Gor Mashemeji Victory: Five Things That Sunk AFC Leopards

Feb 11 - by Louis Kalinga for SportPesa News

SportPesa Premier League champions romped to a 2-0 victory over arch rivals on Saturday and SportPesa News highlights the reasons

Gor Mahia FC midfielder, Francis Kahata (left) takes on Christopher Oruchum of AFC Leopards SC during the 85th Mashemeji Derby at MISC Kasarani on Saturday, February 8, 2019. PHOTO/SPN

  • Goals in either half from Prodigal Son Kenneth Muguna and star midfielder Francis Kahata sealed the comfortable win for the record league champions who not only retained the bragging rights but rejuvenated their charge for a third straight SPL crown
  • Record signing and Rwanda striker, Jacques Tuyisenge and Nicholas Kipkirui started up front before Burundian Francis Mustapha and Ugandan Erisa Sekisambu came on, attacking options their blue and white-shirted rivals can only dream of at the moment
  • The cheery and radiant nature of the Gor fans on the day seemed to reflect on the pitch as their team turned on the style to run away with what was a comfortable win

NAIROBI, Kenya- SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions, Gor Mahia FC yet again led eternal rivals, AFC Leopards SC down the altar in a 2-0 victory on Saturday during the 85th Mashemeji Derby played at the MISC Kasarani Stadium.

Goals in either half from Prodigal Son Kenneth Muguna and star midfielder Francis Kahata sealed the comfortable win for the record league champions who not only retained the bragging rights but rejuvenated their charge for a third straight SPL crown.

Their wounded in-laws, Leopards were left to pick up the pieces of a relegation dog fight after they were left languishing in 15th with 10 points, a staggering 12 behind their adversaries who finished the weekend in second place.

READ ALSO: Gor Mahia Silence AFC Leopards In Charged Mashemeji Derby

runs the rule on the five factors that contributed to the result in the biggest game in the land.

Leopards striking woes ruthlessly exposed yet again

This was Leopards fourth straight defeat, with the team only managing to score twice during their recent run of poor form.

For an established team of Leopards' standing, the fact that captain and central defender, Robinson Kamura is the top scorer for the club this season speaks volumes of how blunt their forward line that once caused fear across East Africa has become.

Lest we forget, this is a team that has boasted lethal attackers such as the legendary Joe Kadenge, Wilberforce Mulamba to the latter day marksmen Boniface Ambani and Allan Wanga. 

Leopards began with Wayyeka Tatuwe up front and introduced Vincent Oburu in the second half, who looked lively but lacked the cutting edge to engineer a fightback. The Den is still waiting to see Oburu deliver on the early promise when he burst onto the scene in 2017.

Their lack of prowess in the final third saw them register only a single shot on target in the first half before adding two more in the second.

Even without the services of Kenya’s record goal scorer Dennis Oliech who was injured in training before the derby, Gor still possessed enough firepower upfront to punish their opponents.

Record signing and Rwanda striker, Jacques Tuyisenge and Nicholas Kipkirui started up front before Burundian Francis Mustapha and Ugandan Erisa Sekisambu came on, attacking options their blue and white-shirted rivals can only dream of at the moment.

READ ALSO: Mashemeji Derby: Champions Gor, Leopards Set For Eternal Battle

Leopards are in dire need of addressing their lack of bite upfront and with the transfer window slammed shut, they can only hope the goal-scoring bug will bite one of the available players.

Gor sensed blood and went for the kill

The worst thing that could happen for was coming to the derby deflated after losing to SPL basement Mt. Kenya United FC midweek amid turmoil at the Den.

From the moment the referee blew his first whistle Gor sensed a chance to pile on the misery for the team they love to beat, tearing into Leopards with relish.

At the other end, the choice defensive duo of captain Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango blunted everything Leopards threw at them and shielded their goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch who is prone to the occasional howler.

In midfield Muguna and Kahata delivered a clinic in creative play to Leopards and seemed to enjoy the occasion as they created 80 per cent of the scoring chances the champions created.

Hassan Oktay’s charges had the wind in their sails, having shaken Africa when they thrashed Egyptian giants Zamalek FC 4-2 the Sunday before and came off a testing trip to Vihiga United FC in the SPL with a 1-0 victory.

Leopards recent dismal run on the other hand meant they approached the derby with trepidation and in the end, they meekly surrendered to a vastly superior team. One hopes they can only use the latest chastening defeat to put their house in order.

Eric Ndayishimiye is not what Leopards hoped for in a goalkeeper

With the depth of goal keeping talent in Kenya, Leopards decision to sign a foreign custodian increasingly looks as one of the factors that has derailed their progress this term


.

READ ALSO: Highly Anticipated Mashemeji Derby Offers Special Valentines Day Getaway

Leopards signed Ndayishimiye from Rayon Sports SC and despite having Jairus Adira and Ezekiel Owade in their squad, the Rwandese custodian was picked to start in arguably the biggest game for Leopards so far this season.

The 30-year old made a mess of the opening goal after a scramble in the six-yard box where he could not hold on to the ball, allowing Muguna to bundle in.

His delivery was also worrying as he kicked the ball straight out of play to concede possession cheaply twice in the second half much to the dismay of the faithful.

Only one save throughout the game called for applause from the suffering Leopards supporters but that was quickly forgotten when he contrived to allow Kahata’s seemingly harmless free-kick in the second half to end up inside the net.

Mbungo flames out in his Mashemeji baptism of fire

Andre Casa Mbungo was thrown into the deep end with the biggest fixture of the season barely days after accepting the head coach role at Leopards with a chance to make an early statement of his abilities.

The Rwandan boss however, had a debut derby to forget as his side capitulated leaving the man who became the 14th head coach at the club in five years and the third in the 2018/19 SPL season alone with no honeymoon at his latest post.

His opposite number Oktay has had time to settle in with his Gor side and Mbungo has no option outside working tirelessly to fix the problems ailing his demoralised team to avoid becoming another casualty of the musical chairs at the Den.

Leopards have not won the league title since 1998 and their current position in the standings is not acceptable to their legion of fans who will give Mbungo no luxury of bedding in if the dismal results persist.

READ ALSO: Six Talking Points Ahead Of Huge Gor, Leopards SPL Mashemeji Derby

In his native Rwanda, Mbungo won two Peace Cup (domestic cup titles) and is remembered for tutoring strikers Tuyisenge and Mustapha, who were part of the winning side on Saturday.

The former Kiyovu SC coach will have had a week to work with his charges ahead of another testing SPL clash against 2010 champions Ulinzi Stars FC this Saturday and anything other than victory will leave him in a precarious position, three games into his tenure.

Green Army outshone their Ingwe rivals to spark Gor into life

On Saturday, the 12th man- supporters- played a critical role in the outcome with the Green Army dwarfing their rivals from the Den when it came to inspiring their side to victory.

Before kick-off and long after the final whistle went, Gor supporters were in carnival mood, full of song and dance and in the end, went home with due reward of another victory against their bitter enemies.

Not to get it twisted, Leopards fans also came out in force but not as many as their Gor counterparts perhaps discouraged by the poor form or just unable to countenance another defeat.

Those who made it spent large spells of the game berating their players or wearing sullen faces and therefore, could not lift up their fragile side that now more than ever, needed their supporters behind them.

The cheery and radiant nature of the Gor fans on the day seemed to reflect on the pitch as their team turned on the style to run away with what was a comfortable win.

Jubilant Gor Mahia FC fans celebrate during the 85th Mashemeji Derby at MISC Ksarani on February 8, 2019 as their team romped to a 2-0 victory over arch rivals AFC Leopards SC. PHOTO/SPN