Mashemeji derby: Leopards seek to rain on Gor Mahia’s parade in derby

Saturday May 18 2019

Gor Mahia fans celebrate their team's first goal against AFC Leopards during their SportPesa Premier League match on August 25, 2018 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Gor Mahia fans celebrate their team's first goal against AFC Leopards during their SportPesa Premier League match on August 25, 2018 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

CELLESTINE OLILO
By CELLESTINE OLILO
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Eternal rivals AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia cross swords for the last time this season in the second leg of the Mashemeji derby scheduled to kick off at 3pm on Sunday.

This will be the 91st league meeting between the two sides that humorously refer to each other as in-laws, but are bitter, sworn enemies on and off the pitch.

The high-stakes showdown whose bragging rights will be the most sought after reward, will for the second time pit K’Ogalo’s Cypriot coach Hassan Oktay against his Rwandan nemesis Andrea Cassa Mbungo in a tactical battle.

Gor will, however, have added motivation which will be the prestigious chance to finally put to bed the title race and with that record an unprecedented 18th league silverware.

It is a matter that irks ardent Ingwe fans, especially considering the fact that this same scenario presented itself last year where Gor beat Ingwe 2-0 in a chaotic Mashemeji derby to lift the 2018 silverware with six games left to play.

Both teams warmed up for this fixture with identical 1-0 defeats against KCB and Nzoia Sugar.

A different result for K’Ogalo would have necessitated a difficult scenario where Ingwe would have been forced, according to tradition, to line up just outside the dugout and ensconce their opponents in a guard of honour meant to honour early title winning teams.

“That would have been a very tense moment for me and especially the fans so we are glad we avoided that. I think the derby has come at the right time because the mentality of my players cannot be compared to last time we faced them. We are now more confident and I am going for a win,” Mbungo said.

Indeed if you disregard Wednesday’s result, Ingwe are in terrific form, and have lost just twice in 13 games.

Oktay and his charges are also in good shape, and will be buoyed by the wining mentality that has seen them lose just once in their last 10 league meetings.

Stringent security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of both players and spectators, with league sponsors SportPesa offering to cater for part of the security bills on behalf of the host club.

“We are very concerned about the general security of this match and we shall give all the support required. We have deployed a multi-agency security system to ensure that the match ends without any incident,” said SportPesa head of security Mathews Waria.

Whyvonne Isuza is Ingwe’s most lethal assassin at the moment, and he will be preferred alongside Paul Were to start on his team’s offensive set-up.

And as they look to extend their dominance in this fixture, reigning champions Gor Mahia will take comfort in the fact that Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge is fit and available, as are George Odhiambo, Francis Kahata and Kenneth Muguna.

Based on the stakes involved however it remains to be seen whether Oktay will stick with Shaban Odhoji in goal.

“Mashemeji Derby is always a big one and it demands a big performance from me and my team. We are well prepared to win and to also entertain our very supportive fans,” Oktay said.

VIP and terrace tickets for the match will go on sale for Sh500 and Sh200 respectively from 7am at Kenya Cinema, at a stationary van situated along Thika Road and at the stadium gates 2 and 12.

FIXTURES

Saturday:

Mount Kenya United v Sony Sugar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, 2pm)

Kariobangi Sharks v KCB (MISC, Kasarani, 3pm)

Nzoia Sugar v Sofapaka (Sudi Stadium, 3pm)

Posta Rangers v Kakamega Homeboyz (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, 4.15pm)

Sunday:

Western Stima v Mathare United (Moi Stadium, Kisumu, 2pm)

Vihiga United v Tusker (Mumias Sports Complex, 3pm)

Chemelil Sugar v Ulinzi Stars (Chemelil Sports Complex, 3pm)

Bandari v Zoo (Mbaraki Sports Club, 3pm)

AFC Leopards v Gor Mahia (MISC, Kasarani, 4.15pm)

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