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27.07.2005 Football News

Kotoko take on simba

Raymond Yeboah

Tusker face Supersport United of South Africa while Asante Kotoko of Ghana tackle Tanzania's Simba today in intriguing encounters of the inaugural Tusker Cup at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Tusker take to the field at 1.30pm while the second match kicks off at 4pm. Teams will be fighting it out for a place in the final on Saturday.

A prize money of $50,000 (Sh3.8 million) is on offer with the winner pocketing $25,000 (Sh1.9 million).

A preview of the Tusker versus Supersport United match is just as intriguing as the tie itself, considering the dearth of football meetings between the two nations, particularly at club level.

In fact, the only recorded encounter in recent years at club level is during the 1993 CAF Cup when Gor Mahia knocked out Hellenic in the second round after the two sides had drawn 3-3 on aggregate (1-3 in South Africa, 2-0 in Nairobi).

Perhaps a better perspective of the two sides would come from looking at the Fifa rankings of their respective countries.

South Africa are ranked 38 in the world compared to Kenya's 79. More revealing, Supersport finished fourth in the South Africa Premier League while Tusker finished second in Kenya.

Given this information, it would be easy to read into Dino Kitavi's thoughts on the match when he said yesterday: "South Africa are good. They have played in the World Cup and have superior club sides with high standards of football. We know Supersport is a superior side."

His Supersport counterpart, Pitso Mosimane, acknowledged the difference, on paper, between the two sides, but just held back on flashing the confidence card.

"Tusker are the strongest team from here in Kenya and have several players in the national team. The worst mistake we can make is expect to beat them. We expect a very difficult game," he said.