July 26, 2021

Mashemeji Derby: AFC Leopards does not scare rivals Gor Mahia – Ochola

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K’Ogalo have assured their fans they are not worried coming up against a rejuvenated Ingwe side in the first round derby

Gor Mahia have explained their readiness to face their sworn rivals AFC Leopards in an FKF Premier League derby on Sunday.

The two Kenyan giants will clash at Kasarani Stadium with K’Ogalo keen to maintain their dominance over Ingwe, who are yet to beat them in the last seven matches with the best result against their rivals coming in the 1-1 draw of the 2017-18 season with Gor Mahia winning the second round fixture 1-0.

Last season, Gor Mahia won both encounters, beating Ingwe 4-1 in the first round match before edging them out by a solitary goal en-route to winning their fourth straight league title.

Gor Mahia secretary general Sam Ochola has maintained they are not scared of Ingwe’s good start to the 2020-21 season and is confident they will beat their bitter rivals yet again.

“We have no pressure at all, there is no pressure on our boys, we expect the best from them,” Ochola told Goal on Saturday. “We have a very good team and despite AFC Leopards starting the season on a high note, and with a lot of pressure, we will tame them.

“We are very confident going into the derby, we understand the field, we understand the stadium and that is where we are, in fact, AFC Leopards doesn’t scare Gor Mahia, they should be scared more than anyone else.”

On his part, Ingwe chairman Dan Shikanda believes missing fans in the stadium because of Covid-19 restrictions, will affect the outcome of the game.

“We don’t know how it will feel playing in an empty stadium, I have a feeling the game will not have a lot of pressure for the players because they will just be 11 players against 11,” Shikanda told Goal.

“It is difficult for people to believe Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards can play in a venue without fans, it will be the first time in history, we don’t know how the players will cope and what the experience will be, but somehow it will affect the game.

“We have played previous matches without fans and for us AFC Leopards we have had it tough missing our fans because it gives other teams an advantage because they don’t have fans like we do, we also miss the Isukuti band, which always pushes the players to do well, but we have been missing that.

“On Sunday we will have a very unique derby, now without fans, I am also keenly following to see how players from both sides will push themselves to get the result.”

Ingwe are enjoying a good run in the league, after losing two matches – 2-0 (against Western Stima) and 1-0 (against Wazito) – they have gone ahead to register three straight wins – 2-1 against KCB, 2-0 against Kariobangi Sharks, and 2-1 against Posta Rangers.

On the other hand, K’Ogalo, who are the defending league champions, have also recovered from the shock 1-0 defeat against Vihiga United to win two straight matches – 3-0 against Zoo FC and 3-1 against Bandari.

AFC Leopards will also head into the derby placed ahead of Gor Mahia in the 18-team league table in fourth position with 18 points from eight matches while Gor Mahia are sixth on 15 points from eights outings.