NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – AFC Leopards have not beaten Gor Mahia over the last eight fixtures, but on the ninth time of asking, Ingwe have vowed to right the wrongs of yester years and finally celebrate derby day joy against their sworn enemies.
AFC’s last win over Gor was in March 2016 and since then, Gor has dominated winning seven of their last eight meetings with one ending in a draw.
“We understand that it has been a long time since AFC got a decent result against Gor and we know what we need to do to correct the wrongs of yesterday. Everyone wants to put in the best during the derby and Gor should expect a different Leopard,” the tactician stated, throwing in the first arrow ahead of the battle on the pitch.
Kimani will be taking charge of the derby for the first time ever as a coach, having deputized Cassa Mbungo during the last meeting between the two foes last November where they picked a 4-1 spanking.
What is more interesting is the fact that Kimani has had a taste of the derby as a player as recent as 2013 just after signing a deal to join in from Mathare United.
His first derby day experience was the 2013 FKF Shield Final at the Nyayo Stadium where they won 1-0 courtesy of Peter ‘Pinchez’ Opiyo’s goal while his second didn’t have a happy ending as they lost 1-0.
But those two derbies were enough for Kimani to take derby lessons and he hopes he can help his players control the emotions and pressure of the biggest clash in Kenyan club football history.
“I am really excited at the prospect of facing one of the biggest teams in Kenya at the moment and it is a challenge I am relishing and I believe we are all up to the task.
“It is always a special feeling to be involved in the derby as a player but it is an even bigger privilege and honor bestowed upon me to lead this team against Gor. It is always different implementing things as a coach and as a player,” Kimani stated.
“I know how it feels like and the pressure involved as a player so I will try my best to ensure I pass on the lessons to the players and to ensure they don’t feel the pressure. I am looking forward to be involved and the players are all psyched up,” he further stated.
He expects a tough encounter with Gor, despite the fact that they have been stuttering over the last few games where they have been run thin by their opponents.
“A derby is always a different game. It doesn’t matter the form of any team and players always approach it with a different mentality. They have had few rough patches but we definitely expect them to come out strong,” Kimani further told Capital Sport.
Meanwhile, the tactician further states they have picked lessons from the last derby and will come in a different team with eyes fixated on getting a positive result.
“Looking at the last game and generally our fixtures against Gor Mahia, we have managed to match them technically and tactically but the difference has been in the mental aspect. In most matches we have lacked a bit of mental strength. That is one of the biggest things we have worked on and rectified,” Kimani affirmed.
For the derby, he will be without the services of midfielder Marvin Nabwire who is out with a knee injury while Clyde Ssenaji is suspended after receiving a straight red card in last weekend’s match against Chemelil Sugar.
Meanwhile, Said Tsuma will return to selection after coming back from compassionate leave.