AFC Leopards hold the key to 2016 KPL title

By alex wafula
Nov 04, 2021
  • Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards fans could be united to see a favorable result for the Tusker/AFC Leopards match. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

They have been arch rivals for more than five decades, but on Sunday, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards fans could be united as Ingwe takes on Tusker FC at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium.

Gor Mahia, the Kenyan Premier League defending champions are four points behind Tusker on the log. They will be playing Muhoroni Youth on Saturday and if they win, that gap drops to a point if their arch rivals do them a favor and hold Tusker.

 Because Gor plays Tusker in the final game of the season, any kind of dropped points in Nakuru will hand the 15-time champions an opportunity to give a shot at a fourth consecutive league title.

“We have to hope things work our way. For us it is just to win our matches. It is a situation beyond our hands,” Jose Marcelo Ferreira, the Gor Mahia coach said ahead of the weekend’s title defining matches.

Tusker will be crowned champions if they win against AFC Leopards in Nakuru. This will be Stewart Hall’s first match in charge of Ingwe and he has promised no favors to anyone just like Salim Babu of Sony Sugar did.

In 2015, he denied Gor Mahia a chance to win the CECAFA Kagame Cup while at Azam and for a second year running, he might be the man between them and K’Ogalo’s happiness.

“I work for AFC Leopards. Not Gor or Tusker. I want to make AFC Leopards happy by ensuring we play well,” the coy Hall said ahead of the match.

Tusker who are on the verge of a season double are playing it cool ahead of the match. Paul Nkata, the brewers’ head coach is not getting carried away by the fact they are just three points shy of the title.

“We don’t expect a favor from AFC Leopards. We are approaching this match very seriously and we will do our best. We don’t want to get things on a silver platter,” the Ugandan who joined Tusker from Muhoroni Youth in January told Sports News Arena.

AFC Leopards out of Top 8 contention

AFC Leopards are out of contention for the top eight but are looking to finish strongly after failing to win in the last five matches. Hall insists though that nothing much should be expected in the last two games, but said he would want to see the players fight.

Meanwhile, senior players Kepha Aswani, Lucas Indeche, Edwin Wafula and Yussuf Juma were sacked by the club on Thursday over what was alleged as indiscipline.

“They have been dividing the team, inciting other players to down their tools because of allowances. We can’t allow divisive figures in the team. We have followed the rules and will pay them two months’ salaries as the contract stipulates,” AFC Leopards Deputy Secretary General Elijah Omung’ala alleged.

But getting into the match, the bookmakers will tip Tusker to pick all three points as in the last 15 meetings, AFC Leopards has beaten the brewers only once, a 1-0 result in 2014. In the other 14 encounters, Tusker has won nine times while the remaining five ended in draws.

At the same time, the battle for the single remaining relegation slot will be as intense as the battle for the title. It will not only be Gor Mahia needing favors from anyone.

Sofapaka, the 2009 league champions will need a favor from relegated Nairobi City Stars who play 14th placed Ushuru on Friday afternoon.

If City Stars beat Ushuru and Sofapaka win at home to Mathare United, then Batoto ba Mungu will occupy 14th place and the tax men slip down to the relegation zone ahead of the final game of the season.

Only three points separate the two. “No one wants to wish something bad on their colleague but at this point of the season, you only pray for yourself. We are hoping that City Stars do us a favor then on Saturday we put all our energy against Mathare,” John Baraza, the Sofapaka coach said ahead of the match.

KPL Weekend fixtures. (Kick off 3 p.m. unless stated)

Friday: City Stars v Ushuru (Ruaraka Complex).

Saturday: Gor Mahia v Muhoroni Youth (Moi Stadium, Kisumu 2 p.m.), Bandari v Western Stima (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa), Thika United v Chemelil Sugar (Thika Stadium), Mathare United v Sofapaka, Sony Sugar v Posta Rangers (Awendo Stadium), Kakamega Homeboyz v Ulinzi Stars (Mumias Complex).

Sunday: Tusker FC v AFC Leopards (Afraha Stadium, Nakuru).