Ingo derby on offer

Friday, February 3rd, 2023 02:00 | By
AFC Leopards striker Ojo Olaniyi is airborne as he blocks a shot from Gor Mahia’s keeper Gad Matthwes (left) during their Mashemeji derby match played at Nyayo National Stadium, last weekend. PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League table-toppers Nzoia Sugar seem determined to dominate the local football landscape but the same will face a stern challenge when they engage AFC Leopards in what is expected to be a mouth-watering fixture at Sudi Stadium in Bungoma on Sunday.

Ingo Derby highlights a weekend in which nine matches are lined up, six tonorrow and three on Sunday.

The sugar millers rose to prominence in the early eighties when they gave a host of experienced teams a run for their money and in the process produced great players like Maurice Khayota and Evans Chibinda.

For a lengthy part of the Premier League campaign, Nzoia had made their former fortress, Kanduyi Stadium in Bungoma town, a dreary hunting ground for most visiting teams.

Nzoia which has since relocated to Sudi Stadium, still in Bungoma, has no qualms ensuring that it is not a serious deal which makes life difficult for bigger teams on their home turf.Leopards and Nzoia met for the first time at Sudi since Nzoia got promoted way back in 2017 with the match ending in a barren draw.

Bragging rights

But most recently, in the last Premier League season, Nzoia took all the bragging rights over the Big Cats after holding them to a 1-1 draw in the first leg match in Nairobi, they won 3-1 in Bungoma to all but prove a point about their obduracy.

It is a spell Leopards would wish to cast away although it is envisaged that Nzoia may not have things their way especially taking into account that Ingwe’s splendid display in a barren draw against rivals Gor Mahia in a Mashemeji Derby at Nyayo National Stadium last Sunday.

“Leopards deserved a better result than a barren draw with Gor after they put Kogalo on the back foot for a lengthy part of the match. Against Nzoia, we shall know for sure if Leopards has really hit the right cord in the Premier League campaign,” said Wellington Deogratious, a football analyst who was among thousands of fans who watched the Derby.

Nzoia’s trio of Boniface Kweyu, John Mwangi and Hassan Beja are known for making sublime finishes which may come in handy in the match but then, the team’s defence ought to be wary of an equally dangerous Leopards goal-poacher Ojob Olaniyi and Maxwell Otieno.

Meanwhile, Tusker and Gor Mahia, who are in the second and third positions respectively in the league, will be angling to dislodge Nzoia Sugar from the top of the standings with both teams facing tricky fixtures.

While Tusker face ninth-placed Kariobangi Sharks on Saturday at Ruaraka, Gor welcome Nairobi City Stars at Kasarani Main Stadium the same day. On Sunday, Bidco who suffered an ignominious loss to Mathare recently will be hoping to make amends when they face Kenya Police FC at Nyayo Stadium.

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