Impeccable Gor swagger to 16th league crown
Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to this renascent Gor Mahia side is how ruthlessly determined they have been in returning to the top having watched their Kenyan Premier League (KPL) hegemony threatened by Tusker.
But on Saturday, they laid it bare; separating facts from fiction, beating Ulinzi Stars clean and square on a rain swept and muddy Kericho Green Stadium to claim the coveted 16th crown on 66 points.
And it was none other than the ageless Rwandese import Meddie Kagere, who like the proverbial wine is getting better with age who rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
Kagere, a mainstay in the squad scored the lone goal in the 13th minute to hand K’Ogalo the crown with four games to spare.
On the terraces, drum beats and chants of victory set the Gor Mahia party on long before the men in green strut onto the pitch to complete a race that has only felt like a title procession in recent months.
Such was the magnitude of joy for the K’Ogalo faithful that even their chairman Ambrose Rachier, normally a cool and collected figure, joined a section of the home crowd in dance to send the mood into overdrive and ring home the title bells.
Gor needed just one point to secure a record 16th KPL title but it was not what they wanted. Not against this opposition against whom their rivalry has only widened in recent years.
Teams in their wing-mirrors have not been accorded the luxury of finding the slightest flicker of hope at catching Gor who now capture the title with four matches to spare and leading their closest assailant by a whopping 18 points.
The match got off to a lively start with both sides eager to impress early on but it is the visitors that drew first blood after only 13 minutes.
The breakthrough came via Kagere as the Rwandan striker got on the end of a sweeping move to squeeze in the opener and take his league tally to 11, just one behind teammate Jacques Tuyisenge and Kepha Aswani of Nakumatt FC who are joint leaders in the race for the golden boot.
Gor quickly overran Ulinzi after the quarter hour following an even start with Tuyisenge coming close to adding the second moments later only to fire wide off the mark with the angle also working against him.
In the 20th minute, Walusimbi swung a well measured cross that found Kenneth Muguna but the midfielder’s was too weak and Otieno picked it up for a comfortable save.
The visitors were unrelenting in their push for a quick second, with Kagere and his partner upfront Tuyisenge turning on the style with an eye-catching piece of interchange play.
After soaking the pressure, Samuel Onyango led the hosts for a fast break, running at and beating Harun Shakava to test keeper Frederick Otieno for the first time.
Gor went to the break heads high following the dominant first half display but laboured to find their rhythm at the restart as Ulinzi looked to sting before they could settle right back.
Fredrick Oluoch, 5. Musa Mohammed, 18. Haron Shakava, 4.Wellington Ochieng, 2. Godfrey Walusimbi, 30. Philemon Otieno, 10. Kenneth Muguna, 8. Francis Kahata, 25. George Odhiambo, 22. Meddie Kagere, 9. JacquesTuyisenge
16. Shaban Odhonji, 7. Jean Baptiste, 27. Anthony Mbugua, 14. Innocent Wafula, 20. Earnest Wendo, Joachim, 19. Jeconia Uyog
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