Kenyan teams clash in Tusker semi-final
The first semi-final match between Tusker FC and Sofapaka both from Kenya kicks off today at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The Kenya premier league champions Sofapaka, who finished with flying colours in the Group A preliminaries, will be tested to the limits by the breweries side, a team that won only one match against Mafunzo to cruise into the semi-final berth.
The match brings together teams who know each other with players’ familiarity to count for the outcome. This is their first meeting outside their Nairobi base, far from their home fans.
Coaches from both teams have vowed to cross the semi-final barrier to storm into Sunday’s final.
James Nandwa of Tusker and Sofapaka’s Robert Matano have each claimed a place in the final after crossing today’s hurdle.
The semi-final stage is highly prompting taking into consideration the hefty lucrative prize package set aside by the tournament organisers.
A total of 70m/- has been spared for the final’s prize with the winners bagging 40m/-, and the balance to the losers.
Unlike the preliminary stages where team would end their matches in draws, this is the knockout stage where teams will be separated by a win.
However, the losing semi-finalists have another opportunity to fight for the third place classification match whose prize package is 20m/-, quite a sum to console after two weeks of hectic soccer business.
The other semi-final is lined up for tomorrow between city rivals Simba and Young Africans at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Possibly this is a much awaited meet between fans of either side that gets underway barely 54 days after their previous meeting at the same venue during Mainland premiership series.
The semi-final pairing still has opened a room for one of the Kenyan teams to win the Tusker Challenge Cup for the first time since the tournament was inaugurated in 2002.
It’s either Simba or Yanga who have been entrusted to keep the tradition of the title to stay inside the country’s territorial borders.
Sofapaka or Tusker will be killing the jinx should either of the two teams beat a Tanzanian side on Sunday.
Six teams were lined up for the tournament with Morogoro’s Mtibwa Sugar and Zanzibar’s Mafunzo signing the dispatch book early at the group stage matches.