The Nation Media Group football team will on Saturday launch its quest for the Road to Anfield tournament at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium.
The NMG team has been pooled in group A alongside Gemini Insurance, Pan Africa Life Insurance, Team Tusker, Vivo Energy, TNS and Letaiago.
Besides the stiff competition anticipated in group A, the Nation team coached by veteran sports journalist, John Ashihundu, will also fight to fend off the challenge from the other 21 teams from pool, ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’.
Standard Group Media, winners of the 2014 edition, will battle it out in group ‘B’ together with Team Ciro, Nairobi Bottlers, IBM, Nokia, National Airport Services and Safaricom.
Pool C has Royal Media Services, Oil Libya, Real People, Deloitte, Chronic FC, Simba Corporation and Jubilee Insurance while pool ‘D’ has Radio Africa, CCL United, Thon City, Unilever, Nakumatt, AAR FC and PWC.
“Last year we were knocked out at the quarter finals stage by Postal Corporation who went on to claim the ticket.
We have however retained most of our players who featured last term.
We are well prepared and ready to go,” NMG coach, John Ashihundu said on Tuesday.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
The tournament is fully sponsored by the Standard Chartered Bank.
Each team will have seven players but can only field five at any given time in the corporate 5-aside knockout challenge. Each match lasts ten minutes.
The top two finishers in each group will make it to the quarter finals from whence they’ll battle it out for semis slots.
The winners will travel to the United Kingdom in April for a fully paid four-day trip to represent Kenya at the Standard Chartered trophy finals, which will be played at Anfield.
In addition, the winning team will attend an English Premier League match at Anfield, home to Liverpool and will benefit from a professional training session with the club’s legends and coaches.
Last year, the Postal Corporation bagged the ticket and went on to have an impressive show in Liverpool finishing second after being beaten in the final by South Korea.
At the same time, Liverpool legend, John Barnes is expected in the country on Friday to oversee this year’s tournament as well as conduct coaching clinics.
Barnes had a highly successful career at Anfield where he made 407 appearances scoring 108 goals.
He earned 79 caps in the England national team. Among his career highlights include Player of the Year award 1987-88 and 1989-90, top scorer 1989-90 and two premier league champion winners’ medals.
The Standard Chartered trophy is held in select countries across Africa, Europe and Asia as part of the partnership between the bank and Liverpool FC.
This follows the signing of a sponsorship deal between the bank and the club in September 2009, the largest commercial agreement in Liverpool’s history.