Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in the eye of GOtv Shield storm

By alex wafula
Jul 07, 2017
  • Gor Mahia stewards try to calm down the fans in a previous match. The team is under pressure from the fans as they prepare to face Bandari. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will be the focus this weekend as the GOtv Shield reaches the second round.

The two, despite recording convincing wins in the Shield a fortnight ago have been struggling in the league and have an opportunity to rediscover their paths with the Cup.

AFC Leopards need a win at all costs when they host Nairobi Stima at the Mumias Complex on Saturday.

Ingwe, winless in eight league matches have previously had a decent record in Mumias and hope for the same midas touch to lift the burden off their backs.

Stand-in coach Tom Juma, holding brief before Robert Matano takes charge next week concedes the team has an obligation to win.

“We don’t want to put ourselves under pressure. We just want to go and play well and ensure we win. We are in a situation where we have to get something to lift our morale, but the most important thing is not to let it get into our heads,” Juma told Sports News Arena.

Their 15-1 thrashing of Nyanza Provincial League side Dero FC in the first round will push them into the Nairobi Stima tie shoulders high, but they come up against a side that is unbeaten in 14 matches and has conceded only two goals.

Noting that Ingwe’s most recent struggles have been scoring, it will not be business as usual against the second-placed side in the National Super League.

Juma concedes it will not be easy against a team coached by someone he faced time and again during his playing days, Ibrahim Shikanda.

“They are a tough team and we should not go there with the mentality they are an NSL side. This is a cup game and cup games are never predictable. We need to go in there with a positive attitude and a serious approach,” Juma added.

Former KPL players

Nairobi Stima have several ex-KPL players in their ranks with the likes of former Gor Mahia Ugandan midfielder Ivan Anguyo, former Tusker FC title winning captain Joseph Shikokoti who has also played for AFC Leopards and Victor Omune, who also turned out for Ingwe last season.

AFC Leopards will be without the injured quartet of Allan Katterega, Marcus Abwao, Salim Abdallah and Whyvonne Isuza.

While AFC Leopards battle out with Nairobi Stima in Mumias, their arch rivals Gor Mahia will be at the Thika Sub-County Stadium taking on 2015 champions Bandari FC.

Gor’s stand-in coach Zedekiah Otieno is also holding brief as he awaits the new boss Englishman Dylan Kerr who arrives Sunday evening.

Gor Mahia are the record champions of the tourney having won it 10 times but their league form is worrying as they prepare to face Bandari.

Over the last two league assignments, they lost 2-0 to Sofapaka and drew 2-2 with Ulinzi Stars.

In between though, they managed a 3-1 win over Nairobi Water in the Shield first round.

The players are under pressur from fans to perform.

“We are always under pressure no matter what because the fans are always demanding results from us. We know this is another tough match but our determination is to get a win. When we started the season, our target was to win four trophies. We already have one and this is an opportunity to keep working for the second,” Musa Mohammed, the K’Ogalo skipper said.

The two sides have already met once this season in a league fixture in Mombasa, with Gor winning 2-1. But heading into Sunday, stakes will be raised.

Bandari come into the tie beaming with confidence after a 1-0 away result over defending champions Tusker FC and Paul Nkata who beat Gor Mahia twice last season with Tusker.

At the same time, defending champions Tusker will be in Meru, taking on second tier side Palos FC at the Kinoru Stadium.

With eyes fixed on another season double, George Nsimbe, the Tusker coach will be throwing his best arsenal at the Kisumu-based side.

He however says he might tweak his side a bit, giving players who have played less minutes in the league an opportunity to shine.

New signing

One of them is new signing Boniface Muchiri who scored in Thursday’s friendly match against NSL side Wazito.

“We won’t make very many changes. We just want to ensure that everyone plays. But I know we will still have a very strong team because the competition for places has made players up their game,” Nsimbe said.

Palos, placed seventh on the NSL standings booked a slot in the second round after a 5-1 win over lower tier side Griffin, but prior to that they had won only one of their last five matches, drawing the rest.

New coach Hesbon Nyabinge who takes charge after leaving his assistant coach role at Western Stima will not be new to Tusker. He expects a tough encounter, but reckons his side will be in to fully compete.

“We respect Tusker and we know it is going to be a tough match. But we have ambitions and we will be going to give it a push,” Nyabinge who will be in charge for his fifth match said.

In other matches, Ulinzi Stars, finalists from last season will be at home to SoNy Sugar. The two met three weeks ago with the match ending 1-1 at the same venue.

Benjamin Nyangweso, the Ulinzi coach knows what threat SoNy poses, but is happy that Boniface Muchiri who caused them trouble the last time they met will not be there.

The soldiers hope to go one better than last season and win the Shield for the first time in their history. They are also seek to break a domestic title drought that runs all the way back to 2011 when they won the KPL Top 8 Cup.

SoNy, winners of the Kenyan Premier League in 2006 are also looking for their maiden domestic cup. They did not participate last season to concentrate on avoiding relegation.

GOtv Shield Round of 32 fixtures (Kick off 3 p.m. unless stated)

Saturday: Zetech v Kakamega Homeboyz (2 p.m.), AFC Leopards v Nairobi Stima (Mumias Complex, 4 p.m.), Mwatate United v Butterfly FC (Wundanyi Stadium, Voi), Kenpoly v Kariobangi Sharks (2 p.m.), Nakumatt v Modern Coast (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos 4 p.m.), Ulinzi Stars v Sony Sugar (Afraha Stadium), Coast Stima v Nzoia Sugar (Mbaraki Complex), Karatina Homeboyz v GFE 105 (2 p.m.), Sofapaka v Western Stima (Thika Sub-County Stadium, 4 p.m.).

Sunday: Young Divers v Eldoret Youth (Mbaraki Complex), Wazito v KCB (2 p.m.), Ushuru v Vihiga United (Camp Toyoyo 4 p.m.), Bidco FC v Rainforest (2 p.m.), Gor Mahia v Bandari, (Thika Sub County Stadium 4 p.m.), Taqwa v Savannah (2 p.m.), Tusker v Palos (Kinoru Stadium Meru 4 p.m.).