In their first ever appearance at the annual SportPesa Cup, 2018, in Nakuru, Kenya, Kariobangi Sharks fell at the very first hurdle. The team took lessons from their fall and came well equipped in the second, and they are in line for their first trophy in the tournament, after securing a slot in the 2019 final.
Sharks beat Mbao FC 6 – 5 on post match penalties in the second semi final to set up a final with another Kenyan Premier League side, Bandari FC and ahead of the clash on Sunday, the team, which has seen a lot of success in the past few months, has eyes fixed on the regional title. Coach William Muluya hopes to see his side carry the same belief shown against Mbao FC to the final.
While Mbao, who play in the Tanzanian top flight, have not enjoyed as much success as Sharks in recent times, they gave a good account of themselves, pushing the game to the spot kicks, just like they did with Gor Mahia in the quarters.
“We had the belief but also God was on our side, because we lost the first penalty. Now we can only think about the final on Sunday. Both finalists are from the Kenyan Premier League and playing away from home, we’d both like to bring our ‘A’ game here so I expect the best from the clash.
“A number of things didn’t work out like we had planned for in the semi final but we hope to carry the day on Sunday,” he said after the game.
Mwendwa the MOTM
Sharks winger Harrison Mwendwa was picked the Man of the Match and just like his coach, he admitted that not much went as per their plan in the semi, but assured of a better show in the final.
“We didn’t expect it to go all the way to the penalties. We had planned well for the game but it was a bit hard because Mbao also executed their strategy well. Nonetheless, we are excited to be heading to the final and we expect an entertaining game against Bandari,” Mwendwa said.
Trophy laden era
This will be the second time the SportPesa Cup final is contested by all Kenyan sides. In the inaugural edition, 2017, Gor Mahia faced off with AFC Leopards in Dar and Gor carried the day.
Sharks have recently won the SportPesa Shield, which gave them the chance to participate in the CAF Confederations Cup. They followed that up by winning the KPL Super Cup and a third triumph in four months is what they will be gunning for going to this game.
Gor Mahia also won the second edition after seeing off Simba SC in Nakuru.