Kenya: Betway Cup - Baraza's Equity Bank FC Dare to Dream

In 2009, Sofapaka stunned the Kenyan football scene by winning the national title in their maiden season.

In that squad was Kenya international John Baraza who also scooped the Player of the Year Award that season.

Baraza went on to win the 2014 GOtv Shield with Sofapaka as captain, hitting Posta Rangers 2-1 in the final at Afraha Stadium.

Fast forward to 2021, Baraza is now the coach of Division One side, Equity Bank FC, and on the brink of another maiden win.

The little known bankers stunned defending Betway Cup champions Bandari 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the Cup on Wednesday at Ruaraka.

Baraza will be looking to guide the bankers one step closer to an unlikely glory when they take on record 10-time champions AFC Leopards at Utalii grounds from 1pm.

In the second semi-finals at the same venue from 3pm, local giants Gor Mahia will face impressive newbies Bidco United. K'Ogalo will be looking to end a nine-year Cup drought.

The winner of the tournament will earn Sh2 million in prize money and the right to represent Kenya in the Confederation Cup next season.

Baraza, who has been at the helm of Equity since March after being sacked unceremoniously by Sofapaka in December, just after three rounds of Premier League action, is optimistic that his charges will deliver the Cup.

With a young squad averaging 22 years, Baraza is plotting AFC Leopards' downfall and agrees it is a David versus Goliath battle. Everyone knows how that Bible story went.

"After beating Bandari in the quarters everything is possible in this competition. I can't reveal how I will beat Leopards tactically but let it be known it won't be an easy match."

Equity sit in position two in the third tier FKF Division Two Zone A log on 26 points from 12 matches.

"Such games pitting us against Leopards and big teams give my players a lot of motivation to excel.

"I believe in two or three seasons, we can be in the top flight league but that depends on hard work," added the 47-year-old tactician.

Leopards, who knocked out Tusker in the quarter-finals courtesy of Isaac Kipyegon's penalty, are also keen to enter the continental scene after a five-year absence.

Ingwe last won the trophy in 2017, downing Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 in the final at Moi International Sport Centre, Kasarani.

For K'Ogalo, winning the Betway Cup will give them more confidence after a difficult start to the season.

The record19-time league champions last won the domestic Cup competition in 2012.

Gor's Portuguese coach Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto's charges have won nine matches in all competitions they have featured in since the league resumed on May 14 after two months of suspended action due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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