Ulinzi Stars' trophy cabinet is not one to draw envy. In its 21-year existence, the club, formed in 1995 when several military sides were combined, have won only five domestic titles despite being one of Kenya's most stable and financially able clubs.
Four of the five have been the big one: the Kenyan Premier League title which they won for three consecutive seasons in 2003, 2004 and 2005 as well as in 2010. The one title came in the form of the 2011 Top 8 Cup where they were the inaugural winners.
Missing in the this list is the title of a competition which has been rebranded far too many times for most remember. Currently, it's called the GOtv Shield competition, Kenya's top knockout tournament.
The closest the Soldiers came to winning this title was in the year they came to existence: 1995 but they lost 2-1 to Rivatex in the final. Since then, it's all been one heartache after another.
They were eliminated by Mathare United in the third round in 2013, lost to Tusker in the fourth round in 2014 and were last year beaten by Bandari in the quarters. This year, they have kept the trend of moving one step forward by reaching the semis following a penalty shootout win over Nzoia United in the last 8.
Sharp Sharks wait
Lying in wait for the Soldiers is National Super League (NSL) side Kariobangi Sharks, a team riding high on confidence having not lost a match since April 27, some 19 matches ago. Sharks also go into this match holding the reputation of having knocked out defending champions Bandari who they beat 5-4 post-match penalties in the quarters.
This could be a blockbuster clash. Ulinzi will feel they have the edge given that they will be playing in front of their home crowd, that they are the favorites and also for the fact that they want to win a silverware for their ailing head coach Robert Matano.
Sharks of course will love nothing more than to upset the odds. These two sides have never met at any level which makes this an intriguing clash. The Soldiers can be ruthless at times but such are far and few. Sharks have been sharp in front of goal and they will cause the Ulinzi backline many problems.
Ulinzi have soaked in a goal in each of their last two league matches, losing both 1-0 while Sharks have kept a clean sheet in their last two, winning 3-0 and 2-0. Both teams should be able to score in this match though. In fact, a 2-2 draw at full time is likely to send this epic clash to a penalty shootout.
Also Read: Betting Tips: Tusker FC vs KCB
Ulinzi Stars (KPL) - D D W L L
Kariobangi Sharks (NSL)- W D W W W
The two teams have never met
Correct Score Prediction: 2-2 at FT
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