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FKF-PL: No love lost as Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards face off in Mashemeji Derby

Football
 AFC Leopards Musa Oundo and Benson Omala of Gor Mahia during their Football Kenya Federation Premier League match on May 14, 2023 at Nyayo National Stadium. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

As the FKF Premier League approaches its pinnacle, all eyes will be on the much-anticipated clash between defending champions Gor Mahia and their arch-rivals AFC Leopards in the Mashemeji Derby on Sunday.

With Gor leading the table by a staggering nine points, the stakes couldn't be higher as they aim to maintain their dominance and secure another victory over their fierce adversaries.

In the first leg encounter, Gor Mahia emerged victorious with a convincing 2-0 win over AFC Leopards, setting the stage for what promises to be another thrilling showdown between the two football powerhouses.

As anticipation builds, fans are eagerly awaiting the clash at the Nyayo National Stadium, where emotions will run high as both sides seek to bag the bragging rights.

Jonathan McKinstry, the head coach of Gor Mahia, expressed confidence in his team's preparations for the derby.

"We have been working tirelessly to ensure that we are fully prepared for this crucial fixture," McKinstry stated.

"The Mashemeji Derby holds immense significance for both the club and our supporters, and we understand the importance of securing a positive result."

McKinstry emphasised the importance of maintaining their lead at the top of the table and highlighted the need for a disciplined and focused performance from his players.

"Sunday's match is not just about bragging rights; it's about consolidating our position and continuing our quest for another league title," he added.

"We must approach the game with the right mindset and execute our game plan effectively to come out on top."

Leading Gor Mahia's formidable attacking lineup will be Benson Omalla, who currently tops the league's scoring charts with an impressive tally of 12 goals.

Omalla, eyeing the golden boot award, expressed his determination to make a decisive impact in the derby.

 "The Mashemeji Derby is a special occasion, and I am fully committed to helping the team secure victory," Omalla affirmed.

"Scoring goals is my responsibility, and I will do whatever it takes to contribute to our success on Sunday."

But it will not be a walk in the park for K’Ogalo as AFC Leopards striker Victor Omune says they are determined to avenge their first leg defeat.

“The boys are in great mood as we approach Sunday’s march against our arch rivals, Gor Mahia. Being the biggest match in the land, the derby comes with some sort of pressure but we are determined to make our fans proud. It’s always a dream of every Kenyan player to play in this fixture is not only watched in East Africa but also across the continent,” Omune told the club’s media.

“We are not in an impressive position and that’s why we need the three points more than our rivals. And I would like to score in the derby again because it has one very special feeling. To our fans, let us turn up in numbers and support the team. we really need you in the stands.”

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