18 May 2019 08:59
The last time AFC Leopards beat Gor Mahia was on March 6, 2016 when they ran out 1-0 winners, but since then, Ingwe have struggled to beat their arch rivals K’Ogalo in the subsequent ‘Mashemeji’ derby meetings.
It is this bad history, and the fact that they have had a disappointing season that fuels Leopards as they prepare to take on their bitter rivals on Sunday at the Moi Sports Centre in Kasarani, situated in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
“Gor have dominated us for a very long time and now it is time for us to give our fans something to smile about. We have trained well, we have prepared well and the focus is high because we want to break that winless run against Gor and take three points from them,” Leopards captain Robinson Kamura said.
Since that win at the Nyayo National Stadium, Gor have won seven of the last eight derbies, including the first leg this season which the green side of the divide won 2-0.
Heading into Sunday’s clash, Leopards want to break this torrid run especially now that they have had a terrible season that saw them fight relegation at some point but have now worked themselves to ninth spot in the standings.
“We can’t win the league, we are out of the Kenyan Cup tournament and we really need to give our fans something to smile about because it has been a tough season. Winning the derby will give them joy and for us as players it will motivate us to finish the league strong.
“We want to finish in the top five because Leopards is a big team and we need to ensure we are up there. Winning this game will definitely boost us. We know it will be tough because Gor have had a good season but we will go in there and battle,” Kamura added.
While Kamura is straight-up spoiling for battle, his coach Cassa Mbungo is modest in his approach but silently reckons it will be Leopards biggest match of the season which they need to win.
“It will be a match like any other and we will be going for the points as usual. It is a big game and we need to win for the fans and for ourselves,” Rwanda-born Mbungo said.
Both Gor and Leopards their key players in their midweek ties, which they both lost 1-0 to Nzoia Sugar and KCB respectively, all eyeing a mouth-watering derby on Sunday.
Gor know they will not find it easy against a blood-thirsty Leopard and especially now that they are almost winning the league. Their closest rivals wouldn’t want them to do it against them. With three points in the derby, Gor will be declared champions with three games to go if second placed Bandari lose to relegation fighting Zoo Kericho.
“We are ready for the game but we know it will not be easy. They rested their players on Wednesday and it shows that they are planning for this game so much. We have beaten them so many times and I know this time they won’t come lying down,” Gor skipper Harun Shakava said.
Over the last 23 meetings between these old rivals, bookmakers will favor Gor for a win as they have won 13 of these fixtures, lost five and drawn the rest. They have scored 34 goals against only 20 conceded over these 23 meetings.
At first and ninth, there is a gulf of difference as they are separated by 27 points. In terms of current form, Leopards have only won one of their last five games losing two and drawing two while it is the opposite for Gor who have lost one, drawn two and won two.