Gor's champagne on ice as Vihiga visit

Tuesday May 21 2019

Gor Mahia attacker Nicholas Kipkirui celebrates his goal against AFC Leopards during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 19, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Gor Mahia attacker Nicholas Kipkirui celebrates his goal against AFC Leopards during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 19, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

CELLESTINE OLILO
By CELLESTINE OLILO
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Champions Gor Mahia are 90 minutes away from a record-extending 18th SportPesa Premier League title.

Gor, who hit arch-rivals AFC leopards 3-1 at Kasarani on Sunday, face relegation candidates Vihiga United in Machakos from 4.15pm well aware that victory will all but secure a sixth league title in the last seven years. The record Kenyan champions need just two points from their remaining three matches to secure the title.

With second-placed Bandari facing Mathare United at Kasarani also on Wednesday, Gor could be champions again midway through their match against Vihiga should the Slum Boys beat the dockers in the 3pm kick-off.

Bandari are eight points behind Gor Mahia, and the dockers have no margin of error in their remaining fixtures against Mathare United, Sofapaka and Nzoia Sugar. Gor’s run in will see the champions face Vihiga today, then Posta Rangers before closing the season against Mathare United.

The pressure is however on Bandari as they have to pray that Gor drop points in their remaining three matches.

Kenyan Premier League Limited Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda has already confirmed that if K’Ogalo win the silverware, the current SPL trophy will be theirs to keep, since it will be their third consecutive victory.

Asked whether he is confident of lifting this season’s silverware, Gor coach Hassan Oktay said: “Anything can happen in these three remaining games. I don’t want to listen to that because my players will get complacent and then we shall only have ourselves to blame. They is everything to play for, now more than ever, because the title may seem so near, but it is not ours yet.”

'NEVER SAY NEVER'

Vihiga United, who lost 1-0 to Gor in the reverse fixture, will be seeking to upstage the champions and move up the log as the race to avoid the chop intensifies.

Vihiga are second from bottom, three points behind 16-th placed Zoo Kericho with three matches to go. Bottom placed Mount Kenya United have already been relegated. Zoo are occupying the play-offs position while Chemelil Sugar are two points above safety in 15th place.

Vihiga coach Sammy Okoth knows that it is now-or-never for his charges and his defence, marshalled Kenyan international Bernard Ochieng, must deny Gor’s attackers any chance for their survive hopes to stay alive.

“We are in a bad place but we are not relegated. Which means there is still something to play for. Why are you writing us off so early?” Okoth posed.

In other league matches, Sofapaka will be seeking to finish the season on a high with victory over Chemelil Sugar in the early kick-off match in Machakos, while Ulinzi Stars host troubled Kariobangi Sharks at Afraha from 3pm.

FIXTURES

Sofapaka v Chemelil Sugar (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, 2pm)

Mathare United v Bandari (MISC, Kasarani, 3pm)

Ulinzi Stars v Kariobangi Sharks (Afraha Stadium, 3pm)

Nzoia Sugar v KCB (Sudi Stadium, 3pm)

Western Stima v Posta Rangers (Moi Stadium, Kisumu, 3pm)

Kakamega Homeboyz v Sony Sugar (Bukhungu Stadium, 3pm)

Gor Mahia v Vihiga United (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, 4.15pm)

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