Bandari FC and Kariobangi Sharks yesterday made it an all-Kenyan final of the eight-team SportPesa Cup in Dar es Salaam.
Bandari’s victory over Simba Sports Club was particularly inspiring given the Tanzanian club’s pedigree, and especially considering that Simba are featuring in the group stage of the lucrative CAF Champions League.
Friday’s victories also come as good relief after the elimination of Kenyan giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards by Tanzania’s Mbao FC and Simba SC in this annual competition.
Coming hot on the heels of Gor Mahia’s qualification for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup, the victories in Dar by Bandari and Sharks also come as a major boost for Kenyan club football. They demonstrate the results of good investment in the game, which both clubs have done, with Bandari having finished second in the SportPesa Premier League last year and Sharks clinching the SportPesa Shield competition.
Mid this year, Harambee Stars will feature in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt for the first time since 2004, and the success of our clubs forms a strong foundation for the national team’s progress.
Our clubs should build on this success to ensure the development of Kenyan football is anchored on solid foundations.
And with the winner of the SportPesa Cup facing English Premier League side Everton in a one-off friendly later in the year, the success in Dar means Kenyan football will continue its romance with the best of global football. That should be an inspiration for all local clubs.
Well done Bandari and Sharks. They have made all of us proud and shown Kenya has what it takes to compete out there.
May the best team win tomorrow as, after all, the cup is coming back home!