A powerful header from captain Harun Shakava in the 40th minute is all Gor Mahia needed to beat rivals AFC Leopards to win the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Super Cup at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Sunday 28th January.
Gor Mahia paraded just one new signing, Humphrey Mieno, in their starting line up while AFC Leopards had eight new recruits in the starting squad. The match started on a high note with Gor right back Wellington Ochieng making a good run down the flank, finding himself in a good position just outside the box but AFC Leopards defender Salim Abdallah did well to avert the danger.
Kenyan international forward George Odhiambo dribbled fast into the AFC Leopards box in the fifth minute but collided with AFC Leopards goalkeeper Gabriel Andika, the match temporarily coming to a halt as medics attended to both of them. AFC won a freekick just outside the box few minutes later but Jeffery Owiti blasted it wide. Odhiambo was a constant threat to the Ingwe backline and he almost got the first goal of the match in the 14th minute after a wonderful pass from Humphrey Mieno but shot inches wide.
Ezekiel Odera hard shot also went just inches wide in the 25th minute as AFC Leopards upped their tempo in search of the opening goal. Godfrey Walusimbi and Jacques Tuyisenge exchanged neat passes and the latter’s hard shot was parried away to safety by Andika in the 34th minute. Gor Mahia got the opening goal and what was to be the winner at the 40th minute, captain Harun Shakava rising high to head in George Odhiambo’s cross at the 40th minute.
Gor Mahia made several changes after the breather; Kevin “Ade” Omondi coming in for George Odhiambo at the hour’s mark while Ivorian import Ephraim Guikan was introduced few minutes later, replacing Meddie Kagere. Walusimbi’s hard drive from the left flank hit the bar in the 65th minute as Gor Mahia piled on the pressure.
AFC Leopards SC Head Coach Robert Matano introduced Ugandan Eric Bekoe for the jaded Prince Papa as they continued their search for the equalizer but their main undoing was the lethargic finishing upfront. Gor Mahia introduced Philemon Otieno for Humphrey Mieno towards the end of the match and Wesley Onguso for Francis Kahata as they held on to win their first trophy of the year.
Captain Harun Shakava praised his teammates saying the team deserved the win as they had fought hard for it.
“We had really prepared well for the match and I must congratulate my players for the effort they put in today. It was a very hard match but they did all they could to ensure we won. This win is crucial as it gives us the confidence we are on the right track heading in to the new season.” He said.
AFC Leopards SC captain Duncan Otieno said the match had done well in giving them a true picture of their state ahead of the season.