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City derby now set for Saturday

Tuesday September 18 2012

PHOTO | EMMA NZIOKA UNITED WE STAND: Football fans from rival clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards celebrate together in a past Premier League match in Nairobi.

PHOTO | EMMA NZIOKA UNITED WE STAND: Football fans from rival clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards celebrate together in a past Premier League match in Nairobi. The two traditional rivals face-off in a potentially-explosive league match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on September 22, 2012. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By CHARLES NYENDE [email protected]

The much-anticipated Tusker Premier League return match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia has been moved from Sunday at Moi International Sports Centre to Saturday at the same venue.

KPL chief officer Jack Oguda said the decision was arrived at on Monday following consultations between the clubs, Football Kenya Federation and broadcast rights holders SuperSport.

“It was noted that security will be stretched having the two big events in the city and it will be prudent to have the match on Saturday. Nyayo Stadium will host the annual, crowd-pulling Safaricom Safari Sevens from Friday to Sunday,” Oguda said.

Oguda said having the match on Saturday will also allow sports fans to watch rugby action on Sunday when the finals will be held. Both events will be televised live by SuperSport TV.

Security risks

As a result, KPL live television matches originally scheduled for Saturday have been moved to Sunday.

The affected matches are Oserian v Ulinzi Stars and Karuturi Sports v Tusker in Naivasha.

A Leopards versus Gor match always raises security risks and Oguda has said this match will be closely monitored. A meeting between KPL, FKL, the two clubs, police and other service providers will he held today to review security arrangements.

Violence erupted when the two teams last met on March 18 at Nyayo National Stadium delaying play for almost 20 minutes. Fans from the Gor Mahia side attempted to invade the pitch while throwing missiles inside as they violently protested a refereeing decision.

Fans caused mayhem

Police were forced to use tear gas forcing the yobs to flee to Uhuru Highway where they continued to cause mayhem.

To date none of the perpetrator have been brought to book. That was not the first time violence has erupted in matches involving the two sides.

Both teams have been quietly preparing for the big match whose result will surely affect the tone of the title chase.

Leopards over the weekend lost their long reign on top of the league table after falling 1-2 to Western Stima as champions Tusker took the leadership after blanking KCB 2-0. Both have 45 points but are separated by goal difference.

Third-placed Gor, inactive over the weekend, sit in third spot with 43 points and look poised to take the lead after a brilliant 11-match unbeaten run.

Excitement for the match is already building up with friendly taunts between the two sets of fans dominating their social media interactions.

Gor are at full strength while AFC Leopards will be sweating over the fitness of reliable central defender Eric Masika who missed with Western Stima clash with a hamstring pull and the league’s most expensive player Floribert Ndayisaba who is recovering from illness.