22 April 2019

Kenya: Bandari, Sharks the Favourites to Reach Shield Knock-Out Final

Defending champions Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya Commercial Bank and Bandari as well as FKF Division One Zone A side SS Assad are assured of at least Sh500,000 each for making it to the SportPesa Shield semi-finals.

The dream of every team registering in a knockout competition is to reach the money stages and this was the joy expressed by the four clubs after reserving tickets in the last four over the weekend.

The semi-final matches look intriguing. Bandari face Msambweni-based SS Assad in an all-coast duel while Nairobi sides Sharks and KCB clash on May 12.

Assad saw off Congo Boys 3-1 in while Bandari -- who won the cup in 2014, were 4-1 victors over Western Stima on Saturday.

Sharks knocked out unfancied Bungoma SuperStars 4-2 on post-match penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time as KCB eliminated second tier outfit Bidco United 4-1 on Sunday in Machakos.

The winner of this cup will be decided on June 1 and will take home Sh2 million in prize money and earns the prestigious ticket of flying the country's flag in the Confederation Cup next season.

Runners up meanwhile pocket Sh1 million while third-placed finishers will walk away with Sh750,000 courtesy of betting firm SportPesa who signed a three-year deal with FKF for the competition in April last year to a tune of Sh69 million (Sh23 per annum).

"We are more relaxed heading into the semi-final," said Sharks coach William Muluya, 32.

"You rather face the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis than someone unknown like the case of Bungoma SuperStars who really gave us a run for our money," he added as he outlined their target of retaining the cup for the second year running.

"I believe we can only stop in the final and actually go all the way to win it," said Muluya who led the team to their maiden continental football appearance last year bowing out at the first round to Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko.

KCB has a single win and draw in the last four matches against Sharks in all competitions.

"We've achieved our target of getting into the semis but why not go beyond it and get into the final?" posed KCB coach Frank Ouna whose charges fell 5-2 to Sharks in the third-place play-off tie on October 20, 2016

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