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Gor, AFC shift focus to league after setting up derby cup final

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | June 15th 2021
Gor Mahia's Cliffton Miheso and Lambert Otieno (left) of Bidco fighting for Betway Cup in the semi final match at Utalii Sports Club. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Fresh from setting up a Mashemeji derby in the Betway Cup final, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will be seeking to continue FKF Premier League title push as the league resumes today after a two-week break.

Gor Mahia saw off Bidco United 4-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regular time at Utalii Grounds on Sunday to set up a repeat of the 2013 domestic cup final with their perennial rivals who had also edged out Equity FC 6-5 on penalties following a barren draw at the same venue.

And with the two arch-rivals already having a realistic chance of representing the country in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup as well as pocketing Sh2 million prize money when they clash on July 4, focus now shifts to the league.

While record champions Gor Mahia, who appear to have dragged themselves back into the title race after registering five wins in a row, will be facing relegation threatened Mathare United at Utalii Grounds tomorrow, joint second-placed AFC Leopards will be aiming to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat to Bidco when they clash with Sofapaka in Wundanyi.

Gor are fourth on the log with 31 points, five behind Ingwe and seven shy of leaders Tusker.

Despite facing stiff competition for a double this season from the likes of Tusker, KCB and AFC, Gor Mahia captain Harun Shakava says they are motivated by their recent form.

The return of Shakava to K’ogalo followed by his reappointment as the captain seems to have helped spark a turnaround in the club’s fortunes.

Gor Mahia's John Macharia is tackled by Bidco's Zacharia Gathu during Betway Cup in the semifinal match at Utalii Sports Club. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“We are all motivated by the recent results and everybody is looking forward to a successful season after a bad start. Many of the players in the group are young and have not won a title, so they want to enjoy the success of winning titles,” said Shakava.

“Though we have a busy and unpredictable season with congested fixtures, we are just taking one game at a time. But we are all determined to continue with this good run until the end of the campaign.”

Asked if his return has played any role in their resurgence, Shakava said: “Honestly, there is nothing special I have done but I think I have instilled some belief and confidence.”

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