Things you need to know as K’Ogalo and Ingwe renew rivalry

By Brian Murumba: Thursday, May 16th 2019 at 11:59 GMT +3 | Football
The Mashemeji Derby action [Courtesy]

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are set to renew their 51-year-old rivalry on Sunday when they clash in the eagerly awaited ‘Mashemeji Derby’ at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani.

The derby is the oldest rivalry in Kenyan football history. This is perhaps due to the weight it carries and the history it represents.

The first Mashemeji Derby

The rivalry has been around for 51 years now [Courtesy]

The two arguably biggest clubs in the country have been bitter rivals since they first clashed on 5 May 1968. The first Mashemeji Derby was played at the Nairobi City Stadium when Gor Mahia were just fresh from the merger of Luo Union FC and Luo stars FC, which took place on February 20, 1968.

Gor Lineup

James Siang’a, Arthur Omondi, Paul Ndula, Samson Odore, John “Hatari” Owiti, Joseph “Mwalimu” Okeyo, Walter Molo, Steve “McQueen” Yongo, William “Chege” Ouma, John Wambudo and Chris Obure.

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On that day, AFC Leopards, then known as Abaluhya FC were already four years old, two-time Kenyan Champions and reigning East African Champions.

AFC Leopards lineup

Johnstone Tiema, Charles Makunda, Jonathan Niva, Anthony Mukabwa, Moses Wabwai, Daniel Anyanzwa, Joe Kadenge, Livingstone Madegwa, John Nyawanga, John Ambani and Noah Wanyama.

The most notable part in this first derby was the two sides boasting the best forwards in Kenyan football - Joe Kadenge (Ingwe) and William “Chege” Ouma (Gor). The two forwards dominated the headlines with Kadenge pitched as a veteran who already had a cap for the Kenyan national team in 1956 and was named the king of dribble by the media. ‘Chege’, on the other hand, was a young striker who was good at what he did and had a long football career ahead of him.

Weird happenings in Mashemeji Derbies

Gor super fan Jaro Soja [Courtesy]

Blowing of white dust on Referee at the tunnel

Scouts of both K’Ogalo and Ingwe were notorious for blowing dust to match officials before they got on to the pitch, which was believed to counter any powers that the opposition might have used to win the match.

Ingwe players refusing to use Nyayo stadium dressing room

At some point, AFC Leopards' stars declined to use the Nyayo Stadium dressing room simply because they believed that Gor fans had sneaked a corpse into the room the previous night. They went ahead to change outside the stadium as a result.

Referee finding a chicken head on the pitch

The match official was shocked to find a chicken head in the middle of the pitch when he was just about to start a match. He had to pick it up and throw it to the touchline before he started the match.

Fans and hooliganism

Derby day is always marked with dramatic scenes in the Nairobi CBD [Courtesy]

The fan passion during matches puts pressure on match officials and the players and as a result adds intensity to the derby matches. This sometimes leads to high tempers which result in cases of hooliganism. When such cases happen, Gor fans usually find themselves on the wrong side of the law more than their counterparts’.

Gor Hooliganism incidences

Fans attacked Sony Sugar Players after winning their 2013 FKF President's Cup injuring goalkeeper Wycliffe Kasaya.

Fans attacked Sofapaka officials during a 2013 Kenyan Premier League match. They descended on the club's assistant coach Martin Ndagano and their medic Charles Omondi, forcing them out of the stadium, and making away with the latter's mobile phone in the process.

AFC Leopards Hooliganism incidences

In 2014, AFC Leopards fans descended onto the pitch in the 85th minute in frustration at their side's failure to come back from a 1–0 deficit. The incident cost Leopards the game, as the KPL handed Thika United a 2–0 win, fining Ingwe Sh500,000. ?