NAKURU, Kenya, Jan 28- On the most auspicious of occasions, new captain Harun Shakava announced himself to the Gor Mahia folklore in superb fashion, thumping the only goal of the game as K’Ogalo beat arch rivals AFC Leopards 1-0 to lift the season opening Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Super Cup at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium.
The six-foot defender showed the K’Ogalo faithful he could lead from the front, sneaking in between Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdallah and Duncan Otieno to thump in a header past a helpless Gabriel Andika, meeting a well diced George Odhiambo cross from the left six minutes to half time.
It was a morale boosting victory for Gor as they prepare for their title defense and an assault at making it into the group stages of continental football, while for AFC Leopards and their boss Robert Matano it was a text-book revision of what to improve with the new season a week away.
Gor Mahia’s goal was a result of brilliant team play from K’Ogalo; Godfrey Walusimbi won the ball off an AFC offensive move, picked out Wellington Ochieng who in turn slipped through a pass to Odhiambo who delivered an inviting cross on the first touch.
It was a deserved lead for Gor who had been the most enterprising upfront though Ingwe also had some attacking moves.
In his starting team, Matano had given debuts to left back Moses Mburu, midfielder Collins Okoth who was facing his former employers, Joseph Kuria, Prince Arkoh Baker Lukooya, Jaffery Owiti and Ezekiel Odera.
Of all coach Dylan Kerr’s January buys, only midfielder Humphrey Mieno managed to sneak in a starting place with Joash Onyango starting at centre back with Shakava as Gor started life without long serving Musa Mohammed.
AFC had the first chances of the game. In the eighth minute, new boy Mburu swung in a long throw from the left but Arkoh glanced it wide. Minutes later, Mburu had an effort with an inswinging freekick from his left foot but it went just wide.
But from then, Gor took on AFC by the horns, and Odhiambo had his first effort in the 15th minute when he struck a shot from the left after a lay off from Mieno but it went just over.
Gor had shouts for a penalty downed in the 19th minute when Abdallah seemed to bump into Meddie Kagere’s back inside the box, but referee Peter Waweru waved play on.
Arkoh had an opportunity to mark his debut with a goal when he was put through by Kuria from the middle of the pack after AFC lost possession but his stinging shot was well collected by Oluoch.
Gor’s command of possession finally bore fruit after 35 minutes when Shakava thumped in the header.
There wasn’t much activity of attacking proportion in the second half, save for each coach making changes to give all their players some minutes of work out.