Gor Mahia captain Kenneth Muguna feels Sunday’s Mashemeji derby against AFC Leopards at Kasarani Stadium will not have a decisive impact on the Kenyan Premier League title race.
The record champions go into the 88th edition of the derby sitting at the top of the table (51) with a four point gap over second placed Kakamega Homeboyz and eleven points ahead of their sixth-placed arch rivals AFC Leopards.
Though Gor‘s leaky defence remains a concern to its faithful, their better record against Ingwe has them believing of extending their dominance in the derby-the biggest match in the Kenyan football history.
And another positive news for Gor coach Steven Polack is that he will be welcoming back hard-tackling defender Joash Onyango from suspension.
Gor are unbeaten in their last eight league meetings against AFC Leopards, with the latter’s win (1-0) coming way back in 2016.
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K’Ogalo’s abundance of attacking talent has seen them score 47 goals this season so far, but conceded seventeen goals with eight of them coming from their last four matches against Western Stima (3-2, 1-1), Zoo (2-3) and Sofapaka (3-1).
With eleven games left, a victory for Gor would effectively give them a seven point advantage over Kakamega, who travel to Sofapaka in their next match on March 18.
But even as Muguna, who made a winning derby debut as Gor captain in the reverse encounter (4-1), appreciates the importance of this game, he believes the result will not decide the title race.
“We can’t afford to slip up again in any of our remaining eleven matches because the title race is still too tight to call,” Muguna told Standard Sports.
“The derby is a big match but I doubt if it will determine who will win the title. This is just one of our remaining matches, therefore a win will just but give us a boost to finish the season on a high note.
“We are focused and determined to collect all the maximum points in all the remaining fixtures. But this doesn’t mean that we are underrating AFC Leopards. They are in a great form and are also coming for the three points, but we are more than ready to fight as a team.”
And with the two rivals enjoying a fine run of form, the Kenyan international expects more twists and turns in the title race after Sunday’s duel.
Both teams registered morale-boosting wins ahead of Sunday’s eagerly awaited tie. While Gor edged out Western Stima 3-2, Leopards beat Chemelil Sugar 1-0.
“I think from both team’s current form, whoever will be hungrier for results will carry the day,” said Muguna.
“However, remember, if we win the derby and go on to lose all the remaining matches, we will not be champions. It is as simple as that. But as a captain I would love to complete to win the derby again.”