Will Sofapaka delay Gor Mahia march to title yet again?

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Sunday, May 12th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Sofapaka’s John Avire in action against Western Stima during a KPL match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Wednesday. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Will run-away SportPesa Premier League leaders Gor Mahia complete a double over Sofapaka and continue their march towards their third consecutive title in Kisumu today?

Or will Batoto Ba Mungu repeat their 2014 upset (3-2) and delay K'Ogalo's inevitable coronation?

Well, call it a title decider or a crunch match if you like, but the fact remains the results between two of this season's heavyweights at Moi Stadium today will have serious ramifications on the title race.

In 2014, Sofapaka send the title race down to the wire after stunning Gor 3-2 in Machakos. However, K'Ogalo had the final laugh, clinching their second title in a row with 60 points after thumping Ushuru, formerly KRA, 3-0 in Kisumu as their closest rivals Sofapaka drew 2-2 with Tusker at Ruaraka.

But now with a seven-point lead (63), only a victory for Batoto Ba Mungu would delay Gor’s early title celebrations.

Interestingly, Hassan Oktay's men are likely to be given a guard of honour by their arch rivals AFC Leopards during the Mashemeji derby on May 19.  And for this to happen, K'Ogalo must beat Sofapaka today and overcome Nzoia Sugar on Wednesday to lift their 18th unprecedented title with four matches to spare.

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The highest points Sofapaka can accumulate after defeat is 68, that’s if they win the remaining four matches.

But having been part of the squad that slowed down Gor's title triumph in 2014, Sofapaka coach John Barasa is braced for another showdown with their newfound rivals.

Sofapaka secured a morale boosting 2-0 victory over Western Stima in Machakos on Wednesday as Gor registered an identical result against Chemelil Sugar in Kisumu.

"Stima win was a great morale booster ahead of the Gor Mahia fixture. We all know how today's match is, but I think it's more important to us because we want to catch up with them. Just like before, we want to take this title race to the final day of the season," Barasa told Standard Sports.

While Sofapaka have been boosted by the return from injury of leading scorer Umaru Kasumba, Gor's trio of Dennis Oliech, Jacques Tuyisenge and Shafiq Batambuze are doubtful for the tie.

As the title decider will be taking place in Kisumu, Sony Sugar and AFC Leopards will be facing off in their rescheduled abandoned game in Awendo, 153 kilometres from the lake city.

Meanwhile, Kariobangi Sharks will be hoping to continue their pursuit of a back to back Sportpesa Shield title with a win over KCB in today's semi-finals at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.

The 3.15pm encounter will be preceded by an early kick off semis between former domestic cup winners Bandari and lower tier side SS Assad.

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