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Police Turn Focus to CAF Confederation Cup Debut Following Hard-Fought FKF Cup Win Over KCB

Kenya Police, led by head coach Salim Babu, triumphs in the FKF Cup and prepares for their debut in the CAF Confederation Cup. Babu's rise from the second tier to winning his first coaching title reflects the determination and strategic planning within the team.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-07-02

Naim Rosinski

6 minutes read

CAF trophy

Slightly over two years ago, Salim Babu was coaching in the Kenyan second tier, the National Super League.

His coaching career appeared to be on the skid after joining Kisumu All Stars, a Super League outfit, in October 2020 after parting ways with the then topflight club, Wazito.

However, he sprung back to the top tier after securing the coaching job with Nzoia Sugar in January 2022, helping the club survive relegation.

Babu inspired Nzoia to an impressive fourth-place finish in the 2022-2023 season, a run that earned him a move to Kenya Police albeit as an assistant coach.

The soft-spoken tactician was elevated to the rank of head coach at Police in December 2023 after then-boss Zdravko Logarusic was fired due to a persistent poor run in the league.

Under Babu, Police went for nearly five months without defeat and shot from the bottom half of the league table and would eventually finish third behind Tusker and champions Gor Mahia.

The club capped off the electric performance under Babu with the Football Kenya Federation Cup on Saturday, June 29 following their post-match penalties 8-7 win over KCB in the final staged at Ulinzi Complex.

This was the first trophy for Police since inception in 2014 and for Babu in his coaching career that, at some point, was on the nosedive.

"This is a special moment for me as I had never won a title since I ventured into coaching. I had handled several teams in the top tier and lower tiers but had not won a title. I am happy and will live to remember this moment," Babu told SportsBoom.com after the final.

CAF-Confederation-Cup

Image Wikipedia

Inexperience cost KCB first title  

While there was song and dance on the side of Police, all was gloomy on the losing finalist as the result denied them a chance to lift their first-ever title.

Reacting to the loss, KCB coach Bernard Mwalala regretted that chances created in the first half of the contest went begging and the team was made to pay for it in the end.

"We started well but we failed to score from the clear-cut chances created in the first half. Penalties can go either way and we live to fight another day," the tactician told SportsBoom.com.

Positives despite painful loss  

Mwalala, a winner of the cup with Bandari in 2019, however, drew positives from the loss saying it will inspire his young players to believe more and make amends next season.

"Most of the players couldn't believe it, when I told them it was possible to reach the final and win, at the start of the season. They have a reason to eliminate the doubt and I reckon they will approach the next edition more confident, " said the former Nzoia Sugar coach.

Just like his Police counterpart, Mwalala aims to inject fresh blood into the team before the new season kicks off.

"I will have to bring in new and experienced players when the transfer window opens. We had to rebuild in the mid-season window and the results were there for all to see," said the former Kenyan international. 

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.