James Magayi and Viden Ochieng @PeopleSports11
Sportpesa Premier League (SPL) record champions Gor Mahia painted Kisumu green in a colourful coronation for clinching their 17th league title.
Though K’Ogalo blew away a 2-0 lead to tie 2-2 with Mathare United at the Kisumu’s Moi stadium, the result did not damp the spirits of the excited fans who started streaming into the match venue as early as 9 am.
The silverware propped K’Ogalo as peerless in their trade locally as they mark 50 years of existence. Goals by Jacques Tuyisenge and Humphrey Mieno in the first half were cancelled out by Klinsman Omulanga and Cliff Nyakeya for a 2-2 draw but that did not dampen the celebratory mood engulfing Kisumu city.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is also Gor Mahia’s patron was on hand to crown K’Ogalo with the 6kg hand-crafted Italian trophy donated to the league body KPL by sponsors Sportpesa. Odinga also gave the team Sh5 million for their achievement.
Gor Mahia’s situation starkly contrasted with other clubs’ in the top flight, a dozen of which went into their penultimate rounds of matches unsure of their premier league status. Gor’s bitter rivals AFC Leopards lost their 10th game of the season at the hands of Ulinzi Stars.
The soldiers scored early through on-form Elvis Nandwa but Leopards skipper Duncan Otieno pulled his side back with a second-half leveller. Lanky forward Enos Echieng finished of a great move by nodding home Cliff Kasuti’s cross with nine minutes left to hand Ulinzi a 2-1 victory.
The loss compounded Ingwe’s misery of having to watch K’Ogalo increase their tally of league trophies and unceremonious exit of erstwhile Coach Rodolfo Zapata. From clamouring for 2nd position Ingwe have slipped to sixth on the table.
Elsewhere, Zoo FC secured their place in next season’s top-flight campaign by beating already relegated Thika United 2-1 at Thika stadium. Sony Sugar can also breath easy after stomping over Posta Rangers 2-0 at Ruaraka stadium thanks to a brace from Meshack Karani.
Nakumatt came from behind twice to force a two-all draw with Sofapaka and retain a fighting chance of avoiding the relegation play-off spot in their last fixture. It was the fifth successive match without a victory for Nakumatt whose last game will be an epic duel with Vihiga United.
Vihiga fought from 3-1 down in the 50th minute to force a three-all draw at home to Kariobangi Sharks. Sharks raced to a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes but the hosts pulled one back before the break. Sharks restored their two-goal lead four minutes upon restart but the hosts showed a rare resilience and clawed back two goals to earn a draw.
At Sudi stadium, Nzoia Sugar failed to capitalise on home advantage as they lost to Tusker by a solitary goal. Relegated Wazito registered just their 8th victory of the season trouncing second- placed Bandari 2-1 at Camp Toyoyo.