ASHIHUNDU: AFC players must realise they carry hopes of millions - Daily Nation

AFC players must realise they carry hopes of millions

Monday July 30 2018

Gor Mahia's Ephrem Guikan (second left) is challenged by AFC Leopards' Whyvonne Isuza (down) as Marvin Omondi (left) looks on during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 22, 2018. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Gor Mahia's Ephrem Guikan (second left) is challenged by AFC Leopards' Whyvonne Isuza (down) as Marvin Omondi (left) looks on during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on July 22, 2018. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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The current crop of players at AFC Leopards must be told that in a derby only the final results count. The rest is details.

This fixture will always represent an opportunity for a player to write himself into the Mashemeji derby folklore and hold an eternal affinity to the supporter.

They must be told, you don’t lose a derby twice consecutively. Never.

The Lidondes, the Kadenges, the Mukabwas, the Anyanzwas, the Lukoyes, the Wanyamas, the Murilas, the Mulambas, the Masigas, the Musukus, the Lichungus, the Ambanis and other Ingwe greats never allowed it.

At the Den, a derby hero is someone to savour. Winning and scoring in a derby counts for double!

I’m sure I share the anger with other Ingwe supporters after we lost 2-1 to K’Ogalo at Kasarani on July 22.

Things happening now were never witnessed wherever there was a derby in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Our players are lucky Ingwe fans are not violent today, otherwise it would not have been business as usual at Kasarani on after the match.

By beating Gor Mahia at Kasarani, fans would have felt like they had somehow salvaged something out of the bad fortune that seems to be ever present in the Ingwe family.

Failing to win the league title for 20 years, and this year, surrendering meekly to the unbeaten record to Gor Mahia can’t be taken lightly.

I agree Gor Mahia have been enjoying very good form and exposure this season, but derby defeats shouldn’t be tolerated any more. You play a derby to win at any cost; by using all means necessary.

But losing two years in a row is unacceptable.

Priorities must be defined in the shortest time possible.

For a true Ingwe die-hard to realise just how important a derby is, you have to first put yourself in a hypothetical situation of losing the game.

The pain coming out of the derby as losers is beyond normal. Derby is derby, treat it as war!

The boys should be ready to die with their boots on. Donning Ingwe colours should come with huge responsibilities. I mean, hundreds of thousands if not millions of fans are looking up to you for their sanity and happiness. Now, that is a big burden you carry.

Again, as a section of Ingwe fans see it, the issue might not be with the players, but the preparations, the psych, proceeding derbies.

The motivations. Even a promise of just Sh10,000 to each player for a win and pep talks from the legends can make a big difference ahead of a derby.

Our former players must be ready to talk to the current squad regularly and tell them what exactly the Mashemeji derby means.

Ahead of the derby, the club management should be more focused than anyone else. They must lead the brigade.

After Leopards failed to break the unbeaten record of K’Ogalo, most club fans have started thinking that something is terribly wrong at the Den.

Ingwe’s failure to down Gor last weekend increased their arch rivals chances of winning the league title before the season ends.

We seem to have lost our values. Scouts used to monitor the players in camp ahead of any derby, but real scouts have been replaced by mediocre characters who don’t care about the club. NEC should instil these values.

It seems people around the club don’t know the meaning of the crest, because it’s now normal for Gor Mahia to win the league and beat Leopards any time.

Ingwe need to finish the league in a respectable position and focus on challenging for the title next year, and beat Gor in both league ties.

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