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February 23, 2019

Sharks eye revenge against Ulinzi in Shield semis

Kariobangi Sharks Harrison Mwendwa vies for the ball with Zoo Kericho’s Dominic Ouma / OLIVER MORGAN
Kariobangi Sharks Harrison Mwendwa vies for the ball with Zoo Kericho’s Dominic Ouma / OLIVER MORGAN

The reward for Kariobangi Sharks knocking out pre-tournament favourites Gor Mahia is a clash against Ulinzi Stars in the last four of the SportPesa Shield.

Sharks, who have hit a purple touch in the last fortnight after a torrid run of results in the league, dominated the lethargic record cup winners en-route to winning 4-2 on post match penalties—sealing a fourth successive semi-final appearance. 

William Muluya’s charges will be hoping to go one better and clinch a spot in their first ever major final.

Standing in their way are former champions Ulinzi, who knocked them out at the same stage in 2016. 

The soldiers strolled to a 4-1 victory over fourth tier outfit Riverplate and will be confident of securing another final berth.

Long serving utility player Eric Juma revealed they were unfazed by the prospects of taking on a side that dished out one of their most humiliating results ever.

“It was a chastening experience for us and we are better off for it. I believe we learnt a lot from such losses and we will be ready this time round,” said Juma, who was in the starting eleven for the historic triumph over Gor — the first time Sharks outsmarted the KPL champions after four competitive losses, all of them in the league.

“There is no team we would have preferred to meet over another because at this stage of a knockout competition, anyone can beat anyone.”

Reigning champions AFC Leopards have a fight at their hands as they look to retain the title after being drawn against another former winner Sofapaka. AFCLeopards, who will be aiming for their third tournament victory in six years, easily saw off National Super League side, Police FC 4-1 to remain on course to pick their first trophy under Argentine Rodolfo Zapata.

Batoto Ba Mungu on the contrary had to work their socks off to overcome 2016 champions Tusker, coached by  Robert Matano, the man who led them to victory in the same tourney almost a decade ago.

The come from behind 2-1 victory was a ‘coming of age’ celebration for Sofapaka legend John Baraza, who was part of their victorious side under Matano back in 2009.

The eventual winner will have a stab at continental glory later this year when the 2019 Caf confederations Cup gets underway in the new African football calendar.

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