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Thrills expected as Gor face Leopards

By Charles Thuku
Saturday, November 9th, 2019
A Gor Mahia fan (left) and a AFC Leopards fan dance before a recent derby. KELLY AYODI/ SPORTPICHA

The football rivalry in the country is back as Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards square it out in the first leg of the 2019/2020 Mashemeji Derby at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani on Sunday.

Matches between the two perennial adversaries are usually feisty affairs that ride on tradition and history and fans do not just attend to watch the extravaganza but also the electric atmosphere that comes with it.

The rivalry on the field is unmistakable but on the scandalous side, one of the most fiercely contested derbies sometimes turns violent especially when overzealous fans think that there is partial officiating which may have sometimes resulted into defeat by their beloved team. 

And rightly so, there is no love lost between the two combatants whenever they cross swords although Gor have had the most laughs in that out of their last eight meetings, K’Ogalo have vanquished Ingwe six times and only lost once with one match ending in a draw.

However, Leopards have been in an alluring form lately and their 2-1 win over Sofapaka coupled with their gallant fight in a barren draw with pre-match favourites Ulinzi Stars in their latest fixture is what makes many to think that they could be a hard nut to crack for Gor.

The biggest question is; who between Gor coach Steve Polack and his Leopards counterpart Andre Casa Mbungo has the pedigree to steer their respective brigades to their first Mashemeji Derby conquest of the season?

Final delivery

Against Ulinzi, Leopards red-hot striker Mark Makwatta was phenomenal and the striker alongside Whyvonne Isuza, Vincent Oburu and Soter Kayumba are some of the players Gor defence should be well advised to mark out of the game lest they cause havoc.

But then, Leopards should be cautious since they are up against a vengeful Gor side that that had their unbeaten record smashed by Mathare United last Tuesday in a 1-0 defeat in Machakos.

Gor’s front-runners Francis Afriyie, captain Kenneth Muguna and Nicholas Kipkirui were all adventurous against Mathare but they will need to be a little bit keen in their final delivery if they are to beat Leopards first choice goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan. 

Meanwhile, Nzoia Sugar face Zoo Kericho at Kericho Green Stadium on Sunday against the backdrop of missing utility teenage striker Ian Simiyu who scored in their 3-2 loss to Tusker last weekend.

Nzoia are just a point above Zoo FC on the 18-team Kenyan Premier League log and have won once in their last five encounters. Their  hosts have gone without a win in five matches.        

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