NAKURU, Kenya- Having seen their dreams of winning the 2018 SportPesa Super Cup and clinching the ticket to play Everton FC at Goodison Park ended at the penultimate stage, Singida United FC and Kakamega Homeboyz FC are keen on one last hurrah on Sunday.
The losing semi finalists will take on to the pitch at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru from 12pm local time (+3GMT) for the bronze medal match where the victor will earn USD7500 (KSh750,000) and the side that ends the invitational regional tournament fourth pocketing USD5000 (KSh500,000).
Speaking on Saturday in Nakuru, Homeboyz Ugandan head coach, Paul Nkata, said winning the third-place playoff would give his team the momentum ahead of the second leg of the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) where they are aiming to better their fifth finish from last season.
The Kakamega-based Super Cup debutants stunned Tanzania giants Yanga SC 3-1 in the quarters before facing the might of the conquered sides’ arch-rivals and Vodacom Premier League (VPL) winners Simba SC where after a keenly-contested 0-0 draw in the semis, saw their brave run ended 4-5 on post-match penalties in the last four.
“What I can say is in the first game, we were taken as underdogs and after winning it, they boys gained confidence. They are more experienced than us but let’s note, we did not lose.
“According to the FIFA rules we were eliminated by penalties and even is they (Simba) are taller than we had a strategy of overcoming them but it was not to be,” the Ugandan tactician observed.
Nkata, the 2016 SPL and domestic cup double winning coach with Tusker FC maintained his side would have performed better at their first showing at the Super Cup had he been in charge for longer having recently replaced Mike Mururi as Homeboyz boss.
“If I had this team six months ago, the performance would have been better, I have only been here for a month and we can get better. Finishing third here would be a good way to prove that,” the coach who left SPL side Bandari FC at the end of last season charged.
His captain, Estone Esiye, was also in bullish mood, saying their meeting with Singida will not be a dead rubber and their maiden Super Cup experience had given them belief they can mount a stern challenge to the best teams in the region.
Singida are coming to the game with two of their players doubtful for the match but according to their captain, Deus Kaseke, they are also pumped up to take the bronze home.
“We have forgotten that match because the aim we had did not come to pass. We will play to finish better than last year in this tournament.
“When people do not expect much from you, you should then surprise them. Our coach has worked hard to make us a threat and we are pleased with that,” the midfielder asserted.
Singida were set the mammoth task of toppling two Kenyan giants in their second Super Cup campaign and after stunning 2017 domestic cup holders, AFC Leopards SC 4-2 on penalties in the last eight, found the rock that is holders Gor Mahia FC immovable in their 0-2 defeat in the semis.
Kaseke and his coach Hemed Suleiman paid homage to their Sunday opponents Homeboyz after the SPL side rattled the might of Dar giants Yanga and Simba before bowing out of the competition.
“Kakamega have a good team and we have a good team as well and it will be a keen battle,” Kaseke predicted.
“We are in good shape and health. Kakamega are good team, reaching the semis after eliminating Yanga and losing to Simba on penalties, we need to respect them.
“They are a team with a good strategy but our aim is to do better than last year and we are hopeful of a good result,” Suleiman who is in charge of the team that finished fifth in their debut VPL season in Tanzania added.
The Singida camp is not fazed by their injury scare as they hope to improve on their Super Cup performance from last year where they crashed out in the quarters to Leopards.
“We have two or three injuries and we will access the situation later today (Saturday) to get a good picture of the starting line-up
“I’m still new in the team and I’m trying to build a side that will do well in future tournaments. We have good players here and with time, they will be among the best,” Suleiman told.
The Gor versus Simba final will kick-off at the same venue at 3pm.