- Gor Mahia is the most successful team in Kenya, having won the Kenyan Premier League title 16 times.
- Ingwe have not lifted the KPL title since 1998.
One of the most fascinating things in the world of football, is the team rivalry. Basically, in every country or city you will find two teams that have a historical rivalry, and such rivalry is usually cultivated by the fans. A good example of such arch- rivals include; Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards of Kenya, Simba and Yanga of Tanzania, ManchesterUnited and Liverpool of England, Real Madrid and Barcelona of Spain and many more.
AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia fondly known as Ingwe and K’Ogalo among fans, are the oldest and most successful teams in Kenya. Their rivalry roots back in the post colonial era, especially after independence and began as tribal teams. The two boast a huge fan base and are not only used for bragging rights, but also as a uniting factor of the Nyanza and Western regions of Kenya, in the political arena.
A match between the two arch rivals, famously known as the Mashemeji Derby, holds great importance with key leaders attending the match as well as thousands of fans.
K’Ogalo and Ingwe fans travel from remote areas of Siaya, Migori, Kakamega, Busia and many more to Nairobi in support of their teams. K’Ogalo fans dress and paint themselves in green colours with their opponents using blue and white colours. It is possible to find an Ingwe fan with live chicken in the stadium, as a symbol of ‘Ingokho’ a Luhya dish.
Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards have met 88 times in all competitions, Gor winning 32 times, AFC 28 times and succumbing to 30 draws. The first match between the two took place in 1968, a match that Gor Mahia won 2-1, thanks to a brace from William Ouma “Chege” , and a lone goal from Henry Msango for AFC Leopards.
As from 2009 when the Kenyan Premier League was renamed, Gor has won 9 times against AFC, the latter winning 4 times and managing 6 draws. Gor Mahia is the most successful team having won the KPL title 16 times and is currently representing Kenya in the CAF Confederation Cup although they were eliminated in the CAF Champions League earlier this year.
On the other side, both AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia often experience leadership wrangles with the former being the most affected. Such wrangles usually revolve around leaders declining retirement, irregularities during elections and abuse of office; by corruption and misuse of funds.
This has led to players boycotting matches over unpaid salaries and poor performances that root from corrupt trials.For instance, in 2012 during the KPL Top8 competition, Gor Mahia were awarded a walkover following match boycott by AFC Leopards.
In 2016, AFC Leopards was on a downward surge with the club Secretary General then, Asava Kadima spilling the beans. In an exclusive interview, Kadima explained how leaders influence performances through interfering in the signing of players and coaches. However, things look better now with the new coach Rodolfo Zapata bringing in a new face for AFC Leopards and despite losing to Gor Mahia, they are not badly of.
Since 2016 during the KPL first leg, AFC Leopards has not won against Gor Mahia in all competitive matches. The Leopards even lost in this year’s Sportpesa Supercup and the Hull City Challenge match. Ingwe have also not lifted the KPL title since 1998. Their arch-rivals, Gor Mahia are top of the table this season, 12 points above second place Sofapaka.
Beating Gor Mahia is and will not be easy, especially with their current winning mentality, thanks to their coach Dylan Kerr. Their signings are excellent and boast a strong bench that can change a game any time.
In the recent Mashemeji Derby, Meddie Kagere was not really missed as expected, since Jacques Tuyisenge played his part scoring the opener. The likes of Samuel Onyango, Ephraim Guikan and George Odhiambo “BlackBerry” are all very sharp in front of the goal.
With Sportpesa sponsorship, Ingwe should make important signings and give the coaches adequate time to restructure the team. Ingwe should also invest in important and tactical preseason friendlies, to help them contend for the KPL title and other tournaments fiercely.
The players must also embrace a fighting spirit and maximize concentration. Conceding goals in the last quarter of the match is carelessness and very discomforting to the faithful fans.