Kenyan Premier League teams might have qualified for the round of 16 of the FKF Betway Cup, but they had to do it the hard way.
Save for domestic Cup holders Bandari and 2018 winners Kariobangi Sharks, who strolled to 2-0 victories over KSG Ogopa and Kenpoly on Sunday respectively, other KPL clubs were stretched to the limit by their opponents.
Record Cup winners AFC Leopards laboured to beat Elim 1-0 to secure a date with Ushuru in next month’s (March 14-15) knock-out tie, while Gor Mahia twice came from behind to overcome a stubborn Division One side Naivas 3-2.
K’Ogalo will battle with Posta Rangers in the next round of the oldest competition in the country after the mailmen also struggled to beat UoN’s Tandaza 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regular time.
Rangers coach Sammy Omollo said; “It was a really difficult game for us. I’m a bit relieved, but we had to push it to the last minute to go through. We must pull up our socks on the next match.”
It was the same observation by Gor assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo.
I’m glad we survived that scare from Naivas. They complicated things for us in the first half, but we changed tact and used experience to overturn the score. We are now on course of a double,” said Odhiambo.
Just like Rangers, three-time winners Sofapaka, Ulinzi Stars, KCB and Kisumu All Stars all triumphed in their matches on penalty shootouts.
Sofapaka edged out Balaji EPZ 5-3 on penalties to set up a crunch pre-quarterfinals tie with champions Bandari as KCB booked a date with Wazito after beating Zoo Youth 4-3 in the shootouts.
In Mumias, Ulinzi defeated Luanda Villa 9-8 on penalties.