32 teams started this journey; today only 4 are still in contention for a place on the podium when the finals are played on 16th November 2013. Not surprising at all is the fact that amongst them, past three winners (20 titles shared amongst them) will have a chance to go one better while for Sony Sugar Fc, it’s a roller coaster- battle for survival in the league and a battle for their first ever GOtv Shield title.
Gor Mahia v Sony Sugar Fc
Why you need to watch; No better set up would have been needed to pre-hype this tie as the perfect payback. Intertwined with recent history and an unsolved dispute one that threatens to crush the dream of Sony Sugar from staying up (in the league) and one that on the other hand (not so) puts to jeopardy the near realisation of a 13th KPL title for Gor Mahia, one would argue; for a Saturday- the perfect treat begins at 4PM at the MISC Kasarani.
Gor Mahia having scored 10 goals alone in this competition face a side that have got 2 goals (spread over two matches) and a 4-2 penalty win over Mathare United in the quarters.
You always expect Gor Mahia to in their current form to run over Sony Sugar Fc, but the Cup games always seem to have something different. Having seen off Tusker FC and Mathare in the two previous stages- Sony Sugar come to this level of the competition with a little bit of confidence. Gor Mahia seeing off Thika and Western Stima, and always finishing the business in record normal time, would be confident to see off this again- in the 90.
What it will mean; For Sony Sugar the feeling of winning this match might be compared to that of a drowning man- clutching on to just any straw- should they eventually lose the relegation battle. It’s not just a chance for the 2 Million; it would be history repeating itself for Sony Coach Zedekiah Otieno, second time in the final of this competition and first time as coach for Sony Sugar he’s been to a final. A loss (playing devil’s advocate) would be among the final falling nails of a sinking ship but which still buys the sailors some time to save it.
For Gor Mahia, a double within their reach would more than ever be so near with a win on Saturday. 3 finals in a raw a record they would share with the 1986, 1987, 1988 crop.
Players To Watch; Mr Cup Specialist Ivo Mapunda for me would be on player to watch- after his heroics last year in the same tourney denying Sofapaka another final win, the Tanzanian doesn’t seem to ever get tired of playing this cup- it’s not just the saves when the penalties come, he’s done well in this tourney keeping clean sheets against Thika and Western Stima.
His opposite number Mr Kasaya, an ex Gor Mahia player always seems to come to the party against Gor Mahia. The burning feeling of rage whenever he concedes against Gor Mahia should bolster his confidence while his heroics against Mathare saving Wendo’s (ex Tusker Fc) kick in the 4-2 penalty shootout- builds up for an exciting close should the match go to penalties.
Sofapaka v AFC Leopards
Why you need to Watch; What do you get when you have two teams each struggling to save it’s season, each with a new head coach(one on interim basis) struggling to impress and currently on good runs?; Perfect combination for an explosive Sunday afternoon of football. Both ex winners of this competition- a Final place for AFC leopards would set up another Nairobi Derby should Gor Mahia win the other tie or a repeat of the last two year’s finals should Sofapaka win and Gor Mahia win.
Having lost to the same team twice in the last two editions of the finals, Sofapaka would go all out seeking for a third bite of the cherry. AFC Leopards coach Nandwa’s last stint at a Premier league side ended in relegation- would this be the perfect stage to announce his return with a final berth and a possible Final win?
For all the investments these two sides have ploughed into their playing units, you would surely expect the fans not to demand for the best from the sides. Sofapaka ended the beautiful run of Finalys at the Quarter Final stages anchored on a Baraza strike- it will be exciting to see, where the inspiration will come from this time round having in mind they needed a Situma goal to knock out City Stars out of the competition in the second round.
AFC leopards on a 5 matches unbeaten run would give her fans another moment to savour as a 6th consecutive would not only be a record unbeaten game but also a chance to feature in the continentals- an experience they last enjoyed in 2010.
What it will mean;
Sofapaka- Third final in a row in the same competition should they win. A loss would mean they only have the KPL title to chase- and the only silverware in their cabinet; The Kenya Power Charity Cup.
AFC Leopards; A win would be everything the fans pray for at this moment, a loss would deflate their spirits but would mark the beginning of their rebuilding process after a long and torrid season.
Players to Watch;
Allan Wanga; wouldn’t find better words to use when introducing him but one thing for sure- he seems to be getting his grove back. Soafapaka are a side that appear sound defensively and AFC leopards should depend on him to unlock it.
John Baraza- Seems to be the saviour right now for Sofapaka. Called upon to score when Sofapaka faced Finlays, will he be the one to end this good AFC Leopards run?
Gor Mahia v Sony- Saturday 19th October 2013, MISC Kasarani. 4PM
Sofapaka v AFC Leopards- Sunday 20th October 2013, MISC Kasarani. 4PM