Elijah Lidonde Super Cup at Bukhungu Stadium on Sunday.

Both teams had to dig deep to overcome their stubborn opponents in yesterday’s semi-final at the same venue.

Leopards saw off National Super League (NSL) side Mulembe United 1-0 in the first match before Kakamega Homeboyz beat Nzoia Sugar 2-0. The tournament is sponsored by leading betting firm 22Bet.

Kevin Kimani’s second-half brilliant free kick is all that Ingwe needed to see off Mike Mururi’s charges and secure a final date with Homeboyz. Patrick Odhiambo’s men got their goals through Stephen Opoku (50th) and Vincent Ogola (73rd). Homeboyz now will be seeking to avenge their recent 2-0 defeat to AFC in the FKF Premier League.

The winners of today’s final will walk home with Sh1 million in prize money together with a trophy, while the first runner-up will receive Sh500,000. The third and fourth-placed teams will be awarded Sh250,000 and Sh200,000 respectively.

The tournament is being held in honour of the late Elijah Lidonde, who captained both Abaluhya (AFC Leopards) and Harambee Stars between 1950 and 1961 before passing away in September 1987.

Despite his side struggling to score goals against the run of play both in their recent matches in the FKF Premier League, Tomas Trucha, who is using the tournament to gauge his plays, says they are determined to defend the trophy today.

“We really need a striker, and that is one of the departments we are going to strengthen in the January transfer window.  We have been playing well and creating a number of chances, but fail to convert them,” said Trucha.

“We fielded many fringe players and I’m impressed with how they performed, but expect a different game in the final today. Of course, our fans would love to see us win the Premier League, but that’s a work in progress, and for now, we target to retain the Elijah Lidonde Cup. We are not afraid of any team.”

But for his Mulembe United counterpart Mike Mururi, inexperience cost them the match that saw teenage sensation Mark Shaban stretched off with a suspected spinal injury.

“The boys played their hearts out and pushed our opponents to the limit, but indecisions in key areas cost us. I had three school boys in the team including Shaban, and I think they gained some invaluable experience,” said Mururi.

The tournament's patron Alexander Muteshi urged fans to turn out in large numbers and cheer their teams in the final.

"All teams displayed brilliant game in day one, I therefore urge fans to come up in large numbers and support their teams in the final," said Muteshi.

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