Passions run high ahead of Gor/AFC clash

Oct 19, 2010

Premiership action continues on Friday with Mathare United taking on Tusker on Friday evening, but the spotlight will be on the Gor Mahia v AFC Leopards clash at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Third-placed Tusker have not given up the fight to catch up with leaders Ulinzi Stars and they will be the team more hungry to win the Friday clash7pm kick-off.

On Saturday, second placed Gor Mahia will be even keener on victory. Their chances of the title hang on their winning all their remaining four matches while hoping that Ulinzi falter in at least two remaining encounters.

The title chase is one incentive for Gor Mahia to come out with all their guns blazing against Leopards, the other being there is no other match that ignites as much passion among both Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards supporters than this one.

The last blast at each other was during the first leg on May 26. A sensational 84th minute goal by Dimonde Selenge Mangili gave the then struggling Leopards an upset 1-0 win over Gor Mahia.

Leopards are living under the shadow of some spectacular season by Gor Mahia. A dead-on-mid-table placing is not what Leopards are proud of at the moment while seeing their bitter rivals still retaining an outside chance of winning the title this season.

It’s another huge day for the Premiership and plans are in place to deal with the ever increasing crowds especially at matches pitting the “Big Two” of Kenyan soccer.

Ticket Masters Limited, the firm that mans stadium gates for most Kenyan Premier League clubs, were planning for a smooth welcome of fans to the Saturday match.

Anticipating a sell-out crowd for at least the premier sitting at the stadium, George Ocholla of Ticket Masters said they would have a controlled 3,000 tickets only, at Sh400, for the VIP stand. For the rest of terrace sitting it will be Sh100/-.

“we plan to sell the tickets on Thursday and Friday at outlets set at Kenya and 20th Century cinemas in Nairobi. On Saturday, tickets will sell at the stadium for only up to 12 noon,” Ocholla said.

On the pitch, the teams will be a lot different from what they were on May 26. For starters, Leopards will be without Chris Makokha, the coach in charge then and whose place was taken up by Robert Matano before another change brought in the current head coach Daniel “Dino” Kitavi.

Going by the shape of their team in their last match on Monday against Chemelil,Leopards could be taking the pitch on Saturday with at least seven men who did not start against Gor Mahia last May. Goalie Barnabas Tiema is currently preferred over Lawrence Webo and Wellington Murwayi and Harry Gentle were in defence on Monday in place of Edwin Wafula and Martin Imbalambala.

The other current 1st XI members who did not start in the first encounter are James Orundu, John Kio, Dimonde Selenge Mangili and Paul Odhiambo.

Eight of Gor Mahia who played against Leopards last time out were on the pitch last Saturday when K’Ogalo tied 0-0 with Karuturi Sports in Naivasha. Solomon Nasio, Anthony Akumu and Elisha Ochieno were the only men who did not start on May 26.