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Who will brink in the Gor, AFC derby?

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 17- Kenyan Premier League (KPL) leaders, AFC Leopards will set their table topping antics aside when they clash with archrivals Gor Mahia at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.

Any match between the pair christened ‘Kenya Derby’ is the highlight of the domestic season where in the past; the form book has been torn to shreds in a fixture that defines the country’s club football.

Leopards and Gor share 24 league titles (or 25 in some quarters) with honours even and although they have both fell off the rails in the past decade, no match bar those involving the national team command such interest in the nation.

On Sunday, Leopards, who top the league under the astute Dutch coach, Jan ‘Wephukulu’ Coops go in as favourites with Gor who recently sent their entire technical bench parking reeling from a nightmare start that has seen them lose three KPL matches on the spin in addition to a humiliating CAF Confed Cup exit.

However, even Coops, who lost his first Derby in his first game on the job mid last season knows this is a game that defies logic with its stature on the Kenyan football map assuming mythical status.

Gor Mahia lost their last three league matches with the poor results costing Coach Anaba Awono his job.

Though the team is easy on the eye, goals have been scarce with the players providing new interim coach Bobby Ogolla with a quandary of selections to get a winning team.

K’Ogalo are 14th on the log with three points though myth has it that when they meet their arch rivals AFC Leopards, the form of either side does not matter and that the result of the game is determined by which team wants it more on the day.

While Gor has struggled, Leopards have been the team to watch with the team winning four out of five matches so far.

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Ingwe who are on top of the league table with 13 points, have achieved the feat by sheer hard work and determination combined with tactical prowess by Dutch coach Jan Koops.

In Allan Wanga, Victor Ochieng, Patrick Matasi and Jimmy Bagaye, the club has finally found the men that can carry their hopes of reclaiming the elusive league title.

With the bitter rivals waiting to craft the latest chapter in the most attended league fixture on the KPL calendar, action continued on Saturday.

Champions Tusker were held to a 2-2 draw by Karuturi Sport at Nyayo National Stadium with Obadiah Ndege netting the equaliser for the Brewers 12 minutes from time.

Fredrick Onyango opened the scoring on the 25th minute to give the champions a half time lead but the Flowermen hit back in the 49th with a spot-kick conversion from Geoffrey Musiebe.

Mohammed Mwachiponi then set the stage for an upset when he tapped home in the 63rd before Ndege came to the rescue. Yusuf Abdul was sent off for Karuturi late on.

Ulinzi Stars, the deposed titleholders got their campaign back on track after beating former champions Oserian 2-0 at their Afraha Stadium back yard in Nakuru.

Wycliffe Ochomo (10th) and James Mulinge’s penalty in the 28th gave the soldiers all the points.

Chemelil Sugar added more misery to 2008 KPL winners Mathare United by beating them 1-0 at Chemelil Stadium with defender Willis Ouma netting the winner in the 49th from the sport.

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Geoffrey Simiyu netted a double to steer promoting Muhoroni Youth to a 2-1 victory over unlucky Nairobi City Stars at Nyayo.

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