Charles Thuku and Harrison Kivisu @PeopleSports11
Gor Mahia were finally forced to eat humble pie after their 28-match unbeaten record in the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) was ended by a stubborn Bandari at Mbaraki Sports ground in Mombasa yesterday.
The last time Gor tasted defeat in the league was October 2017 when they fell by a solitary goal to Mathare United.
Playing with pep and vigour at the sweltering heat which they are accustomed to, Bandari bruised the egos of table toppers Gor, beating them 2-1 and as a result, dislodged Sofapaka from second position in the top tier league standings.
Dan Guya (10th minute) and Yema Mwana (36th minute) scored a goal each in the second half to pep up the hosts with Jacques Tuyisenge (77th minute) pulling off Gor’s consolation late in the game.
Bandari played the last seven minutes a man less after Fred Nkata was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The dockers have not lost a match since coach Bernard Mwalala took over from Ken Odhiambo last month and victory pushes them to second on the log with 45 points, 11 behind Gor who still have two games in hand.
Despite the huge difference, Mwalala is not giving up on the title chase. “We are determined and we believe we have the potential to lift the tittle,” said Mwalala, whose team has the meanest defence in the league, having only conceded 14 goals in 26 matches.
Gor coach Dylan Kerr attributed the defeat to accumulation of matches which has seen his charges participate in the CAF Confederation Cup, Cecafa Kagame Cup and SportPesa Super Cup, SportPesa Shield besides league ties. “We lost the match by bad luck, though the pitch was not favourable.
We are also overburdened by the tight schedule but we are hoping that we will up our socks in our upcoming matches,” said Kerr.
Meanwhile, Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier has thanked a Nairobi-based management consultant Eliud Owalo—a K’Ogalo fan—for his support towards the club by catering for their accommodation in Mombasa at a cost of Sh270,000.
“We acknowledge the gesture which came at a time when we are operating on a very tight budget with very little funds to navigate the tight August schedule that requires good finances to honour matches,” Rachier told the club’s official website.