Gor coach Pinto says no pressure as Mashemeji derby beckons


Gor coach Pinto says no pressure as Mashemeji derby beckons
AFC Leopards marksman Elvis Rupia charges forward with the ball during a clash with Gor Mahia at Kasarani Stadium

In Summary

  • Recent results have skewed in favour of Gor who have won each of their last league encounters against Leopards and only last tasted defeat five years ago but the champions will be under no illusion of the threat posed an opponent that is currently one of the FKF Premier League's form teams
  • Leopards have made an impressive start to their campaign winning six of their opening matches, ranking fourth on the FKF-PL standings and five points behind the leaders Tusker FC who have played two extra games. Gor have 15 points from eight matches

Gor Mahia FC head coach Manuel Pinto says he is under no pressure as he approaches Sunday’s clash against derby rivals AFC Leopards that would mark one of his most significant matches since he took charge of the Kenyan champions in January.

Recent results have skewed in favour of Gor who have won each of their last league encounters against Leopards and only last tasted defeat five years ago but the champions will be under no illusion of the threat posed an opponent that is currently one of the FKF Premier League’s form teams.

Leopards have made an impressive start to their campaign winning six of their opening matches, ranking fourth on the FKF-PL standings and five points behind the leaders Tusker FC who have played two extra games. Gor have 15 points from eight matches.

Portuguese coach Pinto laid his hopes on the kind of ‘explicit away display’ by his charges last weekend in Mombasa where they defeated Bandari FC 3-1.

‘’As I have always said, pressure is only when we don’t have money to give food to our players. We have done a lot in terms of preparation and we are ready for whichever team,’’ said Pinto.

The tactician who recently introduced three more players to his camp including Brazilian Wilson Fonseca says no players is better than the other. He added that the players will be fielded according to how they have performed in training.

‘’I cannot say Wilson is better than other players. But there are cases when we need strikers of his calibre. He brings in some experience that we lack but he will need time to adapt with the rest of the team players’’.

Meanwhile AFC Leopards coach Anthony Kimani has also said they are not pegging their Sunday performance of the goodies they have been promised for a win against KÓgalo. Kimani says they will just work hard at least to redeem AFC Leopards lost glory.

Last week club chairman Dan Shikanda promised all the 30 players on the squad a house each should they win this season’s league.

‘’We have given all the players an offer of a house each in Nairobi if they win the league and another should they retain the title next season,’’ said Shikanda.

Leopards have not beaten Gor since 2016 and Kimani thinks this is the right time to reverse the common results. Both teams are going through mixed results and only the final whistle will determine who takes home the bragging rights.

Gor Mahia lost most of the players who featured in their last derby when they beat AFC Leopards 1-0 at the same venue.

Players who decamped to other teams who featured in that match include the sole goal scorer Boniface Omondi who ditched the record giants for moneybags Wazito FC.

Not with-standing, KÓgalo recruited both local and foreign substitutes for the players who left a win for them will be a facelift ahead of their CAF Confederation group stage qualifiers against Zambia’s Napsa Stars on February 14 in Nairobi.

Both teams had applied to the Sports ministry to allow at least 2,500 fans from either side to attend the match and they are yet to get any feedback.

The federation has however warned fans to keep of the stadium saying the match has come at a time when fans are not allowed to flock into any stadium to watch matches

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Story By Milton Ochieng
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