Ugandan coaches lead hunt for GOtv Shield honors

By alex wafula
Jul 21, 2017
  • Paul Nkata hopes to make history as the first coach to win the title twice consecutively with two different teams. (SNA. File Photo)

  • Confident Sam Ssimbwa will face Premier League debutants Kariobangi Sharks in a tricky match. (SNA. File Photo)

  • Bandari and Sofapaka are one of the two sides being handled by Ugandan coaches. (SNA. File Photo)

  • George Nsimbe acknowledged Cup games were very tricky and does not want his charges to step off the gas pedal despite playing against a lower division team. (SNA. File Photo)

Ugandan coaches Paul Nkata (Bandari), George Nsimbe (Tusker) and Sam Ssimbwa (Sofapaka) will be leading the hunt for GOtv Shield quarter finals slots when the Round of 16 matches are played this weekend.

Of the three, Nkata is looking to make history as the first coach to win the title twice consecutively with two different teams.

Nkata won it last year with Tusker FC. He will be leading Bandari against fellow Premier League opposition Nakumatt FC on Saturday in Mombasa, confident of progressing.

Bandari head into the match beaming with confidence after knocking out 10-time champions Gor Mahia in the second round on post-match penalties.

Nkata is looking for that same inspiration as they host Nakumatt.

This will be a repeat of the 2015 final when the Mombasa-based club beat the league new boys 4-1 at the Nyayo Stadium to lift the title.

“It is a different match and I expect it to be tough. We can’t rely on history. We take this match very seriously and our target remains to progress to the next round. I can’t say much about winning the title again. It will be an honor, but at the moment the focus is on the next match,” Nkata said.

Nkata’s charges lost their last match 1-0 to AFC Leopards in a league fixture, but does not expect the tears from that loss to roll over to the cup game.

Advantage, Bandari

Bandari and Nakumatt have already met this season with Nkata coming off a 1-0 winner in Mombasa in March.

Nakumatt hope to reach the quarter finals for only the second time in their history but they have to navigate past Ulinzi Stars.

“It is a different tournament all together and our focus is to ensure we do well. It is a tough game but we have a chance here to fight for a title and we will push and do our best,” Anthony Mwangi, the Nakumatt FC coach noted.

Meanwhile, defending champions Tusker, under the tutelage of another Ugandan George Nsimbe will be at home in Kinoru facing against fourth tier side Butterfly FC.

Nsimbe cautioned his side not to be complacent against Butterfly despite their pedigree. With back to back losses in the league, Tusker are angling for a win to restore their confidence.

They warmed up for the match with a 3-0 friendly match win over Ushuru and Nsimbe notes some new optimism in his side’s spirit ahead of the game.

“Cup games are very tricky and we can’t really afford to step down because we are playing against a lower opponent. I intend to field a strong squad because we can’t take chances,” Nsimbe noted.

The brewers are yet to lose a single match played at the Kinoru Stadium and Nsimbe expects this tradition to continue.

Skipper James Situma has also urged his teammates to avoid complacency saying they cannot avoid to drop off the race for the title.

At the Nyayo Stadium, 2014 champions Sofapaka will face a potential banana skin in Kariobangi Sharks, a team that has proved to be tough over the past few months.

Kariobangi Sharks reached the quarter finals last season while Sofapaka chose not to participate in the tourney as they concentrated on their fight for survival. This season, new boss Ssimbwa is hopeful of bagging silverware.

“I am a winner and when I came here, I came to win trophies. This is a tournament we are taking seriously and it has been evident with how we have played the other matches. We can’t underrate anyone and we will give our best,” Ssimbwa noted.

All Stars dimmed

Meanwhile, the Kenyan Premier League all-star team will play their final friendly match in Spain on Saturday when they take on Segunda B side Sevilla Atletico in Malaga.

The Segunda B side is the reserve team of La Liga side Sevilla CF. The all-star team lost 4-0 to another Segunda B side, Cordoba FC on Wednesday night.

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi is handling the side alongside Under-20 counterpart John Kamau. Okumbi, speaking to Sports News Arena from Spain admitted his team could not match the speed and rhythm of the Spanish boys.

He is however hopeful they will mount a better performance against Sevilla on Saturday.

“It was a tough learning point but I am hoping we learn and improve in the next game. We couldn’t keep up with the speed and tempo because back in Kenya we have not been used to playing swiftly and distributing the ball fast,” Okumbi noted.

Weekend GOtv Shield fixtures (Kick off 3 p.m. unless specified)

Saturday: Bandari v Nakumatt (Mbaraki Complex), SoNy Sugar v Nzoia Sugar (Awendo), Eldoret Youth v Savannah (2 p.m.), GFE 105 v Wazito FC (Kipchoge Keino Stadium Eldoret 4 p.m.), Tusker FC v Butterfly FC (Kinoru Stadium).

Sunday: Kakamega Homeboyz v Vihiga United (Mumias), Sofapaka v Kariobangi Sharks (Nyayo Stadium).