Barry Silah and Charles Thuku @PeopleSports11
There will be a second “Mashemeji” derby away from home on Sunday when Gor Mahia take on AFC Leopards in the SportPesa Super Cup finals at Uhuru Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Gor booked a place in Sunday’s Sh3 million final game after beating National Super League side Nakuru AllStars 2-0 in what was an all-Kenyan semi-final while Leopards edged out Young Africans (Yanga) of Tanzania 4-2 on post-match penalties after a barren draw in regular time yesterday.
That sets up a mouth-watering final between the two rivals outside Kenyan borders for the second time after their historic meeting in 1985 during the Cecafa Club Championships final in Sudan.
Thirty two years ago in the Khartoum temperatures of around 30 degrees celcius, same as those being currently experienced in Dar, Gor defied the odds of playing without a number of their key players who were nursing injuries but still went ahead to edge out Leopards, 2-0, thanks to William Obwaka’s double.
And going by recent form, Gor will go into the match as favourites as they sit top of the SportPesa Premier League log with 27 points while Leopards are at a disappointing 12th position with 15 points.
K’Ogalo inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Ingwe when the two teams last met at Nyayo National Stadium in April and have gone on to win all but two matches since while Leopards have no tasted victory in the league since that demolition.
That makes Sunday’s final even more enticing as Leopards will be hoping to right those wrongs while Gor seek to assert their authority. In the early kick off yesterday, Ingwe shot-stopper Ian Otieno emerged the hero after saving two penalties and scoring one as Leopards prevailed over Yanga on penalties.
Leopards found the target through Bernard Mang’oli, Allan Kateregga, Duncan Otieno and Ian Otieno while second-half substitute Marcellus Ingotsi fluffed his kick.
For Gor, it was a repeat of the quarter-final win against Jango’mbe Boys as Meddie Kagere—scorer of a brace against the Zanzibar side—broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time before George Odhiambo made the victory safe in the second half.
With the tie headed for a goalless first-half, Kagere scored via a free header after being given a lot of space on the left side of the pitch before substitute Oliver Maloba found his way in the AllStars box with his lob past the goalkeeper hitting the upright and Odhiambo was in hand to bury the rebound.