Top 8 Final
Ulinzi Stars Vs Western Stima Today 3pm
Nyayo National Stadium
My Prediction: Ulinzi Stars 2 – 1 Stima
I have been waiting for this Top 8 final since the tournament began way back in March. Many people had predicted that Gor and Sofapaka would be the teams to made it to the final, but nothing in football is predictable any more – except the fact that Lionel Messi will give any team misery on any given day. Ulinzi and Stima are worthy finalists considering how they got here, particulary Stima. While Ulinzi had to get past Karuturi Sport – an easy feat for Mike Barasa – and then that unforgettable tie against Gor Mahia (sadly unforgettable for the wrong reasons); Stima had an opener against Tusker that everyone, including me, had given to the brewers. A 1 – 0 victory there saw them set up a clash with Sofapaka; that ended 3 – 3 on aggregate after two legs, but with Stima getting two during their “away” fixture. Earlier in the week during a discussion on this weeks Simba Super Soccer (on Supersport 9) Sports editor Robin Toskin called Stima underdogs in this final. I objected and said they were underdogs when they met Tusker, underdogs when they face Sofapaka but they are worthy opponents for Ulinzi now. However; and that is a big however; Ulinzi Stars have been playing a decent game of football of late and this being striker Mike Barasa’s last match with them, he will want to end it on a high. The scoring machine has got to show Ulinzi what they will be missing; and let AFC Leopards see what they are securing. Coach Henry Omino vs coach Benjamin Nyangweso (Mmmh I just realised that I don’t know what Nyangweso’s military rank is). Two worthy gentlemen, two great sides, tough call but I believe the spirit of military will prevail.
The LG Cup
Harambee Stars Vs The Nile Crocodiles aka Sudan Today 6pm
Nyayo National Stadium
My Prediction: Harambee Stars 2 – 1 The Nile Crocodiles
Football fans in Kenya will get a rare chance to see Harambee Stars in action at home. The AFCON qualifiers only allow for three home games a year; and since we rarely host friendlies, I just need to say thank you to LG for making this one happen. I was looking forward to seeing how Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno would organise this game with local talent only; infact I thought it would have been a good opportunity to see more local players break into the national team. But clearly captain Dennis Oliech and Inter Milan midfielder Macdonald Mariga felt the hype around this game and couldn’t imagine not being a part of it. Good for you but don’t be a Divo from the start. The two of you, and Victor Mugabe of course, owe Kenyans the chance to see you in action on local soil, so next time just be in the team from the word go. That said: I am looking forward to a great side winning the first ever LG Cup in Kenya. Sudan are no mean feat and will be looking to revenge the 1 – 0 Kenya victory during the Nile Basin tournament earlier this year. Kenya did win courtesy of a penalty, so that score-line could have gone either way. Both teams will be looking for a convincing victory and I believe home support will favour the Stars.