Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pre Match: Muhoroni (A)

Leopards return to the scene of their 2-1 defeat against Western Stima when this time they take on Muhoroni Youth at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru.

MichezoAfrika followed the Leopards even at training:-

AFC Leopards held a light training session on Saturday afternoon at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, the venue of their next league match against Muhoroni Youth, set to be played on Sunday afternoon.

AFC Leopards who come off from three league losses in a row will be looking for maximum points against the relegation threatened Muhoroni Youth as they aim at toppling Gor Mahia in second position.

AFCLeopards drove into the Afraha Stadium in their newly acquired bus "The Monster”  and the players were in high spirits during the  training.

A win for Jan Koops’ side will see them gain to 48 points, same as Tusker but with an inferior goal difference. If Tusker loses against Thika Unitedon Sunday, then AFC Leopards will stand a chance of taking the battle down to the wire.

The other title chasers Gor Mahia will be playing Rangers FC on Wednesday.

Futaa writes:-

Muhoroni Youth coach Alfred Imonje says he is confident that his side can surprise AFC Leopards.

The Tusker Premier League new boys are slowly edging away from the relegation places having stuck in the lower reaches of the standings for a long time.

They will attempt to continue the good run with a win over AFC Leopards at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru this afternoon (Sunday 30 September 2012), a feat that Imonje feels is achievable.

"We have prepared well and are ready for the game. Our situation is not good because we are among the teams at the bottom of the standings and we need to get points very soon. This is a good opportunity for us to do so and hopefully my players will seize it", he told

The match will kick off at 1500 hrs local time.

MichezoAfrika also writes:-

AFC leopards will be out to redeem their faces when they face off with Muhoroni Youth at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium this afternoon. After seeing his side train at the ground on Saturday evening, Coach Jan Koops is confident his boys can bag the three points.

“We have trained very well in the last week and the concentration on the game has been very high. At this juncture no one can afford to lose even a bit of concentration. We are still firmly in this race and that means in the five remaining matches, the only vocabulary we ought to know is win.” Coach Koops told at the Afraha Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Coach Says that they have put behind them their woeful past vowing to add three points to their tally, promising not to take Muhoroni Youth for granted.

“Of course they are a good team and we have to give respect to them. They won massively last weekend and being a team fighting relegation, it will be a very interesting match. They are six points ahead of the bottom two and one can say they are practically out of relegation. However, they still want to prove something as well as climb higher and winning against Leopards will be a big plus for them. We don’t expect it easy,” adds Koops.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Post Match: Gor Mahia (H)

Gor Mahia beat AFC Leopards 2-1 to leapfrog the Leopards on the league table.

Sunday Nation writes:-

Dan Sserunkuma scored a brace as Gor Mahia edged out arch rivals AFC Leopards 2-1 to go top of the Tusker Premier League with 46 points on Saturday.

Sserenkuma struck first the 13th minute after tapping in a rebound from Kevin Omondi’s shot. From a harmless short corner, Sserunkuma’s rasping shot in the 36th minute, a strong contender for the goal of the season, went past AFC goalkeeper Patrick Matasi to put Gor 2-0 up at the break.

Leopards pulled a goal back through Mike Barasa in the second-half but could not find an equaliser as Gor continued their amazing recovery after an abysmal start to the season. Gor are now unbeaten in 14 league matches.

Following the win, Gor lead the standings with 46 points, one ahead of defending champions Tusker who have a game in hand. Leopards drop down to third with 45 after suffering their third defeat in four matches.

Going into the match, Gor were favourites and settled into match quickly, dominating the first half.

Leopards made a double substitution at the break, bringing on Paul Were and Abass Kiwalabye and the move paid off as a neat Allan Wanga flick put Mike Barasa through on goal and he coolly scored at the near post.

The home side were energised by the goal pinning Gor back in their own half with skipper Martin Imbalambala going close on 73 minutes.

But Gor held on for victory with the final whistle sparking off a massive party as the Green Army celebrated a win over their arch nemesis.

The Standard writes:-

Gor Mahia have the audacity to dream of clinching the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title after stopping archrivals AFC Leopards 2-1 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Gor have their chest in front in the final sprint to the championship after claiming maximum points against their opponents to go on top of the standings for the first time this season. However, this could change if Tusker beat Karuturi Sports in Naivasha today.

Ugandan import Dan Sserenkuma scored a double for Gor, drawing the first blood in the 14th minute after he finished off a Kevin Omondi move.

Jonas Nahimana failed to clear a loose ball in his danger zone allowing Kevin Omondi to beat him and Patrick Matasi had a hand on the final shot, but it hit the post and rebounded to have Ssrenkuma calmly slotted home.

The second goal arrived when Gor worked a short corner and the Ugandan arrowed at the roof of the net with a thunderbolt outside the 18-yard box in the 36th minute and Matasi could only watch from his position.

Leopards’ Mike Barasa scored the only goal in the 57th minute after taking advantage of a defensive lapse to hit his seventh of the season.

 Saturday’s match was a balanced affair with Gor staying supreme in the first half, but lacked the energy to take it to the end. At one point they resorted to time wasting tactics a situation that earned defender Ivan Anguyo and Victor Abondo cautions from referee Sylvester Kirwa.

Leopards had only one chance at goal in the entire first half when Allan Wanga drew a fine save from goalkeeper Jerim Onyango after 25 minutes. Gor on the other hand had at least a dozen chances and should have had a wider lead in the half.

It was a different Leopard’s side in the second half though. Ingwe showed more purpose and determination especially after the inclusion of Paul Were.

Even after Barasa’s goal, Leopards had two other clear chances to get at least a point from the match. Were missed from just outside the 18 yard with a curled free kick that Jerim Onyango just had his hand on for a fruitless corner. Then Martin Imbalambala watched in disbelief as his cross-shot went just wide.

Leopards seemed to be having internal problems at the technical bench following reports of sabotage and on Saturday only one assistant, Mickey Weche was allowed to sit with head coach Jan Koops on the bench
MichezoAfrika wrote:-

Danni Sserunkuma was the chief destroyer as Gor Mahia beat arch-rivals AFC Leopards 2-1 to win the derby, bragging rights and also move to the top of the Tusker Premier League log.The thrilling encounter was played at Kasarani Stadium and watched by millions of fans inside the stadium and all over the world.

Sserenkuma struck first  the 13th minute after tapping in a rebound from Kevin Omondi’s shot. From a harmless short corner, Serunkuma’s rasping shot in the 36th minute ,a strong contender for the goal of the season, went past Matasi to set Gor Mahia 2-0 up at the break.

Allan Wanga’s header from Augustine Etemesi cross was the major save Gor keeper saved in the first period .On the other end, keeper Matasi had a busy day in office in preventing Rama  Salim,Moses Odhiambo and Serunkuma from inflicting further damage.

AFC leopards were clearly the better side in the second period especially after the introduction of Paul Were  who came on for Ndayisaba in the 51st minute. The former Tusker man immediate impact was an assist to Mike Barasa who pulled one back for Ingwe.

The goal seemed to have worked magic on Ingwe players who gave a fight of their life to put the green army in great suspense especially in the last minutes of the game. Their efforts however did not yield any more goals.

The win pushed Gor Mahia to the top of the league standings in years while AFC leopards has now been pushed to the third slot, With five games remaining and only a point separating  Gor and AFC,the title chase is still a long way to go but for now, Gor Mahia can enjoy “Shemeji”  derby winner tag.

Futaa writes:-

A fine display at the Tusker Premier League (TPL) encounter at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia ended 2 – 1 in favour of K’Ogalo as the team in green registered their 14th unbeaten game in the league.

The first half belonged to Gor Mahia as they run AFC Leopards rugged; and they were duly rewarded in the 13th minute when a miss by Rwandan international Jonas Nahimana after a fine first touch allowed Kevin Omondi to steal the ball and race through.

Omondi’s shot with just Patrick Matasi to beat was tipped to the post by the keeper and the rebound rolled on to Ugandan born forward Dan Sserunkuma for the easiest of tap ins, a big gift, and his celebration said it all.

Leopards quickly shifted gears and initiated attacks of their own. A notable one was on 24 minutes when Bernard Mang’oli crossed from the right but Allan Wanga’s well placed header was equally superbly saved by Jerim Onyango for a corner which was eventually cleared.
Ten minutes later, Rama Salim’s cross from a free kick was punched out for a corner unconvincingly by Matasi for a corner. Moses Odhiambo stepped forth and took the corner short to Sserunkuma who took a first touch then left Mang’oli for dead with the second before releasing a cracker of a shot to the top right corner.

All was fine for K’Ogalo that far as they headed to the break with a healthy lead.
The tables were however turned in the second half; AFC Leopards coach Jan Koops withdrew Idrissa Rajab and Floribert Tambwe for Abbas Kiwalaabye and Paul Were respectively and Gor Mahia lived dangerously thereafter.

Sustained periods of pressure led to a Donald Mosoti blunder in the 57th minute as he misjudged a through pass to allow Mike Baraza in. The Kenyan international calmly raced through to slot AFC Leopards first goal.

Another defensive mix up on 74 minutes allowed AFC Leopards captain Martin Imbalambala to win the ball on the right channel and his low cross sailed across the face of goal just begging to be tapped in but Mike Baraza, the target was too far.

Edwin Lavatsa a second half substitute in place of Sserunkuma should have sealed the game for Gor Mahia after leaving Nahimana crawling on the deck but he opted for a shot from a tight angle with Rama Salim shouting for a pass and Matasi made a rare save.

After the win Gor Mahia goes top momentarily with 46 points from 25 matches as AFC Leopards drop a place to third with 45 points

KPL website writes:-

GOR Mahia went to the top of the Tusker Premier League table after beating historic arch rivals AFC Leopards 2-1 on Saturday at the International Sports Centre Kasarani, with Ugandan import hitting the double for the victors.

In the 2012 Premiership title chase which ends on November 12, Gor Mahia suddenly held destiny in their own hands. On 46 points with five matches to go, K’ogalo lead second and third-placed Leopards and Tusker, respectively, by a point.

Tusker, however, have played 24 times and their catch-up match on Sunday against Karuturi Sports at Oserian, Naivasha, on Sunday will be of great interest to buoyant Gor Mahia supporters.

Victory for Tusker would wipe out the Gor lead, putting the Brewers on top, and two points clear.

For the final outcome, it will then boil down to how the top four teams, including Thika United, fair [ six points adrift Sofapaka and Ulinzi Stars are long shots] in their remaining five to six fixtures each, which will be:

Gor Mahia (5 matches):
Rangers v Gor Mahia, Gor Mahia v Karuturi Sports, Gor Mahia v Tusker, Muhoroni Youth v Gor Mahia, Gor Mahia v Thika United

Tusker (6 matches):
Karuturi Sports v Tusker, Tusker v Thika United, Tusker v Muhoroni Youth, Gor Mahia v Tusker, Tusker v Western Stima, Nairobi City Stars v Tusker

AFC Leopards (5 matches):
Muhoroni Youth v AFC Leopards, AFC Leopards v Ulinzi Stars, Oserian v AFC Leopards, AFC Leopards v Mathare United, Chemelil Sugar v AFC Leopards

Thika United (6 matches):
Sony Sugar v Thika United, Tusker v Thika United, Thika United v Western Stima, Ulinzi Stars v Thika United, Thika United v Chemelil Sugar, Gor Mahia v Thika United

Dan Sserunkuma’s two first half finishes seemed to have smashed Leopards into submission and it was big credit to Tusker Premier League football that Leopards dragged themselves back from the dead with a blistering second half play and almost took a point from the encounter.

Kevin Omondi stole ball from a Jonas Nahimana hesitance, surged forward to hammer at Patrick Matasi in the Leopards goal. A rebound off the ‘keeper fell to Sserunkuma to tap him for the opener in the 13th minute.

Leopards tried a quick response and most notable was Bernard Mang’oli’s 24th minute cross from the right which Allan Wanga headed well but the Gor Mahia skipper, Frederick Onyango in goal punched out for a corner.

But Gor Mahia were to tighten their grip on the opening period , going 2-0 up in the 36th minute. Their attackers were always in their stride and were to be rewarded when Ramadhan Salim created the opportunity with a floated free-kick being punched out for a determining corner.

Moses Odhiambo was creative enough, taking the corner short to Sserunkuma, who had a first touch and then beat Bernard Mang’oli with control before firing into the top right corner.

At that juncture, the genuine fears among dejected Leopards supporters were that their team would be run ragged.

But on the pitch, Leopards felt that the incidents resulting into the goals were unfortunate and that they had not necessarily been outplayed. They made a fight of it and Gor Mahia just only managed to take their healthy lead into the beak.

Jan Koops tried to steady the Leopards’ ship with early substitutions after the interval. He took off Idrissa Rajab and Floribert Ndayisaba and in came Abbassi Kiwalabye at the back and Paul Were up front.

It paid. After sustained pressure Gor Mahia cracked in the 57th minute and Mike Baraza forcefully broke through to score, cutting the lead.

In the 74th minute another great opportunity fell for Leopards, skipper Martin Imbalambala down the right but his cross by the face of goal needed a teammate for a simple tap in for the equaliser. Baraza, however, was three metres too behind.

Gor also had opportunities to stretch their lead, Edwin Lavatsa, a second half substitute for Sserunkuma, leaving Nahimana crawling on the deck shooting off target possession that would have suited a waiting Salim’s finish.

The Gor Mahia win, though climaxing a spectacular 14-match unbeaten streak and tipping the odds towards a team that was at one time 17 points behind Leopards, by no means delivered a decisive blow to Leopards’ own aspirations for the league title.

If ‘Ingwe’ can buckle down and turn-around an uncharacteristic run of four matches without victory, including three defeats, they would still be part of a thrilling finish to another Premiership season.

AFC LEOPARDS - 1. Patrick Matasi: 12. Augustine Etemesi, 46. Idrissa Rajab (3. Abbassi Kiwalabye, 51’), 17. Jonas Nahimana, 40. Eric Masika, 4. Martin Imbalambala (captain), 22. Bernard Mang’oli, 18. Floribert Ndayisaba (44. Paul Were, 51’), 9. Allan Wanga, 10. Charles Okwemba ( 50. Jimmy Bagaye, 63’), 11. Mike Baraza
Reserves - 19. Barnabas Tiema, Gk; 14. Amon Muchiri, 8. Laurent Tumba, 7. Oscar Kadenge
Scorers – 11. Mike Baraza (57’)
Coach - Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
GOR MAHIA - 1. Frederick Onyango (captain): 19. Solomon Nasio, 3. Christopher Wekesa, 18. Ivan Anguyo, 4. Donald Mosoti, 6. Anthony “Teddy” Akumu, 10. Victor Ali Abondo, 14. Kevin Omondi (20. Joseph Njuguna, 57’), 8. Dan Sserunkuma (9. Edwin Lavatsa, 63’), 21. Ramadhan Salim (15. David Owino, 82’), 25. Moses Odhiambo
Reserves - Scorers - 8. Dan Sserunkuma (13’, 36’)
Coach - Zdravko Logarusic [Croatia]
* * * *
Referee - Sylvestre Kirwa
Assistant ref - Jane Cherono
Asst ref - Dorcas Moraa
Reserve ref - Tabitha Wambui
Match commissioner - Tabitha Wambui

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pre Match: Gor Mahia (H)

Leopards entertain Gor Mahia at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on 22nd September 2012

On Saturday afternoon, most traffic in Kenya's capital Nairobi is expected to lead towards the 60,000 sitter Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani (MISC) where the biggest match in Kenyan football history is expected to take place.

The duel, in which two of the biggest clubs in Kenyan football will lock horns in the battle for the 2012 Kenyan Premier League title, is no ordinary game and this will be no different. 

The stakes are much higher in this winner takes it all contest. Kenya takes a look at FIVE factors that could play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the contest.

1. Officiating.

The most important parameter.
The last league match involving these teams was halted for almost half an hour due to crowd trouble. The incident was propelled by a send off to Victor Ali for an awkward lunge on Amon Muchiri midway through the first half.

Handling this match will be difficult for any official. Word trickling in from the administrators seems to suggest that future encounters could be handled by foreign referees.

Damaris Kimani, one of the most experienced and respected officials in the country, is expected to handle this duel.

She will be advised to have her grip on the proceedings, clamp down on unnecessary tackles and moves that could highlight tension, and as expected remain neutral.

2. The men in charge.

Jan Koops and Zdravko Logarusic
The duo will be tasked with selecting the match day squads and controlling the proceedings from the technical bench for the 90 duration of the match.

Jan Koops has in the past few weeks been facing his most challenging moments since assuming the coaching role at the helm of AFC Leopards.

This has been due to the dismal performance and emergence of Gor Mahia, under Logarusic. Both managers are respected in most quarters for turning the fortunes of the two clubs since assuming the reins.

Logarusic holds the upper hand in a head to head contest, following the Top Eight title triumph earlier this season.

However, this match will be key. Both sets of fans can withstand, or drink away any defeat in the league, but not one suffered against the other. The only match played between these two sides with both coaches in charge ended in a stalemate.

3. Players to watch.

The English say statistics never lie. Both teams have three players who have proven the catalyst in their respective campaigns. 
AFC Leopards will need Patrick Matasi, Mike Baraza and Erick Masika fit and firing in all cylinders to stand a chance.

The trio have played influential roles for the side during this campaign, with Baraza's catching the eye of new Harambee Stars coach Henri Michel, while Masika's absence was genuinely felt during AFC Leopards last week's loss to Western Stima.

Gor Mahia on the other hand will be banking most of their hopes on Rama Salim, Ivan Anguyo and Dan Sserunkuma.

Midfielder Rama Salim acquired from Congo United during the start of the season, leads the goal scoring charts for his club with nine goals, while Sserunkuma and Anguyo have not only held their lines well, but chipped in with important strikes.

In particular, the partnership between Sserunkuma and Rama Salim will be very decisive.

4. The 12th man.

Saturday's match will not only be contested on the pitch, but at the stands as well.

The stakes are high. Losing is not an option. AFC Leopards players and technical bench got a sneak preview of how wrong things could get, after the fans surrounded their bus following their recent defeat to Western Stima and threatened tom assault the players. For Gor Mahia, the consequences of losing might be worse.

In the meantime, both sets of teams are assured of 'full' moral support from the onset, with different versions of encouraging/mocking songs doing the rounds from the stands.

Both teams will be advised to take full advantage of the support, for as long as it lasts.

5. Tactics.

The first goal (if any) will be crucial). If Kogalo score first, they have previously proven to protect such a crucial lead and could quite capitalize on the fragility in form and mentality of their opponents.

However, if AFC Leopards score first, the scenario could be real tricky. Gor will be forced to attack and this could play into the hands of AFC Leopards, managed by a Dutchman, who has set his team up for the counter attack.

Gor Mahia with an inferior points tally compared to their opponents, need the win more, and it would be crucial on how the approach this duel from the onset.

AFC Leopards are also in a catch 22 situation, having allowed defending league champions Tusker FC to claw back into the title race, and a draw or lose could be as dangerous to them as it will be to Gor Mahia.

Gor Mahia spoke to Futaa who wrote:-

In the run up to the second meeting of the season between two of Kenya’s most successful clubs; Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, on Saturday 22 September, Gor Mahia is looking forward to stretching their unbeaten run to 14 games.

The team is undoubtedly the on form side in the country’s top flight and deputy chairman Faiz Ochieng says they are ready for the AFC Leopards challenge at the Moi International Sports centre (MISC) Kasarani.

Speaking to, the K’Ogalo official insisted that the team is not only looking to win the game but to finish the season unbeaten and called on fans to be at the stadium early and in numbers to cheer their team.

"We are well prepared just like in any of the matches we have played previously and we are going for the three points not just to stretch our unbeaten run but also to prove that we are strong contenders for this year’s championship.

We are looking to finish this season without losing and I am calling on the fans to come in large numbers and early enough to cheer the team to victory", he said.

The match is scheduled to kick off at 1500hrs.

Supersport writes:-

Gor Mahia coach Zdravko Logarusic is back in Nairobi ahead of his team’s crucial clash against AFC Leopards on Saturday. 

Logarusic who was on holiday in his native country Croatia believes that there are no favourites when the two sides clash as he admits that they respect Leopards.

“I just arrived from Croatia where I had gone for holiday plus with such a break I found it ideal to give time off to players because they were suffering from fatigue and others were injured and needed special attention.” 

“We must think while coming into this match because there are no favourites in a derby, it is a 50-50 game plus we give respect but not all to Leopards since they have been on top of the league this season.”

He also pointed out what will decide who walks away with the points. 

“Small mistakes will influence the outcome, it could be an individual mistake at the back or brilliance at the front. All I want is for the fans to enjoy the game.” 

Gor are third on the log with 43 points, two adrift table toppers Tusker and AFC Leopards who are level on points. 

They will be looking to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 14 games this weekend.

Meanwhile after the efforts of the fans to get the club a bus, the club finally had the bus presented to it on Friday at General Motors.

MichezoAfrika reported:-
AFC Leopards'  bus christened  "The Monster" is set for its maiden trip tomorrow after a colorful launch at the General Motors yard on Friday afternoon. The  37-seater Isuzu Model FRR-33L ,registration number KBT 194D will ferry players to Kasarani on Saturday and from the look of things should steal some limelight from the game on the pitch.

A total of Ksh 5.6million was splashed for the 8-litre engine machine, a feat unrivaled by any other club in Kenya. The insurance details have also been finalized.

It has a 32 inch Sony Bravia flat screen inside, fluorescent lighting system, a state of the art air conditioning and an indoor public address system. Players will no longer worry about charging their iPhones, Lumia 920 or Samsung Galaxy III smart phones as every seat has a charger and is adjustable to allow them comfortably relax.

Chairman Ole Magelo while receiving the bus  said: "I thank Ingwe family for what you have done. This is great and will keep us in the right mood for the derby"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Derby Fever

The 72nd AFC Leopards versus Gor Mahia League Clash takes place this weekend.

And everybody is talking about it. Literally.

In arguably a Kenyan first, a media house, Kenyanstar, has produced a podcast on the match that is available for download here

The print media has also been awash with stories about the derby which was originally set to take place on 23rd September but was preponed to 22nd September eliciting this report by the Daily Nation.

Charles Nyende wrote and we quote:

The much-anticipated Tusker Premier League return match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia has been moved from Sunday at Moi International Sports Centre to Saturday at the same venue.

KPL chief officer Jack Oguda said the decision was arrived at on Monday following consultations between the clubs, Football Kenya Federation and broadcast rights holders SuperSport.

“It was noted that security will be stretched having the two big events in the city and it will be prudent to have the match on Saturday. Nyayo Stadium will host the annual, crowd-pulling Safaricom Safari Sevens from Friday to Sunday,” Oguda said.

Yes. The egg-shaped ball pulled a fast one over the spherical one!

Leopards fans have been scratching their heads at the string of recent string of bad results. They could be asking where Leopards mojo has gone. Well, actually the Standard was asking that!

Cliches are being thrown, the one which is most stomach-churning being 'wounded Leopard'. And of course 'on form Gor Mahia'.

Hopefully, form will count for nothing when the two giants of Kenyan football clash in the 25th round of matches of the Premier League this season.

Historically, the league clashes have the following record with the Leopards enjoying bragging rights having won 25 out of the 71 matches played, drawn 27 and lost 19.

The 72nd derby promises to be one of the most evenly contested as the winner will take great strides to wards winning a league title for the first time in over a decade for both teams.

Gor are on 43 points and a win will propel them to 46 points, 1 point above Leopards. A win for Leopards will open a 5 point gap on Gor. A draw will of course leave the two teams separated by 2 points and may leave the other teams chasing the championship with glee at the Swahili saying 'vita vya panzi, furaha ya kunguru' (when crickets fight, it brings joy to hovering ravens).

Tusker lead the table whilst Leopards are currently perched at second position in the league with Gor hot on their heels at third.

Leopards are also currently camped at Mumias and there are plans to fly the team back to the City of the Derby on Thursday according to reports from Futaa.

Dan Ngulu writes:-

AFC leopards will leave their Mumias camp on Thursday 20 September for their high stakes’ Tusker Premier League (TPL) clash against Gor Mahia scheduled for two days later at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani.

The team has been in camp in the Western Kenya town since Sunday 16 September after the 1 – 2 loss to Western Stima and according to coach Jan Koops, they will have a last training session on Thursday morning before taking the flight to Nairobi.

"We will have a morning training session from around 0800hrs to 1000hrs; it will be our last training here in Mumias. We will afterwards leave for Kisumu to take a flight to Nairobi for the final preparations for the game".

High flying Gor on the other hand are camped in Nairobi and reports from the Gor side are that the team is in high spirits. The official (on-off) Gor Mahia website writes:-

Rachier (club Chairman) says there is Great Spirit of unity at the club with the entire management talking with one voice in total support of the team.

In an interview with Rachier says while AFC Leopards are wounded and will be coming into the game with sharpened claws, Gor Mahia is not taking it lightly.

“AFC are wounded as such will come fighting like never before. We as Gor Mahia’s management have done all that it takes to win,” he said.

This has the ingredients of a humdinger and with the fans having caught on the Derby Fever, we just can't wait!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Post Match: W. Stima (A)

Leopards fell 2-1 to Western Stima at Afraha Stadium.

MichezoAfrika writes:-

AFC Leopards’ Tusker Premier League  title ambitions suffered a huge setback  on Saturday after a shock 2-1 loss to Western Stima at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium. Wesley Kemboi’s brace ensured the power men went home not only with cash from gate collection but also three points richer.

Western Stima was the first to attack. Wesley Kemboi fed Alloyce Mangi whose feeble shot was easily collected by Bernard Tiema. AFC Leopards followed with Paul Were making a good run on the left flank but his cross to Allan Wanga was intercepted by Stima keeper BenRoberts Mandela.

In the 14th minute keeper Tiema failed free kick landed to Wesley Kemboi but the latter squandered one of the easiest chances by shooting to the top of the bar.Kemboi made amends  for his earlier miss with a well-placed free header in the 17th minute following a cross by Alloyce  Mangi to give Stima the lead.

A disjointed AFC leopards easily lost possession and blunt attacking left the hosts defender with little to worry on.A free kick awarded to AFC after a foul on Paul Were fell to Martin Imbalambala but his shot was nowhere close to the target.

AFC coach Jans Koops must have hard enough of the lackluster performance and he swung into action by making a double substitution five minutes to the interval. Mike Baraza came in for Laurent Tumba while Charles Okwemba paved way for Jimmy Bageya.

Another defensive lapse gifted an unmarked Wesley Kemboi an easy goal to double the advantage at the extra minutes of the first period.

AFC Leopards enjoyed a good spell at the one hour mark but Allan Wanga misfired when two good chances fell his way.

Alloyce Mangi would have made it 3-0 after a Jonas Nahimana blunder but he misplaced his shot. In the 76th minute, Mangi had another chance but couldn’t keep his shot on target.
Mike Barasa pulled one back in the 77th minute with a solo effort that beat BenRoberts Mandela to bring some joy to the many Ingwe faithfuls at Afraha.

A last minute foul on Allan Wanga won AFC a free kick that Martin Imbalambala shot straight at keeper Tiema’s gloves.

The loss leaves AFC Leopards just two points below Gor Mahia who they meet in a must watch top of the bill derby next weekend at Kasarani.

Futaa writes:-

Western Stima beat AFC Leopards 2-1 in a Tusker Premier League match at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Saturday 15 September 2012 to dent Leopards' title hopes.

Wesley Kemboi was the hero for Stima, as his first half double silenced the large Leopards following in Nakuru.

Mike Baraza gave Leopards hope late on, but it was not enough, to effectively throw open the 2012 title race.

Stima took the lead on 16 minutes, Kemboi heading home after a great cross by Alloys Mangi to give the home side the lead at their temporary home.

Afterwards, they looked like adding more, as Leopards were off the pace and all over the place in midfield.

Coach Jan Koops, who was quiet all afternoon made his first piece of movement on the day, a double substitution just before the break, Mike Baraza and Jimmy Bageya for the very poor Charles Okwemba and Laurent Tumba.

Despite the subs, it was Stima who added a second, when  a defensive blunder by Leopards keeper Barnabas Tiema and left back Idrissa Rajab handed Kemboi a clean run in goal and he did not need a second invitation, as he made it 2-0 just on the stroke of half time. 

The second half was much better from Leopards, who knew they had to chase the game.

Baraza and Paul Were would have good opportunities to score, but poor first touches let them down.

They would eventually score though as Baraza's weak effort spilled past Stima keeper Ben Roberts Mandela and into the net to make for an interesting last few minutes.

However, with Stima having ten men behind the ball at all times, it was always difficult for Leopards, as they slumped to defeat.

Daily Nation wrote:-

Wesley Kemboi’s two goals in the first half were enough to electrocute a disjointed AFC Leopards 2-1 in a tense Kenya Premier League (KPL) match played at Afraha stadium, Nakuru on Saturday.

In Thika, hosts Thika United FC were made to work hard before eventually seeing off Rangers FC 4-0 while in Nairobi, Nairobi City Stars battled to a 1-1 draw with Mathare United at Hope Centre.

Joseph Mwangi opened the scoring for Mathare early in the second half before Bruno Sserenkuma - no relation to Gor Mahia’s Dan Sserunkuma - equalised several minutes later in a match the home side will feel they deserved better than a share of the points.

In Nakuru, Kemboi, who was the destroyer-in-chief, tamed the visiting Leopards to increase his goal tally in the league to four.

“I dedicate these two goals to my two-year-old daughter Lesley Chepkoech,” said the 26-year-old Kemboi, who is still a casual worker at Kenya Power.

It was simply not Leopards’ day as they failed to penetrate past Western Stima’s defence which was well marshalled by David Otieno.

Western Stima, who played a cool game, invaded Leopards’ defence and after a quarter of fine exchanges, Aloise Mangi made a brilliant run on the touchline and released a well-weighted cross which was firmly headed home by Kemboi past goalkeeper Barnabas Tiema.

Leopards should have cancelled the lead in the 35th minute but Laurent Tumba, with a yawning goal at his mercy, blasted over the cross bar.

As referee Tom Onyango was preparing to signal for the end of the first half, Kemboi, who had a fruitful day in the office, collected a lose ball inside the box and rounded a defender before beating the advancing Leopards custodian Tiema with powerful ground shot.

Leopards’ consolation goal was scored by second half substitute Mike Baraza who rolled with the ball on the left wing and unleashed a punishing grass cutter past goalkeeper Ben Roberts Mandela.

“Our defence was prone to many mistakes and this is because our key defender Eric Masika was not in the starting line up ,” said AFC Leopards coach Jan Koops.

“This is a big and worrying defeat for us. We are now only separated by two points from our arch-rivals Gor Mahia. We lacked our usual fighting spirit which came too late in the second half,” added Koops.

On his part coach Henry Omino was satisfied with the results.

“This is not the first time I’m beating Leopards as a coach as I have beaten them when I handled Kisumu Posta and Agro Chemical and I attribute our victory to proper planning,” said Omino.

Soon after the match angry Leopards fans held the team bus hostage in the pitch for a few minutes before anti-riot police intervened.

“We need an explanation from the technical bench because they are paid well and have insurance cover among other fringe benefits yet they are losing easy points when the league is at its critical stages,” yelled a fan as he stood in front of the bus.
Standard wrote:-
Leopards title hopes continued to dwindle when Western Stima thrashed them 2-1 at Afraha Stadium on Saturday.

Western Stima took the lead in the 17th minute with a goal from Wesley Kemboi. Kemboi dashed Leopards title hopes when he scored his second goal in the 45th minute.

Henry Omino, Western Stima coach had vowed to silence the title chasing Leopards.
The result comes as a huge relief for Gor Mahia who now trail Leopards with two points having played the same number matches.

AFC Leopards’ efforts proved futile throughout the match with a blunt striking force and uncoordinated defence.

Leopards got their consolation goal through Mike Baraza in the 78th minute.

KPL website writes:-

AFC Leopards were wrong if they thought they could defy history. They had never beaten Western Stima outside Nairobi in modern Premiership era. An after the first half at Afraha Stadium on Saturday they were down 0-2, courtesy of a Wesley Kemboi double to eventually suffer a painful defeat in their Tusker Premier League title quest.

Was it misplaced confidence? Jan Koops had started with his most mature and resourceful forward, Mike Baraza on the bench. The reality check was complete after the first half and Baraza had to be brought in to kick off the second period. He, in the end got the only one score back for Leopards in the 78th minute.

Leopards’ turning up in strange white, instead of their normal red and black stripes of away matches, even suggested a team contemptuous of traditional time-tested ways.
The only people with an away white kit that will be celebrating are Gor Mahia, Leopards’ arch rivals who now trail the leading Leopards by only two points; both teams having played 24 matches.
A crunch meeting of the two is in the very next fixture, on September 23, at the International Sports Centre, Kasarani. Leopards reverting back to the blue and white hoops of home fixtures and Gor Mahia most likely being in their away white strip will be a complete reversal of Leopards’ dress mode at Afraha.

Tweaking with the team looked like a bad omen for Leopards. Barnabas Tiema, without much playing time this season, was in goal, perhaps because Patrick Matasi was being punished for a poor performance two weeks ago when he conceded twice in the 0-2 defeat by KCB.

While Tiema started well with a couple of good cut offs of crosses, he should have done better against Kemboi’s opening header and should not have come out of his position as awkwardly as he did for the next which central defenders Amon Muchiri and Jonas Nahimana should have dealt with.

After trailing, as a team, Leopards fought for a turn-around but some lack of tact, good thinking and execution by some individual player, specifically Paul Were, Jimmy Bagaye and Allan Wanga was a yawning letdown.

Bagaye was aimless in runs, Were’s pass was infuriatingly poor, coming short mostly, and Wanga lacked ideas.

Take, for instance, a long video study of Were’s opportunity inside the box in the 58th minute. The way he blew the chance, making unnecessary 1-2-3 touches, instead of just one, requires him to think, seriously, whether he aspires to be a long-term footballer.
Thank God, Leopards had Baraza to trouble Stima who, however, were so cool that a stranger like Henry Michel, the legendary Frenchman who is now Kenya coach and was watching, will be wondering why he has heard so much about Leopards since arrival and nothing about the rural lads who were giving the City boys a bloody nose.

In the 61st minute Wanga was in the box, receiving a perfect pass from Baraza but instead of lowering his head to nod in the ball that was shoulder height, he struggled to chest it in order to bring it down and the chance was gone.

So it was Western Stima, instead who would have made it 3-0 even before Baraza’s goal but Aloyce Mangi, on two occasions, allowed adrenaline to rush him and blast away opportunities instead of guiding the ball through in the 73rd and 77th minutes.

But the two missed chances were the only blot in a spectacular performance by Mangi who was an excellent playmaker, throughout, for Stima. He was involved in both his team's goals.

WESTERN STIMA - 1. Ben Mandela: 26. Hudson Muhako, 2. Jackson Saleh, 15. Robert Kwaye, 5. Davis Otieno, 19. George Wesa (captain), 7. Ahmed Ali Bai (10.Omar Balala, 69'), 14. Frederick Shimonyo, 8. Aloyce Mangi, 13. Wesley Kemboi, 20. Justin Monda ( 9. Dennis Onkangi, 70')
Reserves not used -18. Patrick Ck Onyango, Gk; 28. Isaac Odhiambo, 17. Daniel Onyango, 12. Job Omuse, 21. Francis Chinjili
Scorers - 13. Wesley Kemboi (17', 45+')
Coach - Henry Omino
AFC LEOPARDS - 19. Barnabas Tiema: 5. Edwin Wafula, 14. Amon Muchiri, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 46. Idrissa Rajab, 4. Martin Imbalambala (captain), 22. Bernard Mang’oli, 10. Charles Okwemba (11. Mike Barasa, 46'), 44. Paul Were, 9. Allan Wanga, 8. Laurent Tumba (50. Jimmy Bagaye, 46')
Reserves not used - Patrick Matasi, Gk; 3. Abbasi Kiwalabye, 34. Victor Ochieng’, 7. Oscar Kadenge, 12. Augustine Etemesi
Scorer - 11. Mike Baraza (78')
Coach - Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
* * * *
Referee - Tom Onyango
Assistant ref - Peter Sabatia
Asst ref - George Okerio
Reserve ref - Amos Wanjala
Match commissioner - Joseph Mboss