Sharks out to swim in deep football waters, but have they come of age?


Sharks out to swim in deep football waters, but have they come of age?
(FILE)Kariobangi Sharks FC players celebrate scoring against Arta Solar of Djibouti during their CAF Confederations Cup match at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on November 27, 2018. Photo/Kelly Ayodi/Sportpicha.

In Summary

  • Kariobangi Sharks showed they are ready to swim with continental big boys as they held Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko to a barren draw in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup clash in Nairobi.
  • Sharks need a scoring draw or an outright win during Saturday's return leg in Kumasi to reach the second round and such was the nature of their doggedness that it drew praise from the Kotoko captain Amos Frimpong.

Kariobangi Sharks showed they are ready to swim with continental big boys as they held Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko to a barren draw in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup clash in Nairobi.

Sharks need a scoring draw or an outright win during Saturday’s return leg in Kumasi to reach the second round and such was the nature of their doggedness that it drew praise from the Kotoko captain Amos Frimpong.

Sharks, who are only in their debut in a CAF competition, played like an established team against a side that has twice won the continent’s biggest club competition – the CAF Champions League – and were a goal-line clearance away from coming out on top.

The chances shared out evenly but it is William Muluya’s men that came closest when defender Agyemang Badu clearing George Abege’s goal-bound shot off the line with goalkeeper Felix Annan beaten.

“Both teams played very good football today and looking at Sharks they are a very good side. We came here purposely for the win but in the end I think the draw was a true reflection of the game.

“The main aim is to go back, win at home and qualify for the next round even though it’s going to be a very difficult game in Kumasi,” Frimpong said.

Kotoko had not played competitive football in at least five months after the Ghanaian Premier League was suspended in June following an expose that uncovered widespread corruption in the sport.

Kotoko had not played competitive football in at least five months after the Ghanaian Premier League was suspended in June following an expose that uncovered widespread corruption in the sport..PHOTO/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

Unlike Sharks who had to battle Artar Solar of Djibouti to reach the first round, Kotoko advanced without kicking a ball after continental governing body CAF cancelled their first round match due to Cameroon’s failure to submit its representative before the deadline.

But Frimpong believes the lack of competitive football did little to derail their chances against Sharks at the Kasarani Stadium.

“I don’t think being without a Premier League affected us because we have been training during this time and even played a lot of friendly matches with teams from abroad.

“We were in good shape and I can say our defensive play was excellent. We were well organised.”

The Sharks head coach William Muluya said he felt they should have scored at least once given the number of chances they created but insisted they can still qualify.

“We will work on how to score while in Ghana because any scoring draw will take us through,” Muluya said.

Sharks will be boosted by the return of Sydney Lokale, who scored a superb winner against Gor Mahia FC as Sharks lifted the Super Cup at the start of the season, after the striker sat out injured during the first leg.

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