Gotv Shield Cup 2017 title up for grabs following the release of the fixture by Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
This year, the FKF has zoned the teams to ensure that there is lower coast in travelling
The introduction of two zones, A and B, represents the most significant change in the country’s top knockout competition with FKF also eager to help the smaller clubs cope with financial challenges.
According to the federation’s CEO Robert Muthomi, zoning will help clubs cut on travel costs as well as allow supporters an easy time in following their favourite clubs through the competition.
Notably, smaller clubs will begin their campaigns on home turf with the development also meant to give them a healthy launchpad to their seasons and hopefully upset the bigger, wealthier clubs.
“This time we’ve decided to give smaller teams a chance to play and progress as they are set to start their fixtures at home so that they can attract the bigger teams and local fan base,” Muthomi said during the 2017 fixtures launch at SuperSport Offices in Jamhuri Park, Nairobi.
Over the past decade, the GOtv Shield has been dominated by seasoned top-flight sides with two of the most successful clubs in the country – Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards – winning five of the past nine editions.
The other four titles have been shared by Sofapaka FC (two; 2010, 2014), Bandari FC and Tusker FC who are the titleholders.
“The biggest problem we’ve had in Kenyan football, especially with the teams in the lower tier is the issue of finances and we’ve tried to make it cheaper for them to participate,” Muthomi added.
Champions from the competition get a chance to represent the country at the CAF Confederation Cup the following year, the second club football competition in the continent and which Kenyan clubs have enjoyed little success.
FKF boss Nick Mwendwa challenged local clubs to post better results at the competition that saw Ulinzi Stars reach only the first round.
The last time a Kenyan side stirred hope was in 2011 when Sofapaka sailed to the third round of the competition.
“This tournament gives you a chance to go to the Confederations Cup which we have failed to go past the initial stages. It is one of the things we are trying to address but we have to work from the grassroots by giving chances to more teams,” Mwendwa underscored.
The tournament will kick off from 4th June to 20th October this year with a total of 64 teams on the run to wrestle the title from Tusker.
GOtv Shield Full Round of 64 draw
Nairobi Water vs Gor Mahia, Bigot vs Nakumatt, Wajiji FC vs Ulinzi Stars, Timsales vs Sony Sugar, Bondo United vs Nzoia Sugar, Eldoret Youth vs Nakuru All stars, Savanna Cement vs Chemelil Sugar, Transfork vs Western Stima, Bungoma Superstars vs Kariobangi Sharks, Nyakach United vs GFE 105, Poror Mote vs KCB, Rainforest vs Agro Chemical, Umoja vs Nairobi Stima, Naivas vs Kakamega Homeboys, Elim FC vs Vihiga United, Griffin vs Palos FC.
Uweza vs Bandari, Dream Academy vs Modern Coast, Balaji FC vs Coast Stima, Young Divers vs Thika United, Taqwa vs Nairobi City Stars, Silver bullet vs Sofapaka FC, Al-Aly vs Kenpoly, Karatina Homeboyz vs Administration Police, Peter Kenneth vs Wazito, Muranga All Stars vs Bidco United, Dero FC vs AFC Leopards, Tandaza FC vs Zetech University, Avantgarde FC vs Ushuru FC, SS Asad vs Tusker FC, Mwatate United vs Kenya Police, Butterfly FC vs Leysa.