Gor Mahia needs only one point to win league title after beating Sharks

By alex wafula
Oct 17, 2017
  • AFC Leopards defender Dennis Sikhayi attempts to turn away from Ulinzi Stars’ Daniel Waweru in a KPL match which AFC Leopards won 1-0. (Photo by Alex Wafula).

  • Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa appreciates being named Coach of Month for August 2017. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

With a single point on Sunday against Ulinzi Stars, Gor Mahia will be crowned Kenyan Premier League champions for a record 16th time.

K’Ogalo inched closer to recouping the KPL title from Tusker FC after convincingly beating Kariobangi Sharks 3-1 at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.

Jacques Tuyisenge struck a hatrick, handing Gor Mahia a 15-point gap at the top of the standings with five rounds of matches remaining.

A point against Ulinzi who lost to AFC Leopards in Nakuru with a solitary goal will make it mathematically impossible for anyone to catch up with Gor Mahia.

Tuyisenge needed just 23 minutes to complete his hatrick. He began his destructive job in the 14th minute when he intercepted a clearance from Kariobangi Sharks keeper John Oyemba before beating him one on one.

Four minutes later, he made it 2-0 finishing off a cross from Meddie Kagere while in the 36th minute, the Rwandese forward finished off from Wellington Ochieng’s assist.

The red-hot Tuyisenge almost made it four for himself and Gor Mahia a few minutes to the break, but was denied by the crossbar.

Masoud Juma pulled one back for Sharks in the second half from the penalty spot, but it was too little too late as Gor had already done the damage.

It was a contrasting result for Kariobangi Sharks’ Friday GOtv Shield final opponents AFC Leopards who beat Ulinzi Stars 1-0 to ensure they remain motivated for the chance at silverware.

Redeem season with a trophy

Robert Matano, the AFC Leopards coach was elated with the result saying it gives them the necessary push to head into the final on Friday and redeem their season with a trophy.

“We had not been performing well but at least today the players rose to the occasion and redeemed themselves with a good performance. There is a lot of motivation and I hope that we can replicate this spirit on Friday,” the coach told Sports News Arena.

Ulinzi came into the match missing up to six first team players. Geoffrey Kokoyo, Oliver Rutto and Sammy Onyango were all suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.

Keeper James Saruni will be out for the remainder of the season because of a military career progression course while defender Mohammed Hassan was injured.

Striker Stephen Waruru who is the club’s top scorer was also left out of the squad.

In this match, AFC Leopards came close in the first minute with Marcelus Ingotsi’s shot going across the face of goal from the right.

On the other end, Omar Mbongi’s header from a Daniel Waweru cross went straight to keeper Gabriel Andika.

Ulinzi’s defense of set pieces was questionable in the opening minutes and they twice escaped with Whyvonne Isuza seeing his header saved by Ulinzi keeper Timothy Odhiambo.

Musa Mudde had another effort from a header skip inches wide from a Duncan Otieno cross.

Ulinzi found it tough to create meaningful danger from open play despite the fact that they built up nicely from the back. The closest they came was via a Churchill Muloma shot from distance which went inches wide.

On the half hour mark, Vincent Oburu who had been making inroads into the Ulinzi defense all afternoon had his first effort on target with a shot after being flicked on by Mudde, but it went straight to Odhiambo’s arms.

In the second half, Ulinzi Stars had a close opportunity two minutes after the restart when Victor Majjid almost turned the ball into his own net as he tried to block away a cross from Kasuti.

AFC Leopards pushed Ulinzi to their own half and they were rewarded in the 63rd minute when Isuza headed the ball home from a Majjid cross from the right.

The soldiers put on some last ditch effort to get an equalizer, dumping balls into the Ingwe box but Salim Abdallah put in an extra shift to defend the high balls and ensure the team warms up for the GOtv Shield final on Sunday with a win.

Ssimbwa wins monthly award

Elsewhere, Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa was on Tuesday morning awarded as the Coach of the Month for August.

The Ugandan tactician was awarded by the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya after beating Gor Mahia’s Dylan Kerr.

In August, Ssimbwa led Batoto ba Mungu to four wins and a draw, seeing his side score 15 goals in the process.

Sofapaka’s 13-point haul was only matched by Gor Mahia, but Ssimbwa edged above his K’Ogalo counterpart on the account of his side having scored more goals.

“We started the league as underdogs but it’s commendable what we have done, especially in the second leg. I’ve won such awards elsewhere in Uganda and Rwanda and winning in Kenya gives me so much joy. If I stay another season here I’m sure we will push for the title right from day one,” Ssimbwa said.

The tactician added that his basic target this season was to avoid relegation with the club having survived by the skin of their teeth last season.

He says they have surprised themselves with a decent performance and adds they will be challenging for the title next season. With the award, Ssimbwa took home Sh75,000 courtesy of the sponsors Fidelity Insurance and a commemorative plaque.