FKF Cup: AFC Leopards out to complete double against Kenya Police to keep trophy dream alive

FKF Cup: AFC Leopards out to complete double against Kenya Police to keep trophy dream alive

Joel Omotto 07:00 - 26.05.2024

AFC Leopards and Kenya Police faceoff for the second time in a week with Ingwe seeking back-to-back wins over the law enforcers to sail through to the FKF Cup final.

AFC Leopards and Kenya Police are both left with one chance of securing a trophy this season and this will come in the form of the FKF Cup.

However, one of them will see their dreams go up in smoke on Sunday afternoon after their FKF Cup semi-final at the Police Sacco grounds.

Both teams had a difficult start to the season before they turned it around in 2024, with Leopards moving from the relegation zone to sixth on the FKF Premier League table, while Police, now under a third coach this campaign, moved from midtable to being the only side challenging Gor Mahia for the title.

It would have been hard to imagine either Police or Leopards in a cup semi-final at the end of last year but the two have been among the most improved sides since the turn of the year and the result is a chance to win a trophy and secure continental football as Kenya’s representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup.

A lot therefore is at stake in Sunday’s semi-final where the winner will face either KCB or Kariobangi Sharks, who clash in the other last four matchup, at the same venue at midday.

Leopards have the bragging rights over Police this season, having secured a 2-2 draw in September, before ending the law enforcers’ 16-match unbeaten run with a 1-0 victory courtesy of Victor Omune’s strike, on May 15.

However, it is a cup game where a different strategy will be employed by the opposing coaches, Leopards’ Tomas Trucha and Police’s Salim Babu.

Goalkeepers will play a crucial role in the tie as it could be won by just one goal given how defensively solid the two sides have been this season, or through post-match penalties.

Any mistake could hand either side the advantage, hence the need for the custodians to produce their ‘A’ games.

Kenya Police goalkeeper Patrick Matsai, a former Leopards man, and his Ingwe counterpart Levis Opiyo have been in the spotlight in recent weeks over some costly mistakes.

Matasi was at fault for the goal scored by Omune during the two sides’ recent meeting before another costly error against Tusker in the following match while Opiyo’s mistake cost Leopards the Mashemeji derby last month.

Opiyo redeemed himself with a string of fine saves against Police while Matasi will need to do the same starting with Sunday’s clash.

However, both keepers might not even be in goal given Trucha has given Humphrey Katasi opportunities in cup games while Babu has stayed true to Matasi.

A place in the final will represent a great step for both teams, Leopards falling at this stage last season, while Police were eliminated at the Round of 16.

Leopards last won a trophy in 2017, when they claimed this very competition, while Police are searching for their maiden cup since their promotion to the top flight in 2021.

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