Sharks SportPesa Cup Fairytale Victory Sets Twitter, Nairobi Abuzz
NAIROBI, Kenya- Kariobangi Sharks FC striker Harrison Mwendwa was the talk of the town after he powered his side to lift the 2019 SportPesa Cup final in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania against local rivals Bandari FC on Sunday.
The budding forward converted Duke Abuya’s pass to net the solitary goal in the 60th minute to earn his side a first title in the annual competition.
“That was a great left footed spectacular finish from Mwendwa,” Eldon Langat noted as tournament hash #SportPesaCup became the top trending topic on Twitter.
At the same time, hundreds of cheering fans gathered to watch the action unfold from the National Main Stadium from the giant screens of the SportPesa viewing and commentary truck.
“That pass from Abuya to Mwendwa clearly deserves recognition, it was a brilliant move and game,” Ata Nasi posted.
B.M Columbus, who was supporting Bandari rued their missed chances after the Dockers missed the chance to book a date with English Premier League side, Everton FC and take home the USD30,000 winners' prize cheque.
“This was very unfortunate for Bandari who conceded the first goal. Mwendwa was played in nicely for that Sharks' opener,” Columbus chipped in on Twitter.
Mwendwa’s neighbour, Vix Ndech, congratulated the winners adding he was proud of the forward who settled the contest.
“My homie (friend) is the fastest player in this challenge. I know he is the man of the contest, you are going places buddy,” Ndech posted on the popular micro blogging site.
Just like Ndech had predicted, Mwendwa was voted the man of the match, winning USD500 (KSh50,000) for the effort.
It was the second time that he was bagging the prize in the weeklong knockout competition that brought four teams each from Kenya and Tanzania to the heat of the battle.
Former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga was the chief guest at the final played in the sweltering heat of Dar which ignited pulses from the coastal city of Mombasa to Nairobi, setting the internet ablaze in the process.
Raila was flanked by Nairobi Senator, Johnson Sakaja, Football Kenya Federation president, Nick Mwendwa, Sports Principal Secretary, Ambassador Peter Kaberia and SportPesa CEO, Ronald Karauri among others.
The final was also spiced up by Bandari fans who traveled hundreds of kilometers in buses to cheer their beloved side in the cutthroat battle.
Hundreds of local football fans gathered in Nairobi’s Central Business District to watch the final on the truck dubbed the 'Stadium on Wheels' as they toasted the success of Kenyan teams at the tournament yet again.
Those who could not brave the scorching sun congregated under surrounding palm trees and several tents set up at the location to keep abreast with the live proceedings, that also involved third place play-off between Tanzanian rivals Mbao FC and Simba SC.
“I think the tournament gave players from the eight clubs that participated a chance to gain exposure.
“Young teams like Mbao got opportunity to shine and be known across the East African region,” La Africana Dance Group Deputy Leader, Silas Muyundi, underlined.
Lance Mungai, who was involved as a disc jockey in the first edition of the championship in 2017, explained the regional contest has grown in leaps and bounds.
“The event has become very competitive, the fact that we had new finalists this season only means there are no longer underdogs in the challenge,” Mungai noted.
The crowd also had opportunity to win branded giveaways including jerseys, mugs, wrist bands, balls among others.
Sharks made history when they won their first trophy on foreign soil to add to the 2018 SportPesa Shield title they bagged last season by inflicting a third defeat of the season on the Dockers.
Victory for William Muluya's side ensured the trophy will remain in the Kenyan capital after they succeeded two-time winners and ousted holders, Gor Mahia FC.