By Steve Ayoo (@Steifmaster88)
AFC Leopards’ intentions to defend the FKF Shield title were halted by three-time winners Sofapaka who claimed a 1-0 win in their semi-final clash to book Kariobangi Sharks in next month’s final showpiece.
Leopards, winners over Sharks in the 2017 final, were gunning for a second straight final appearance but a solitary goal from Ellie Asieche extinguished those hopes.
With Sharks confirming a second straight final appearance with a resounding 4-1 win over Ulinzi Stars earlier on at the Kasarani Stadium, the ball was on Leopards’ court if a repeat of the past year’s final was to be achieved.
However, it was John Baraza’s men who got the job done. Asieche, a second half substitute, found the back of Ezekiel Owade’s goal with just 12 minutes of play left.
Leopards created a host of chances with Alex Orotomal coming closest but his effort was cleared off the line just moments after Asieche’s goal.
Sofapaka managed to see off the rest of the match as they reached their sixth final. Their previous five produced three wins and two defeats, both at the hands of record winners Gor Mahia.
This will be their first final since a 2-1 victory over Posta Rangers handed them their third title back in 2014. They will be facing a Sharks side who are still searching for their first topflight title, with the biggest price for the winners being a chance to represent Kenya in the 2019 Caf Confederation Cup.