Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will be seeking to bring some spark in the 2018/2019 SportPesa Premier League (SPL) when they clash in the first Mashemeji Derby of the season billed for Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani on Saturday.
Although the fortunes of the two perennial adversaries are worlds apart, their meeting usually elicits emotions among their supporters with a loss to either team leading to hooliganism which can be nasty.
To this end, Kenya Premier League (KPL) Chief of Technical, Security and Safety GMT Ottieno has fore-warned fans to steer clear of acts of lawlessness, adding that elaborate security measures will be put in place.
“During the pre-match meeting it was agreed that there will be deployment of 100 Administration and Regular police who will keep surveillance in and outside the stadium. There will also be other police on horseback and dog handlers and I want to ask fans to behave with decorum,” said Ottieno.
On paper, Gor start favourites and will be inspired by the famous 4-2 dispatch of Egyptian giants Zamalek in the CAF Cup group stage last Sunday in Nairobi coupled with a solitary’s goal’s win over Vihiga United in a midweek league match.
Leopards, placed 15th in the chart with 10 points from 11 matches played, are still licking wounds from back to back defeats at the hands of Bandari and Mount Kenya United and anything short of a win will be unacceptable to their faithful.
For Leopards who are trying to endure an unforgettable spell, the match presents them with a perfect opportunity to avenge a string of defeats at the hands of Gor in the Mashemeji meetings. However, over and above, it remains to be seen what is up the sleeves of Ingwe new coach Andre Casa Mbungo in his first major assignment with the big cats.
A lot of optimism has engulfed the Ingwe den after the arrival of the former Rwanda’s Kiyovu coach but his lineage will be known in today’s match.
Leopards have good players like birthday boy Aziz Okaka, Marcel Kaheza, Vincent Oburu, Yusuf Mainge and Eugene Mukangula and this is the lot Mbungo will be relying on to break the jinx of the team playing second fiddle to Gor during Mashemeji derbies.
Gor are placed in the fourth position with 19 points from 10 games and although the Green Army are not one of the leading lights in the top-tier league thus far, a win over Ingwe seems inevitable.
Gor Hassan Oktay has been able to afford fielding fronge players and still grind results and some of the players who are likely to be in his brigade this afternoon include Boniface Omondi, Shaffique Batambuze, George “Blackberry”Odhiambo and Jacques Tuyisenge.
Meanwhile, Tusker face a trick test at Kericho Green Stadium tomorrow when they come up against hosts Zoo Kericho in a match that will kick off at 3pm.
Last weekend, Tusker settled for a disappointing 1-1 draw with Bandari in Ruaraka and will be seeking to improve results in a seemingly difficult fixture against Zoo.