NAIROBI, Kenya, June 7- Whenever the term ‘Mashemeji Derby’ is mentioned, every football activity in the country is forgotten and attention shifts to the biggest game in the land as both fans cross their fingers to see who walks away with the bragging rights.
This is a match that cares less about league standing and form, it’s all about pride.
The situation will be no different when champions Gor Mahia host arch rivals AFC Leopards on Sunday at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium with SuperSport broadcasting the match live from 3pm GMT +3 local time.
Both fans spent the better part of the week mocking each other on social media in readiness for the big day, but for some of K’Ogalo fans, this is the right time to make a kill from the gate collection considering they are struggling financially after the departure of title sponsor Brookside Dairies through their brand Tuzo.
Here are some choice comments from Gor’s official Face Book page.
BILL OUDIA: Sunday is big, big not because it’s a derby but big coz its harvest time a time to harvest big in gate collection and sort out pending monies owed to the players in salaries and allowances, I hope for not less than Sh4.5m
OWILI MOSES MADORO: OPERATION JAZA STADI Sunday lazima Nyayo ijae to give support to our boys. Bring a brother, sister, friend, workmate, neighbor and we will appreciate.
WYCLIFF DANNAH OPIYO: have nothing to fear about this derby because am sure we gonna beat Ingwe pants down.
MICHAEL NJOROGE WASONGA: By the way, si hii derby Gor ndio iko home? Hii kitu ingewekwa 1000 VIP na 500 terraces, si miluya inasema wametoka besheni na mang’ondo? Tuone kama wangelipa, coz sisi pesa ‘en otas! money is like paper to us) Mtatambua wenye pesa ni kina nani senji!
DAUGHTY ATIENO: Derby TUNAYO? HATUNA? Ok. I want to assume the fixture remains intact and that come Sunday we will all converge at Nyayo Stadium to cheer our beloved team as it has been our tradition.
Just an evaluation, this season (1st leg) has been one clobbered with many challenges; lack of sponsors, KRA issues, financial meltdown, injuries and sicknesses among the playing unit and technical bench and sadly death of fans. Yet we have maneuvered and sailed through. Isn’t it just worthy to thank God and seek His guidance?
St. Stephen Cathedral Jogoo Rd invites us for a Mashemeji (Gor Mahia / AFC) Prayer Service this Sunday from 9am to 11am. Those who have attended our prayer services will attest of how this church is devoted in the sports ministry and has been a fortress to our club.
You are all invited!
FOOTBALL BEYOND THE STADIUM!!!
For Leopards who enter the match motivated after reaching the final of the inaugural Cecafa Nile Basin Cup in Sudan, their supporters were not left behind as this is what they had to say in retaliation
SAMUEL SHAKA: Operation operation jaza stady!! Nyayo!! kukaa, koko/kukhu, papaa, mamaa, Avanaa, papaa nakhufialaa, mama nakhufiala, khotsaa, senge, mukhwasiii/mulamwaa nende avalina vosi!! ambe kwa wingi but don’t 4get an umbrella/mwavuli!!….A.F.C LEOPARDS, Ours forever……(Operation fill the stadium, grandfather/mother, father, mother, children, father and mother in-law, Uncle, Untie, in-laws and all friends come out in large numbers).
CAXTON COLOMBUS AGALA: We are both requested to assemble at Kencom as from 11.am for a grand march to Nyayo as we face Pay bill fc on Sunday. Isukuti and Gadaa will be at hand to entertain you. NO DIALOGUE with Ko’PAYBILL FC.
The mockery aside, whenever the two sides meet most of the times hooliganism carry the order of the day despite the outcome and with a day to go, some of the fans have come up with a slogan “Utamu wa derby ni teargas” while others condemning the act by saying “Football is a game, and hooliganism is a shame”.
Whatever the result we hope both sides maintain peace and leave by their name ‘Mashemeji’ which means in-laws.
The two sides have contrasting fortunes in the league this season, with K’Ogalo enjoying a good run while their bitter opponents are struggling in the league.
But whenever they lock horns the form doesn’t count since it’s all about who is still the giant in the Kenyan football.
Surprisingly for the last five seasons, none of them has won both legs and it’s yet to be seen which side will break that history.
For K’Ogalo, they will not only be looking to extend their lead at the summit but also pick a seventh consecutive win in the league.
With the Green Army rallying behind team despite their off the field problems ranging from financial constraints, Fifa ban for forward Patrick Oboya to players contracts expiring, Gor will hope to bounce back from their 2-1 aggregate loss to Tusker FC who bundled them out of the Top 8.
“It’s a derby and it’s not going to be easy and for me I will enter the match with the notion that there is no small team in the league. We are prepared and since we are the home team we have to satisfy our fans who never disappoint us.
“We had little time to prepare since six of our key players were engaged with their national teams but all in all we will give our best and hope to keep our title defence journey on course,” the Scotsman told Capital Sport after conducting their Friday’s training.
Midfielder Innocent Mutiso and defender Solomon Nasio are still sidelined with injuries but other players will be available for selection as talisman and their top scorer Dan Sserunkuma and Rama Salim whose contract has elapsed are expected to partner upfront.
In the Ingwe camp, they have a new coach in the name of Pieter De Jongh, who had two weeks in Sudan to sample the team.
The real test for the Dutchman will be on Sunday which will be his first competitive match in the league but De Jongh believes a win will inspire his side to erase the disappointment of losing the Nile Basin Cup final.
“It’s a big game and we are prepared, although we have not had a good run in the league but I believe a win against a Gor will inspire my boys to start winning.
“It’s a derby so we are not expecting an easy match, if my players stay focus and work hard, we will pick the maximum points,” De Jongh stated.
Leopards will miss the services of Harambee Stars forward Allan Wanga who sealed a one year deal with Sudan side Al-Mereikh.
This means winger Paul Were, Noah Wafula and Michael Khamati are expected to step up and fill the void when they meet Gor’s mean defense consisting of Stars’ defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino, Ugandan Godfrey Walusimbi, Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava who have seen the side concede nine goals in 13 matches.
The last time the two sides meet saw Ingwe give away the win, after K’Ogalo came two goals down to level the scores in the second half as the match ended to a 2-2 draw.
As both fans prepare to converge at different joints, whatever the outcome, hooliganism is a shame and may the best team win.