Football Kenya Federation (FKF) CEO Robert Muthomi said he expects the 2019 Shield competition to offer youth a chance to shine given the fixtures congestion facing clubs.
Player fatigue is already eating into most clubs after FKF squeezed its schedule as it bids to switch its calendar to the August-May format as practised by European leagues.
It is part of a directive by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to have all leagues on the continent run in synchrony with those in Europe but has left with a struggle in fighting off fatigue.
Four-time Shield winners Tusker FC announced they were pulling out of the domestic cup competition on Thursday to concentrate on their league assignments, highlighting the burden on clubs.
“Because it is a short season, and we understand the pressure that this tournament has put on the teams and their squads, we expect to see new players being given an opportunity to play and stake their claim at the big stage,” Muthomi said during Thursday’s launch.
A total of 32 teams drawn with those intending to take part in the knockout competition given until March 8 to confirm their participation with the Federation’s Competitions Department
The winner of the tournament gets an entry qualification to play in the Confederation Cup as well as walking away with a KSh2 million cash reward.
Kariobangi Sharks won the 2018 edition after staging a late comeback to beat Sofapaka 3-2 in the final played at the MISC Kasarani.
The round of 32 is set kick off from the 9th of March and the finals slated for 1st June.
Kenya Police vs Congo Boys FC
Wazito FC vs Fortune Sacco
Western Stima vs Uprising FC
GorMahia vs Kenpoly fc
Bandari FC VS Kayo FC
Sofapaka vs Bungoma Superstars FC
AFC Leopards vs Transfoc FC
Kisumu All Stars vs Murangá Seal FC
Kariobangi Sharks vs Elim FC
Mwatate United FC vs Emmausians FC
*Tusker FC VS Naivas FC
Ulinzi Stars vs SS Assad FC
Bidco United vs Transmara Sugar FC
FC Talanta vs Dero FC
Ushuru FC vs Vihigasportiff FC
KCB FC vs Sindo United FC
*Denotes opted out