Mashemeji Derby: Six things you need to know today

Their rivalry is eternal. Champions Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards SC clash today, Saturday in the biggest football game in Kenya. This will be the 85th meeting of the fixture popularly known as the Mashemeji Derby.

As the name suggests, this is a clash of in-laws. However, that’s just how far the pleasantries go.

Much more than three points will be at stake in their latest showdown at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani

Ahead of the latest meeting of the most and second most decorated football clubs in local history, here are six huge talking points, courtesy of SportPesa News

1. Gor can gain title momentum by pressing in their recent good form

After a stuttering start to the campaign, record 17-time domestic titleholders, Gor are finding their local mojo once more, winning their last two SPL fixtures, 2-0 over Sony Sugar FC and 1-0 against Vihiga United FC.

That was sandwiched by the resounding 4-2 crushing of five-time African champions and Egypt league leaders, Zamalek FC in a CAF Confederations Cup Group D opener last Sunday.

Having already lost thrice in the league this season, it appeared initially as if the champions had priorities elsewhere, having won the competition in five of the last six seasons.

However, log leaders Mathare United FC (24) and second-placed Bandari FC (21) have failed to take full advantage, leaving Gor within touching distance on 19 with a game in hand over the Slum Boys.

Beat Leopards and K’Ogalo could finish the weekend in second place on 22 if other results go their way, enough motivation to win the derby.

2. Leopards have the chance to mug Gor yet again

The last time Leopards tasted victory over Gor in the SPL or any other competition for that matter was March 6, 2016, a 1-0 win that left Ingwe top of the log and dreaming of a first league title since 1998.

That Gor team had gone the entire 2015 campaign unbeaten in the top flight as they swept to the crown and it took their bitter rivals to puncture their pride at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium in a match where Lamine Diallo came off the bench to score and 83rd minute winner. It was truly a shocking result.

The fallout at Gor was swift, with Scottish head coach, Frank Nutall, defecting to Zamalek and at the end of it all; Tusker FC dethroned the then champions from the SPL throne.

Unfortunately, Leopards then under Belgian Ivan Minnaert, failed to build on the momentum and their season unravelled in the second leg as they slumped to a seventh finish. Minnaert did not even end the season in charge.

3. Cassa Mbungo gifted the platform to become an instant hero

Rwandese head coach, Andre Casa Mbungo, must have wondered what he got himself into when Leopards lost 1-2 on his first day in charge at the Den on Wednesday.

The defeat was the last straw for many an Ingwe fan since it left their beloved team languishing 15th on 10 points, two above the drop zone and what is unimaginable at the Den, relegation talk gained currency.

Mbungo is the 26th man to take charge of Leopards since 2009 when the club bounced to the Premier League and in just over 72 hours, he has the onerous task of beating their fiercest opponents in a Mashemeji Derby.

Having worked with feared Gor striker, Jacques Tuyisenge and his strike partner, Burundian Francis Mustapha at Police and AS Kigali, Mbungo perhaps has an idea what to expect on Saturday.

And just like Minnaert, he can become a huge hit in only second game in charge if he masterminds victory against the team every Leopards fans loves to beat.

4. Oktay has the opportunity to bed in with the Green Army

Turkish-Cypriot Hassan Oktay has found earning universal approval among the passionate Gor supporters, the Green Army, hard to come buy following their aforementioned patchy start to the season.

Victory against Zamalek brought him closer to receiving the all round affection any coach in a big club craves and his stock will rise considerably should he find a way of piling on the misery on the in-laws on Saturday.

Since Nutall lost to Leopards, former Brazilian international, Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira and Briton Dylan Kerr have taken the hot seat and gone seven without defeat against the auld enemy.

It is too early in what is largely a transition season at Gor for Oktay to countenance losing the derby, especially, just when his methods seem to be striking a cord with his players.

5. Defensive shambles provide the prospect of a thriller

The last eight Mashemeji derbies in all competitions have produced 17 goals that is an average of just over two per game.

That compares favourably with other big derbies in Africa but this season alone, the champions have already soaked in seven in 10 league games and put in 17 at the other end having let in only five for the entire first leg of the SPL.

Leopards on the other hand have an embarrassing goal difference of –six, having conceded 16 and scored only 10 in a crisis that prompted club captain, Robinson Kamura, to protest in a video widely shared on social media that Ingwe have no strikers.

However, Gor showed in their much-hailed victory over Zamalek that their once super glue solid defence could be the architects of their own downfall whilst Leopards can shudder at the thought of facing a team with the firepower K’Ogalo possesses.

This raises the prospects of a goal-fest on Saturday.

6. The Dennis Oliech Mashemeji Derby debut factor adds spice to the occasion

There is only one place to finish this wrap.

When he came out of a two-year break from the game to sign for Gor, Kenya record goal-scorer Dennis Oguta ‘Kajole’ Oliech has been a man on a solo mission to set and break his own barriers.
To him, playing with the green of Gor is a personal tribute to his family, having joined the SPL champions to honour his late mother Mary Auma and on Sunday, reprised the feat of his elder brother, the late Steve Okumu, in scoring against Zamalek 21 years after his sibling achieved the feat.

Okumu, who formed a deadly strike partnership with Steve Odiaga in the late 90s and one of the games the duo enjoyed finding the net was you guessed it, the Mashemeji Derby.

On Kenyatta Day (now renamed Heroes Day) October 20, 1997, Okumu scored a last minute winner for Gor against Leopards in a 1-0 victory having been set up by Bramwell Mwololo, now a presenter at Radio Jambo who out-jumped former Kenya international midfielder, Tom Juma.
“Defeat was too hard to swallow for heartbroken AFC Leopards who after the match were baying for the blood of Tom Juma.

“They wanted to beat him up for, according to them, betraying the team because being Luo, he was bound to have a soft spot for Gor Mahia,” Mwololo recalled.

What are the chances of Oliech doing the same 21 years later on his Mashemeji debut?

Gor Mahia crash out of Sportpesa Cup

Captain Harun Shakava and Shafiq Batambuze missed from the spot, as defending champions Gor Mahia crashed out after losing 4-3 on post match penalties in the quarter finals of the Sportspesa cup tournament at Dare es Salaam national stadium, in Tanzania.

Legendary striker, Dennis Oliech put Kogalo ahead in the 53rd minute from the spot after a Mbao defender handled in the box.

Kogalo outplayed their opponents with Erissa Sseiksambu who had a goal disallowed in the first half missing several chances, to close the game. The hosts pushed hard for the equalizer hitting Gor from the counter but found it hard to go past Shakava and Joash Onyango at the heart of Kogalo defence.

With Gor Mahia coach, Hassan Oktay sent to the stands for exchanging words with the match officials in the first half, Kogalo looked destined for the semi finals under the command of assistant coach Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno but the home side leveled in the 77th minute, Abubakari Ngalema with a deflected shot from a corner.

Zico made more changes as he pushed for the winner bringing in Jack Tuyisenge and Francis Kahata.

Kogalo dominated but still couldn’t break Mbao’s defence who looked ready for penalties.

Tuyisenge had a late goal ruled out for offside, as the match went to the 12 yards kicks. Francis Kahata, Jaques Tuyisenge and Boniface Omondi scored for Kogalo while, Shakava’s shot was saved by Mbao Goalkeeper, Metacha Mnata, after Odhiambo had stopped Ibrahim Ashimu’s effort to give Gor the advantage.

Batambuze’s effort hit the crossbar, while Erick Mulilo hit the target to send Mbao through. Mbao will play Kariobangi Sharks in the semi final on Friday, while Bandari will play the winner between the ongoing match between Simba SC and AFC Leopards.

Exhausted Gor Mahia arrive in Dar Es Salaam confidently pursuing SportPesaCup hat-trick

They finally landed in Dar! The most-anticipated team of the tournament and reigning back-to-back champions, Gor Mahia FC have reached Tanzania in their quest for a SportPesaCup hat-trick of titles. Their arrival was at the wee hours of Tuesday morning, weary from a nine hour journey.

The team touched down at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, hours before action gets underway at the National Main Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam. It was a long journey from Doula, Cameroon and included a transit through Nairobi before arrival in Tanzania.

Having secured a ticket to the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup, head coach Hassan Oktay and his squad had little time to settle with their first training session at 9am EAT.

In a press conference held on Tuesday morning, Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay expressed his confidence, stating that the team is ready for the competition.

“There is no pressure.” Oktay said, guaranteeing that his players will be ready for their quarterfinal opponents Mbao FC of Tanzania on Wednesday.

“We are coming here to win. Every time Gor play, they play to win trophies,” he added.

His captain Harun Shakava echoed his coach and expressed their desire and motivation to retain their trophy, having won it in 2017 and 2018.

Gor Mahia Hassan Oktay accompanied by team captain Harun Shakava
Gor Mahia Hassan Oktay accompanied by team captain Harun Shakava

“We have won this trophy twice already but this time round it will be a bit more difficult since every team is well prepared. (However) We have not come here to participate but to win,” said Shakava

The striker had also earlier spoken about the prospect of facing his compatriot and ex-Gor Mahia star forward, Meddie Kagere who traded the Kenyan giants for Tanzanian heavyweights, Simba SC following last year’s success.

“Meddie is a good player, we know him and he knows us.” he added

His teammate and Kenya record scorer, Dennis Oliech, who is undoubtedly the most high profile player in the tournament and has had a sizzling impact since ending his two-year absence to the game returned to the land he made his name.

Then a talented teenager playing for Mathare United FC, Oliech memorably broke the hearts of Tanzanian fans when he came off the bench to score for Kenya in a 3-2 victory during the final of the 2002 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.

Oliech returns to the domestic top flight for the first time in 16 years and he has already scored twice and three assists so far after signing for Gor to honour his late mother having had a rewarding career in Qatar and notably France where he played for Nantes, AJ Auxerre and AJ Ajaccio.

Besides Oliech and Tuyisenge, Gor firepower also features Ugandan Erisa Sekisambu who notched the first SPL hat-trick for Gor this term in the 4-1 thumping of Mt. Kenya United FC and Burundi man Francis Mustapha.

First game

Gor are scheduled to take on Mbao, the SportPesaCup newcomers who have quickly established a giant-killing reputation in the Tanzanian top flight league. The match is scheduled for Wednesday, 2pm.

The winner will face the victor of the showpiece’s last eight clash between Simba and domestic arch rivals, AFC Leopards SC that kicks off on the same afternoon at 4pm.

Gor outclassed Simba 2-0 and Leopards 3-0 in that order to lift the 2017 and 18 SP Cup titles.

Victory saw them become the first side from their region to play Everton FC- the nine-time English champions- on their maiden tour to East Africa and at Goodison Park in each of the years they celebrated SP Cup glory.

They will be aiming to return home with their trophy to get another bite at the Blues who beat them 1-2 in Dar and 0-4 during their meetings.

Gor Mahia send warning to rivals ahead of SportPesaCup defence

Gor Mahia FC, the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions have warned rivals to brace for a tough battle in the third edition of SportPesa Cup slated for January 22 to 27, 2019 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

The 17-time SPL winners will be out to defend the international tournament for the third time in a row, after bagging the 2017 and 2018 editions.

“We are actually alive to the fact that other clubs are determined to take the crown from us this time round but we want to assure them that it will be no mean task. To them I say, let us meet again in Tanzania,” Gor Mahia chairman, Ambrose Rachier, underlined.

Kenya’s Bandari FC and Tanzania’s Mbao FC are the new inclusion in the annual challenge whose winner get the chance to play English Premier League (EPL) side, Everton FC.

Bandari earned their cut into the knockout championships after they finished second in the 2018 SPL season with 62 points behind Gor who won the league with 75.

“We appreciate this opportunity which is very good for our team where 80 per cent of the players are young with an average age of 23.It will be a good exposure for them for they are the ones who put in all the effort to get us to number on the log this year,” Bandari CEO, Edward Oduor, underlined.

Apart from the Mombasa based outfit and Gor, other Kenyan sides in the competition are Kariobangi Sharks FC and AFC Leopards SC who were finalists last year.

Likewise, Tanzania will provide four teams including Tanzania Premier League winners, Simba SC and their perennial rivals, Yanga SC. Others are Singida United FC and Mbao FC.

Bragging rights

The tournament winner will host Everton who are nine time EPL title-holders in a SportPesa Trophy challenge in their country; it will be the second time that the Toffees would be visiting East Africa.

SportPesa Chief Marketing Officer, Kelvin Twissa, who welcomed Bandari and Mbao into the contest,emphasized: “This competition is geared at exposing the local talent to give our players a chance to be scouted as well as play with the best in the region to improve their careers and skills.”

The first edition of the championships was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in June 2017 while the second was in Nakuru, Kenya in June 2018.

Gor earned the bragging rights to play Everton twice , in Dar on July 13, 2017 which ended 2-1 to the visitor’s favour and away at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England on November 6, 2018 which the hosts triumphed 4-0.

Tanzania Football Federation Secretary General, Wilfred Kidao, pledged that the federation would work with global gaming firm, SportPesa, to improve the game in Tanzania.

Hit or miss? Kenyans give their opinions regarding Dennis Oliech joining Gor Mahia

Kenya’s legendary forward and former Harambee Stars skipper, Dennis Oliech joined Gor Mahia this past week on a two-year deal, ending speculations regarding his return to Kenyan football scene.

Gor Mahia sign ex Harambee Stars coach Dennis Oliech on two year contract

33-year-old Oliech, who is Kenya’s all time goal scorer with 34 goals, is set to earn Sh350,000 a month, with his signing fee reported to be worth more than Sh3 million, has drawn much reactions from football fans across the country.

Many focused on his bumper salary which will make him KPL’s highest paid player, pointing out that as much as no one argues about his talent, Gor Mahia should have channeled the money towards recruiting much younger and exciting prospects.

We caught up with a number of Kenyans who gave their views regarding the whole transfer.

Was Dennis Oliech denied access to the VIP section during the Harambee Stars match?

Watch the video below and feel free to add your sentiments in the comment section.

 

New era! Gor Mahia appoints Hassan Oktay as their new head coach

Gor Mahia have appointed Hassan Oktay as their new head coach on a two-year deal, replacing the departed Dylan Kerr. The club has confirmed.

“We have appointed Hassan Oktay to be the head coach of the team and that means he will replace Dylan Kerr and will be assisted by Zedekiah Otieno. The coach has signed a two year contract which will be renewable,” Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier announced in a statement.

Kerr left the East African giants in November after guiding them to another Kenyan premier league title, taking up a coaching role at the newly promoted South African premier league side, Black Leopards.

‘The K’ogalo faithful, forever in my heart’ Dylan Kerr pens emotional letter as he ditches Gor Mahia

In his resignation letter dated November 15, Kerr indicated that he will be taking another coaching role for the new season and thanked all the club officials.

“With a very sad heart, l have decided to accept another coaching role for the 2018/19 season,” read part of the letter addressed to Rachier.

“I want to put on record that l thank you Mr Chairman for giving me the chance to work with you and more importantly for Gor Mahia FC.”

Kerr also thanked Gor Mahia players and asked them to remain focused on their careers.

“To players, all l can say is a thank you for being amazing – everyone played their part with fun, enthusiasm, hard work and most of all belief in what l demanded for both on and off the field. I hope you continue having the vision l constantly told you and always remember no regrets,” the letter said.

Being one of the fans’ favourite, Kerr did not not forget to thank Gor Mahia fans.

“The Ko’galo faithful ‘Tibim’ Gorrrr Gorrrr Mahia, forever in my heart, forever family, forever friends you made all this work with your lust for passion on the field and your quest for us to be the best… You are the best.”

 

Tutaambia nini watu: Kenyans react following Gor Mahia’s 4-0 loss to Everton

Kenyan football fans have made their feelings known following KPL champions, Gor Mahia’s 4-0 loss to English giants Everton, on Tuesday night at Goodison park stadium.

Video of the day: Raila Odinga’s pep talk for Gor Mahia will make your year!

K’ogalo put up a spirited fight against a much changed Everton side and would have settled for a much desirable scoreline but the Toffees added two more goals towards stoppage time through Nathan Broadhead and Oumar Niasse to seal the deserved victory.

The Toffees head coach Marco Silva fielded a different team from the team that played Brighton over the weekend with Yerry Mina getting his maiden start.

Everton dominated the match and took a two nil lead at the break through Ademola Lookman and Kieran Dowell.

Gor had a chance to reduce deficit but Francis Moustapha shot wide in an open net. Kogallo were using the match to prepare for the new Kenyan premier league season.

Below are some of the reactions from the local fans.

Raila Odinga and Sports CS Rashid visit Gor Mahia in the UK

Poa internet: It didn’t go exactly as we had thought lakini we can’t consider this a failure it’s a good opportunity for us to improve

Odhiambo: Embarrassed but it’s okay we just didn’t play our game the team Fielded was beatable it’s only that we were kind of afraid of the name

Daktari: Tutaaambia Nini Watu????😪😭😭😭😭😭Bakini Uku Tuu… Msirudi Yani number Of Kenyan Presidents….Kila Prezzo Na Bao Yake😭😭😭😡😡😡

Drexdala: When u lose u become famous. When u win u become legends. The fame is enough…Thank You

Raila Odinga and Sports CS Rashid visit Gor Mahia in the UK

Gor Mahia has had a great experience when it comes to training in the UK for the preparation of the game against Everton.

They have been practicing for a while and different governmental personnel went to visit them and see the progress they are making.

They have been dressing quite warmly due to the cold weather but even though it might be different to that of Kenya it has not slowed them or rather stopped them from practicing day by day.

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They have been seen wearing different uniforms during their practice.

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They have been seen wearing clothes branded SportPesa  which shows the partnership the team has with the company.

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Raila Odinga, and the Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid also went to see how the team was faring.

They had a one on one with the players.

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The players were also seen at the Everton Stadium having a one on one.

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Video of the day: Raila Odinga’s pep talk for Gor Mahia will make your year!

The video below of rt. honorable Raila Odinga giving Gor Mahia players a pep talk ahead of their Everton friendly will make your day, month and year altogether!

Gor mahia are scheduled to play Everton tonight in their Sportpesa cup friendly at the Goodison park.

Photo of the day: Gor Mahia squad looking sharp ahead of their friendly against Everton

Raila who is in the UK , paid the Kenyan premier league champions a visit where he encouraged them to show up and beat the English giants. He asked them to be confident and play their game believing they can win since they are playing fellow human beings.

“Just go there and have confidence and  play your game. These are human beings like you.” He said.

Wana mbili na wewe una mbili. Ama wako na tatu?” He posed.

Watch the hilarious clip below.