Top predators Leopards and Sharks face-off in GOtv Shield final

League debutants Kariobangi Sharks will Friday afternoon face AFC Leopards in the final of the GOtv Shield at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani from 3pm.  

Sharks are appearing in the final of this tournament for the first time in their history and have never featured in continental football.

Ingwe on the other hand will be looking to get back to continental action after missing out since 2014.  

Sharks and Leopards have met twice already in the league this season, their first leg meeting ending 2-0 in favour of the league debutants, and the two battling to a barren draw in their second leg played early this month. 

The deadly water predators sit six points above Ingwe in the league standings.

Winners of the Shield will earn the right to represent Kenya in next year’s Caf Confederation Cup, plus walk away with Sh2 million in prize money.

The match will carry special meaning to Sharks coach William Muluya who was dismissed as just another newcomer at the beginning of the season, but has developed the Kariobangi outfit into a formidable side capable of competing and defeating the very best in the SportPesa Premier League. 

Muluya has on his side red-hot striker Masoud Juma, who has been scoring at will in the last three months, and is no doubt a strong contender for the 2017 league Golden Boot.  

He told Nation Sport that although he was dealing with fatigue within his squad, they were determined to give a good account of themselves in the final.

“With proper planning there is nothing that is impossible. Proper preparation is key for any team taking part in any competition, and the same applies in Caf competitions,” said Muluya.

“We have a good squad, and that is why we have been able to reach where we are in the league. The players themselves want to go out there and market themselves so the motivation to win on Friday is coming from many places,” he said. 

BOASTS VAST EXPERIENCE

His opposite number, Robert Matano, boasts vast experience having handled teams in this competition before, and he said that he was well prepared to deal with any Shark attack.  

“We have never approached any match with the intention of losing. Nobody does that. We are going to try and win the match. If we play well we shall do that so that is where our focus is,” he said.  

Matano will have to do without the services of defender Robinson Kamura who has been ruled out for four weeks with a knee injury. His position is likely to be taken by skipper Duncan Otieno who returned last week after a lengthy lay-off. To get to this stage, Ingwe eliminated lower tier teams Dero FC (15-1), Nairobi Stima (2-0), Bidco United (2-1) and Wazito (7-1) and Vihiga United (1-0).while Sharks dispatched Bungoma Superstars, Kenpoly, Sofapaka, Eldoret Youth and Sony Sugar.  

The Shield final will be preceded by the third place play-offs pitting National Super League side Vihiga United against Premiership outfit Sony Sugar.

Gate charges will be Sh300 for the VIP area and Sh200 for the terraces.

FIXTURES

12pm Sony Sugar v Vihiga United

3pm AFC Leopards v Kariobangi Sharks

Juma is undoubtedly a good finisher.

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