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Gor Mahia fans enjoy the sweet victory over AFC Leopards during the Mashemeji Derby at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on March 8, 2020. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Football

Holders Gor to start Premier League defence against Tusker in Meru…. If Ministry approves

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Gor Mahia will start their BetKing Premier League title defence in an epic clash against 11-time champions Tusker FC at the Kinoru Stadium in Meru on November 21, only if the Ministry of Sports gives a go ahead on account of the country’s COVID-19 situation.

Football is one of the contact sports which is yet to be approved by the Ministry after it partially re-opened sports following a six-month shutdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

But with life slowly crawling back in most parts of the country punctuated by the political class seamlessly conducting their campaigns and rallies, the football family feels it is time for the Ministry to allow a return to action, even if behind closed doors.

The Football Kenya Federation has now released draft fixtures for the league, hoping they will get a nod to get back to action with a majority of the teams already back in training.

The friendly between Harambee Stars and Zambia last week offered a glimpse of what a return to action might mean while a friendly tie between AFC Leopards and second division club Shabana FC is scheduled for Mashujaa Day in Kisii.

There will be a double header in Nairobi, initially slotted for the Kasarani Stadium to welcome the return of football.

Mathare United will face Kakamega Homeboyz in the early kick off while Kariobangi Sharks tackle Wazito, in two mouth-watering games.

Meanwhile, holders and record champions Gor have a tough start to the campaign. After Tusker away in Meru, they will be at home against Ulinzi Star before tackling a potential banana-skin fixture with Mathare United then Sofapaka.

Their fifth fixture will be at home against recently promoted Bidco.

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The Thika-based side will make their Premier League debut away to Posta Rangers on the second day of the season on November 22 before a run of three other tough fixtures against AFC Leopards, Ulinzi Stars and Tusker FC.

City Stars will meanwhile make their top flight return with a home duel against Nzoia Sugar before travelling away to Zoo Kericho and playing at home against either Kisumu All Stars or Vihiga United who are yet to have their play-off match.

Meanwhile, AFC Leopards kick off their campaign against Western Stima at the Nyayo National Stadium before playing away to Bidco United in Thika, home against Zoo Kericho and away to Nzoia Sugar.

The first Mashemeji Derby has been scheduled for March 6 at the Nyayo National Stadium with the second leg set for May 23.

If indeed the new season will start on November 21, it is expected to end on July 10, 2021.

There is excitement building for the new season especially with the entrance of new sponsors BetKing and StarTimes who will broadcast games.

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