Saturday turned out to be a bad day in the office as we not only “deservedly” lost to the old enemy for the second time in a month, but also handed them the 2018 Kenyan Premier League title while at it.
Worse, thousands of our supporters who’d sacrificed their time and money to head to Kasarani and watch their beloved football team in action instead ended up witnessing embarrassing scenes of the opposing supporters dancing themselves silly on pitch moments after the final whistle.
There were also the extended celebrations on social media, along Thika road and into the CBD’s various entertainment joints by the Green Army faithful to contend with for the Ingwe diehards, most of whom, by the way, elected to come to the stadium not only in search of local entertainment and to relax their minds, but also to temporarily forget some of the challenges that come with residing in modern day Kenya such as the high cost of living.
But before I commend the champions, allow me highlight a few things.
First, and let us admit, much as Gor Mahia have a solid side which has impressed this season, AFC Leopards were really poor on the day.
Let’s face it. For what was arguably the toughest game this season, the least I expected from the Leopards camp was a fired up side whose players were willing to put their bodies on the line and fight for every ball in a bid to at least deny their arch-rivals the opportunity of winning the title before their very own eyes.
But Alas, I was shocked when the exact opposite played out.
Coming up against a reserve side (with Gor coach Dylan Kerr reportedly resting players ahead of a continental assignment in midweek), our boys – for some very odd reason which I am keen to find out — just failed to turn up for the party. Put simply, they did not challenge for anything.
To break it down, the playing unit failed to click, and worse, the technical bench did not seem to have a clue on how to improve on that drab performance.
The suspended Ezekiel Odera turned out to be a big miss and Whyvonee Isuza’s missed penalty halfway through the game the lowest moment.
Comparing our performances from the last four games with this tie, one is tempted to think our lads have some sort of mental block when coming up against Gor Mahia.
This is very scary prospect to even contemplate. I am still very emotional and will thus resist the temptation to analyse the individual performances of the side coach Rodolfo Zapata — who is yet to post a win against Gor Mahia in three outings — put out on the day.
That said, there are some chaps all the way from the playing squad and technical bench to the management who will have to a hard look at themselves and whether they are of any help at the den.
Separately and without pinpointing at any instances, I will have to put it on record here that the standards of officiating in the Kenyan Premier League deserve great scrutiny.
Let’s just say if what we saw on Saturday was the performance of some of the best referees in the country, then there is cause for concern.
Plus, I have no time for those goons who engaged on a destruction spree at Kasarani as a way of perhaps airing out their frustrations.
I pray the hooligans are fished out from the crowds they find solace in hiding amidst to face the full wrath of the law.
All said, I am forced, in the spirit of sportsmanship to congratulate the champions.
But I know that they too know that no situation in this world is permanent.