The SportPesa Premier League takes a break this weekend to pave way for the first round of the annual knock-out GOtv Shield.

Fourteen of the 18 SPL teams will be in action as they fight for the right to represent Kenya in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup plus the Sh2 million winners’ prize money.

The 64 participating teams have been divided into two zones with lower ranked teams being given home ground advantage.

Defending champions Tusker will be looking to issue a strong statement when they face SS Assad in Mombasa on Sunday.

Assad, who feature in the Football Kenya Federation Division Two Northern Zone League, are currently enjoying a rich vein of form that has seen them unbeaten over the last six weeks.

Placed seventh on the league log, Assad have won seven of their 13 games and lost three.

Their desire to upstage the reigning champions, however, is a tall order as the brewers are also in terrific form. They have gone 12 matches unbeaten in top flight football. Need more be said?

“Of course we want to win it. This is a knock out tournament and games involving such competitions are usually high-pressure affairs. You lose, you are out. We may be playing a team in the lower divisions, but here there is no room for complacency, no room for failure. We plan to start very strongly,” Tusker captain James Situma said.

Former champions Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards face Nairobi Water and Dero FC respectively in their opening games, while last year’s losing finalists Ulinzi Stars will battle Wajiji.

GOtv Shield weekend fixtures

Zone A: Nairobi Water v Gor Mahia, Bigot FC v Nakumatt, Wajiji FC v Ulinzi Stars, Balaji v Coast Stima, Young Divers v Thika United, Taqwa v Nairobi City Stars, Silver Bullets v Sofapaka, Al Ahly v Kenpoly, Karatina Homeboyz v Administration Police, Peter Kenneth v Wazito, Muranga All Stars v Bidco United, Dero v AFC Leopards, Tandaza v Zetech University, Avant Garde v Ushuru, SS Asaad v Tusker, Mwatate United v Kenya Police, Butterfly v Leysa

Zone B: Uweza v Bandari, Dream Academy v Modern Coast, Timsales v Sony Sugar, Bondo United v Nzoia Sugar, Eldoret Youth v Nakuru All Stars, Savannah Cement v Chemelil Sugar, Transfoc FC v Western Stima, Bungoma Super Stars v Kariobangi Sharks, Nyakach United v GFE 105, Poror v KCB, Rain Forest v Agrochemicals, Umoja Baringo v Nairobi Stima, Naiva v Kakamega, Elim v Vihiga United, Griffin v Palos