The inspiring story that the book called Kariobangi Sharks FC has of resilience, persistence and belief just got an additional golden page to it this evening, as the lads put on a spirited display to overcome Sofapaka FC at the FKF Shield Cup Final match played at the Kasarani Stadium.
After two consecutive years of anguish, the ghosts were finally exorcised in emphatic fashion in front of jubilant crowd of Sharks faithful and the sweet sounding drums of our worthy opponents.
Dressed in all yellow the boys were quickly off the blocks, as Harrison Mwendwa rounded the Sofapaka goalie in the 15th minute only to see his finish go agonizingly wide. The speedy winger would amend that mistake 12 minutes later as he received the ball in our own half and turned defence into attack with an impressive 20 yards solo run through the middle before picking out George Abege who unleashed a clean grass cutter shot to give us the early lead.
The boys however were disappointed in themselves as we conceded a free kick late in the first half and our opponents equalized through a Stephen Waruru header for the game to be all even at the break.
Seven minutes after resumption matters got worse as Sofapaka FC took the lead through Kevin Kimani who headed in from the far post as our defence was caught napping for a moment. The goal stunned our players who looked out of sorts for some minutes after conceding the goal but they were called back to order by our roaring tactician at the touchline.
With our experienced opponents now happy to slow down the game and run down the clock, coach Kanu threw in two quick subs introducing Kenya under 20 internationals Sydney Lokale and Vincent Wasambo in the 70th minute. They had immediate impact with Sydney seeing his shot go just inches wide after set through on goal.
The drama would reach its climax in the last ten minutes as spectators, the players and the technical bench all had their heart in mouth. In the 81st minute Wasambo and Patilla combined well in a short corner that saw the latter send in a wonderful in-swinger that was finished with a glancing diving header from Sydney at their near post to bring us back level and send our fans in frenzy.
Before the fans could resume to their seating and as the reserve players were still trooping back to the technical area after celebrating the equalizer, George Abege struck again 80 seconds later from a Duke Abuya deflected cross to give us the lead to the joy and surprise of many.
The pumping Sharks heart that were now praying for the final whistle to blown were dealt with a shock as Sofapaka were awarded a penalty with thier first attack just after conceding the third goal as the referee judged Patilla’s challenge on Kevin Kimani in the box as a foul but the gods of football were with the Sharks as the latter sent his penalty over the bar.
3-2 it ended, gifting us our first major trophy and a slot into the continental football in just our second season playing at the top flight. We shall represent our country in the CAF Confederations Cup 2018/19.