NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 –AFC Leopards head coach Stewart Hall has admitted his side ‘bottled it’ against arch rivals Gor Mahia and said his players have to take responsibility for the woeful performance in their 3-0 Mashemeji Derby loss on Sunday.
Ingwe had an unforgettable afternoon at the Nyayo National Stadium and were utterly dominated by their rivals with Gor head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira’s tactics paying off heavily.
For Hall, he was left dumbfounded by the performance.
“We could not connect the ball from one blue shirt to another. I watch these players everyday and they can do it; there’s a lot of talent in this team but I have watched very good players today who can’t pass the ball ten yards. We bottled the game,” a disappointed Hall told Capital Sport after the match.
“It’s a terrible performance and the players have to take responsibility. They (Gor Mahia) have players who have played many derbies but we have a young squad which has played few derbies. They couldn’t handle the pressure. The team just didn’t show up today. Nobody played well,” the Englishman added.
His opposite number Ferreira who was under pressure prior to the fixture was over the moon after the result.
The win, viewed as the most important in their calendar as it is against their fierce rivals eased the burden off his shoulders and he believes it will give his squad enough firepower to go on and fight for the title.
“It was a great performance and I am proud of my players. We played well both tactically and technically. We have won 3-0 but the game was not easy. We were calm and that is why we ended up managing it,” the Brazilian coach said.
Hall meanwhile has admitted Gor are way ahead of them both on and off the pitch, but reckons in time he will be able to raise the club back to the top.
“Their squad has been built over the last six years. They are where we want to be; they have a bigger budget than we do. What they can pay for one player we can manage to pay for three. When we are looking at building a team we have to look at not only building on the pitch but off it as well,” he said.
However, it was a hugely peaceful derby with both fans enjoying each other’s company and pre-match, half time and post-match dancing together in harmony.
The same was witnessed last season when AFC Leopards won the first leg 1-0 and Gor the second leg 2-0, a huge contrast to yester years when the game was marred by violence and crowd trouble.
Just after conceding the third goal in the 83rd minute, AFC Leopards fans peacefully walked off the stadium while their counterparts danced on to the sounds of victory.
It was also an opportunistic strike for politicians who chose a convenient venue to show their faces and hope they win a few votes here and there.
Nairobi Women representative aspirant Esther Passaris was one of the fans who graced the match with former FKF president turned politician Peter Kenneth also in attendance.
Though the stadium wasn’t full for a match of such magnitude, a sizeable crowd attended with the game being only the second Kenyan Premier League match to be held in the city this season.
Security was top notch with over 100 Police Officers including from the General Service Unit assigned to the event.