NAIROBI, Kenya, November 13 – Fresh from dispatching ‘younger brothers’ Kakamega Homeboyz to Division 1, AFC Leopards have turned their claws on archrivals Gor Mahia as they seek to deny the league champions the domestic double at Sunday’s GOtv Shield final.
Consequently, Ingwe are still holed up in Mumias, the venue where they snuffed out Homeboyz’s fading hopes of being a KPL team next season last Saturday in a ‘boot camp’ to get ready for the war against the archenemy.
Coach James Nandwa told Capital Sport from Mumias on Wednesday that the Shield presents the last chance for Leopards to earn bragging rights this season after watching their rivals soar to the league title with three games to spare as they played the bridesmaid.
“After our match against Homeboyz, we decided to pitch tent here in Mumias which is our (second) home, because the weather is very friendly.
“I also wanted the players to be away from their families and friends so that they can concentrate and focus on the crucial match,” Nandwa told.
“We decided to train away from Nairobi, to avoid disturbance from people who come to interfere with our programme and apart from that, we wanted to unite with our fans in this region,” Nandwa who also serves as Harambee Stars assistant coach explained.
Ingwe are sweating on winger Paul Were who has not recovered since he was stretched off in the first half during their 2-1 win against Homeboyz.
Were is one of the feared triumvite that includes in form striker, Allan Wanga and Noah Wafula that has terrorised defences in recent times to offer Leopards hopes of ending their silverware draught.
Nandwa who has experienced a good run with Ingwe after the exit of Belgian Luc Eymael served notice to K’Ogalo that they should expect a tough ride since it will be a do or die match.
“I will be working on my defence lead by captain Martin Imbalambala and Eric Masika, to ensure it does not leak goals. The likes of Dan Sserukuma will have no chance to score,” the coach added.
With Gor Mahia crowned 2013 KPL, Leopards who finished second, on the other hand will be looking to extend their supremacy over K’Ogalo in the fixture christened ‘Mashemeji (in-laws) Derby’ having won 25 against Gor’s 22 with 28 drawn.
The last time the sides met was during a league tie where Leopards failed to capitalize on their 2- 0 lead with 15 minutes to full time forcing the match to end in a 2-2 draw.
According to Nandwa, the team will arrive in Nairobi on Friday for the crunch to be staged at Nyayo National Stadium.
The winner of the domestic tournament will pocket Sh2m (USD 23,201.80) as the losing finalist will walk away with Sh750, 000 (USD 8700.68).
Leopards are assured of representing the country in the CAF Confederation Cup next year despite the result on Sunday, since K’Ogalo will take part in the Champions League.