The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Cup has been renamed the Betway FKF Cup following a deal that was signed between the leading British bookmaker and the country’s football governing body. Betway will sponsor the cup for three years, to a tune of 15 million Kenya Shillings, which is an equivalent of $150,000 per year.
“We believe that this partnership will accord our players the much needed opportunity to showcase their talent in the field.” Said FKF President Nick Mwendwa after signing the deal.
The giant betting company has been in the Kenyan scene providing Betway Kenya football bets for several years, and it was only a matter of time before they got involved in soccer in the country. A total of 48 teams will participate in the competition, with defending champions Bandari and nine other Kenya Premier League sides getting a nod to proceed to the second round.
The first round kicks off on Saturday the 19th with plenty of action taking place in different stadiums across the country. Winners of the first round will proceed to the second phase slated for 15th and 16th of February.
Former KPL giants Tusker FC have led a host of other KPL sides in shunning this year’s edition, whose winner will represent Kenya in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2020/21. It will be remembered that the federation has suffered huge financial challenges over the last couple of years, with top sides failing to honor fixtures due to lack of funds.
With the government of Kenya being accused for lack of commitment in improving sports in the country, it is such partnerships that the federation will be looking to tie in the near future. The entry of Betway into the scene comes as a timely move when the football fraternity in the country was facing a meltdown.
Fixtures for the round of 32
Gor Mahia will face the winner between Kariobangi Sharks B and Naivas FC, with AFC Leopards taking on the winner between Elim FC and CUSCO. Bandari starts their defence against either ReUnion or KSG Ogopa.
Nairobi Water or Zetech Titans vs FC Talanta
Congo Boys or Tandaza vs Posta Rangers
Kenpoly or Mwatate United vs Kariobangi Sharks
Nation FC or Jericho Revelation vs BIDCO United
Zoo Youth or Sindo United vs KCB
Soy United or Dero FC vs Wazito
Mara Sugar or Transfoc vs Ushuru
FC Shells or SS Assad vs Fortune SACCO
Balaji EPZ or Equity vs Sofapaka
Keroka Technical or MMUST vs Vihiga United
Flamingo or Butali Sugar vs Migori Youth
Luanda Villa or GDC vs Ulinzi Stars
Black Diamond or Nyabururu Sportif vs Kisumu All-Stars
Top sides to shun the competition include, Tusker FC, Kakamega Homeboyz, Western Stima, Mathare United, Posta Rangers, Zoo Kericho, Nzoia Sugar, and Chemilil Sugar.
Coastal side Bandari FC will be looking to defend their title following an impressive run last year. They will face an uphill task of beating other sides who have improved this season, and having fired their long-serving tactician Bernard Mwalala, it should get even tougher for them.