Mbungo, Okaty acknowledge opponents’ potency, promise fireworks in derby
- AFC Leopards’ eternal rivals Gor Mahia have everything to fight for in the Sunday’s Kenyan premier League clash (KPL) at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, head coach Andre Cassa Mbungo has said.
- Mbungo, who will be leading Leopards in his just second derby, will be seeking to revenge the 2-0 baptism of fire he was subjected to just after his arrival at the den, his second match in the KPL.
- The 86th of the clash christened ‘Mashameji Derby’ will however derive flavor from contention of bragging rights than trophy tussle, as Gor are one hand on their 18th gong while Leopards are tucked at ninth, a whopping 27 points behind them.
AFC Leopards and their eternal rivals Gor Mahia have everything to fight for in the Sunday’s Kenyan premier League (KPL) clash at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, Ingwe’s head coach Andre Casa Mbungo has said.
Mbungo, who will be leading Leopards in his just second derby, will be seeking to revenge the 2-0 baptism of fire he was subjected to just after his arrival at the den, his second match in the KPL.
The 86th of the clash christened ‘Mashameji Derby’ will however derive flavor from contention of bragging rights than trophy tussle, as Gor are one hand on their 18th gong while Leopards are tucked at ninth, a whopping 27 points behind them.
“We may not be fighting for a title but we will be in a league match. Leagues are not like knockouts where once you lose you are out. Here we must play eyeing the best total tally of points we can at the end of the season.
“I also understand the weight of the match considering the history of the two clubs. Our focus will be to get the best possible out the match, not about delaying Gor title crowning but to reward ourselves as a team and fans. However, we don’t want this particular match to be the one that gives them the title. This is a derby and the 90 minutes will be what determines the winner, not the position on the table,” offered the Rwandese.
A win for Gor and a loss to Bandari who will be away to Mathare United on Wednesday will assure Hassan Oktay’s men a successful title defense, and a third in arrow.
However, Leopards can draw inspiration from Nzoia Sugar who overcame Gor 1-0 in the midweek, raising questions about their competitiveness and zeal as they smell the title with four matches in hand.
“We cannot look at the Nzoia- Gor result and say that’s a reason for us to beat them. We also lost to KCB, and we thought we should have done better. Those were different matches, different opponents and different inspirations. The important thing is that we want to finish the season strongly in the remaining matches,” the tactician said.
Having helped Ingwe out of the relegation zone where he found the 13-time champions, Mbungo says he’s already looking into the coming season seeking to build a stronger team.
His opposite number Hassan Oktay has described Leopards a better team than the side they beat 2-0 in the first leg, courtesy of Kenneth Muguna and Francis Kahata goals.
“We have prepared well, and we are ready for the derby. They (Leopards) recruited good players during the transfer window and there is a lot of improvement. We are however going for maximum points,” a confident Oktay said.
Since that first clash on May 5, 1968 between the two sides, every other meeting has been an opportunity of the eternal rivals to grab bragging rights albeit the diminishing rivalry arising from fading of the Leopard.
Ingwe has not won the league since1998, a trophy drought that has given Gor arguably justifiable superiority thus weakening the derby.
Meanwhile, KPL Head of Technical Services, Safety and Security GMT Otieno has appealed to fans to be calm during the match, to avoid ugly scenes that have been witnessed in some of the past matches.
“Let the fans comply with stewards during frisking and any guidance given at the entry because it is meant to assure them of their security. Enemies might use an occasion such as this to cause harm, so we cannot overlook anything suggesting peril.
“A total of 100 police officers will be deployed augmented by 80 stewards from the host club and 50 from the visiting tea, with two platoons from the General Service Unit complementing the security setup. We will have a deployment of private security who will man the VVIP area with eight officers horseback mounted and six dog handlers,” detailed Otieno.
Equally, the security committee has urged fans to arrive early for the match that kick-off at 4:15pm EAT (+3 GMT) to avoid last minute rush with the strict inspection process.
Saturday – May 18
Mt. Kenya United vs Sony Sugar FC – Machakos
Kariobangi Sharks vs KCB FC – Kasarani
Nzoia Sugar FC vs Sofapaka – Sudi
Posta Rangers vs Kakamega Homeboyz – Machakos
Sunday May 19
Western Stima vs Mathare United – Kisumu
AFC Leopards vs Gor Mahia – Kasarani
Chemelil Sugar FC vs Ulinzi Stars – Chemelil
Vihiga United vs Tusker FC – Mumias
Bandari vs Zoo FC – Mbaraki
Report by Jacob Icia and Stephen Koech.
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