Tanzania’s Singida United and Kenya’s Bandari FC have been drawn to play the opening match of the SportPesa Cup tournament whose third edition kicks off on January 22-27 at the National Stadium, Dar es Salaam.
In fixtures released Monday by tournament organizer SportPesa, Dar es Salaam based Yanga SC will then square it out with SportPesa Shield winners Kariobangi Sharks at 4.15 pm in the second fixture of the tournament opening date.
“We are happy to be part of the tournament and ready for any team,” said CEO Edward Oduor. The Mombasa-based football club is appearing at the tournament for the first time.
The tournament’s reigning champions Gor Mahia will face Mwanza’s Mbao FC on January 23 at 2.00pm, the same day that Tanzania’s giants Simba SC and AFC Leopards face off in a match set to kick off at 4.15pm.
The semi-finals will be played on January 25 while the third place playoff match will be staged on the final day at 2p.m
Tanzania Football Federation’s competitions manager Salum Madadi said all preparations for the tournament are complete, urging all football fans across the region to turn up in large numbers for the matches which he projects will be exciting and competitive.
“This year’s competition is not one to be missed by all the local football fans. We are confident that our teams will perform well and ensure that the tournament cup remains here at home,” said Tanzania Football Federation’s competitions manager Salum Madadi.
The winner of the SP tournament will have the privilege to host English Premier League club Everton FC in their home country for a friendly match. This will be the second time that Everton will visit East Africa after their first tour of Tanzania in 2017 where they played a friendly with the inaugural tournament winners Gor Mahia.
“Based on these fixtures we are in for an exciting football week in Dar es Salaam. I urge fans, sports lovers and families to turn up in large numbers at the stadium to support growth of regional football,” said SportPesa’s Chief Marketing officer Kelvin Twissa.
The tournament has been billed by local football pundits as a major stepping stone to international careers after several players including former Gor Mahia striker Meddie Kagere and star defender Godfrey Walusimbi attracted lucrative offers following their exemplary display at the second edition of SportPesa Cup, formerly known as SportPesa Super Cup held in June 2018 in Nakuru, Kenya.
Kagere now plays for Simba SC while Walusimbi is now based in South Africa where he plays for Kaizer Chiefs.