Premier League champions Sofapaka added silverware to their trophy cabinet when they fought hard to beat AFC Leopards 1-0 in a mouthwatering clash to win the SuperSports Championship Cup at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Leopards entered the pitch as underdogs but will blame their strikers for not converting the chances that came their way.
It was Sofapaka who scored the early winner through former KCB midfielder Humphrey Miyeno in the 17th minute.
Leopards, parading an entirely new-look side, and were more enterprising in the opening minutes, had their midfield duo of veteran Francis Xavier and new signing of Samuel Mwangi combine well to keep Sofapaka’s Patrick Kagogo and John Baraza at bay.
Sofapaka’s speedy winger, Bob Mugalia, had a chance to open the scores in the 10th minute but his rasping shot was saved by Leopards goalkeeper Lawrence Wafula Webo recently signed from Rwanda’s Rayon Sport.
But in a swift counter-attack, Sebastian Muchera’s curling shot from the left wing had Wilson Oburu stretching for an abortive corner.
Edgar “Fighter” Ochieng had to use his experience to cut out Itubu Imbem in the box in the 32nd minute.
Suleiman Mubuhina, who was a constant threat to the league champions, also missed a gilt-edged opportunity when he shot wide with Oburu beaten just before the half-time break.
On resumption, Sofapaka brought in Salim Khamis for the off-colour Patrick Kagogo while Leopards pulled out Francis Xavier for Emeke Ekene.
However, the fighting spirit and ball possession Leopards enjoyed in the first half faded as Bob Mugalia weaved his way past Leopards’ Franklin Osama but his effort was kept out by Webo.
Leopards’ coach Chris Makokha brought in former Sofapaka striker Dimonde Selenge whose first contact with the ball saw his shot sail over the bar in the 52nd minute.
But it was impressive goalkeeping from Oburu that denied Leopards when he saved a Sebastian Muchera goal-bound header and also had to raise to the occasion when he parried out Gregory Nyapala’s close range header in the 80th.
Referee Nassor Doka booked Sofapaka’s Collins Tiego for a late tackle on Selenge. Last season’s top scorer, John Baraza, could have added the second goal but Milton Milimo stood firm to clear the danger.
Sofapaka’s coach Robert Matano could not hide his joy when the full time whistle was blown as he sprinted to the pitch to congratulate his boys.