Kenya: Gor Mahia, Tusker FC in Mozzartbet FKF Cup Action in Hot, Humid Ukunda

25 February 2024

Ukunda — Record FKF Premier League champions Gor Mahia and last year's finalists Tusker FC will be in Mozzartbet FKF Cup action at the Ukunda Showground on Sunday afternoon, looking to start off their campaign on a high.

The two sides play in a double header, Tusker starting off against Bumbani Stars FC in a midday kick off while K'Ogalo face local side Denmak FC in the 3pm kick off.

While Tusker arrived in Ukunda on Friday evening, Gor arrived a day later and had a light session at the match venue Saturday.

Gor Mahia head coach Jonathan McKinstry has warned his side not to take the game easily despite playing against a lower tier side, giving an example of Bandari FC who were knocked out by Division Two side Bungoma Stars.

"We know it is not going to be an easy match. We saw Bandari get knocked out by a lower league side and this will happen if we are not serious and look at it as a break," McKinstry warned his side.

He adds; "We know it is not going to be easy. The humidity and temperatures are high and it will be tough to manage those conditions but we are confident because we have been in good form in the league and the players have been in good form as well."

Gor switched their training ground to the Stima Club this week, to mirror the conditions of the Ukunda Showground pitch which is hugely sandy with less grass cover, and McKinstry said this will help them adapt on game day.

Despite looking all set to clinch the FKF Premier League with an eight-point buffer on top of the standings, McKinstry said they are treating the Cup with equal seriousness as it also gives them an avenue to play Continental football.

"The Cup is important for us and we want to go far. It is five games to a trophy and a large prize as well as Continental qualification," noted the coach.

Meanwhile, McKinstry has hinted he might rotate his squad, to give some players with less minutes under their boots an opportunity and he believes they will give a good account of themselves.

In the early kick off, Tusker, who lost last season's final to Kakamega Homeboyz will take on Kwale regional side Bumbani FC.

Just like Gor, the brewers are treating the game seriously and will expectedly field a strong side, having travelled with more or less the squad that faced off with KCB in the Premier League last weekend.

Ibrahim Joshua and Levin Joseph are both injured and will miss the match.

Winger Eric Zakayo says the team is taking the match seriously.

"In football, there is no small or big opponent. Every opponent is worthy and for us we are taking every game seriously, whether or not we have knowledge of the opponent. We are ready to face them and fight for a win because that is the most important thing," Zakayo says.

He notes that the team has prepared well, and are focused on getting the job done especially with confidence picked from back to back wins in the Premier League.

He says they cannot afford to snooze in the Cup.

"This is a knockout game and every match is a final. If you lose you are out. We can't afford to go light," Zakayo says.

Sunday FKF Cup fixtures:

PAC University vs AFC Leopards (Police Sacco Stadium, 3:15 pm)

Zetech Titans vs Mara Sugar (Police Sacco Stadium, 12 noon)

Karatina Homeboyz vs Bidco United (Karatina Stadium, 3 pm)

MOFA vs KCB (MOFA Complex, 1 pm)

Solian City vs Kakamega Homeboyz (Solian Girls High School, El Dama Ravine, 1 pm)

Bumbani Stars vs Tusker (Ukunda Showground, 12 noon)

Shalimar vs Shabana (Longonot Horticulture Grounds, 3 pm)

Al Azizia vs Mombasa Stars (Kinoru Stadium, 3 pm)

Denmark vs Gor Mahia (Ukunda Showground, 3:15 pm)

Harvest of Hope Africa vs Ulinzi Stars (Mumias Sports Complex, 1 pm)

Nyamira Super Eagles vs Kariobangi Sharks (Cardinal Otunga High School, 1 pm)

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