It’s now a given that Everton will be the first English Premier League side to tour Kenya in recent times..
That visit to Nairobi should happen later this year as announced by giant gaming firm SportPesa earlier this week but then, coach Marcos Silva and his charges have to wait until this evening to find out their opponents in Nairobi.
This historic privilege will be awarded either to Bandari or Kariobangi Sharks, with the specifics set to be determined when these clubs clash in the SportPesa Cup final at the National Stadium on Sunday evening.
The task of masterminding a victory in this game will fall on the shoulders of arguably two of Kenya’s most promising coaches in the frame of Bernard Mwalala and William Muluya.
“I have not thought about facing Everton yet because we have a very tough final to concentrate on,” the youthful Muluya told journalists, moments after his team had laboured to defeat hosts Mbao FC in the semis.
Besides the dramatic 6-5 penalty triumph in the semis, Sharks also stamped its authority in this tournament by defeating record Tanzania champions and league leaders Yanga 3-2 in the quarters finals.
Duke Abuya was at the centre of this result, scoring twice and was involved in the third goal.
The youngster was, however, substituted in the first half against Mbao with what seemed like a calf injury and Muluya – who honed his coaching skills at Mathare United – told Nation Sport on Saturday that his number 10 will be assessed ahead of the final.
Harrison Mwendwa, Patillah Omotto, last seasons’ KPL top scorer Eric Kapaito and lanky forward George Abege are some of the Sharks players to watch out for.
Meanwhile, Bandari’s Mwalala says there is no time to rest, even after he masterminded a historic 2-1 defeat over Tanzanian bigwigs Simba in the semis, plus another narrow 1-0 triumph over Singida United in the quarters.
“Any final is delicately poised and Sharks recently won one (SportPesa Shield), so we have to prepare very well for them,” explained the former Harambee Stars striker.
Mwalala will look to Moses Mudavadi, semi-final hero William Wadri, Harambee Stars keeper Farouk Shikalo and the ever-green Felly Mulumba to steer his side against Sharks.
This will be the third time in as many times a Kenyan team is winning this tournament. Gor Mahia have won the last two editions of this tournament and have gone on to face – and lose – to Everton on both occasions.
A clash between Tanzanian sides Simba and Mbao will curtain raise the final, whilst also determining which team finishes third in this eight-team tournament.
The winning team will pocket Sh3 million, with second and third-placed sides bagging Sh2 million and Sh1 million respectively.