AFC Leopards game is not a “derby”, Oktay pours water on Mashemeji Derby hype

No fixture in the local footballing calendar elicits emotion and pulls crowds like the Mashemeji Derby where Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, two of the country’s most successful clubs, lock horns.

For more than half a century these two teams have contested this fixture which was first played in 1968, the year in which Gor Mahia came into being. A total of 86 fixtures have been contested – to date – between the two sides in the league, making it the longest standing football rivalry in the country.

28 wins

Leopards had long dominated their old rivals winning the most number of games but a recent slump has seen Gor cover ground and out rightly took control of the fixture on Sunday 19 May when they claimed their 28th victory courtesy of a 3-1 thumping at the MISC Kasarani.

Ingwe, who have 27 Mashemeji Derby wins to their name, have not claimed a win over their old foes since a late Lamine Diallo strike in March of 2016 sealed a 1-0 victory.

AFC Leopards’ last win over Gor Mahia in the Mashemeji Derby came on March 7th 2016 when Ivorian striker Lamine Diallo rose off the bench to score the games lone goal in the 83rd minute at the MISC Kasarani.

Since then, Gor have claimed six wins out of the seven matches that have been played between the two with Ingwe’s best result being a 1-1 draw in August 2017. In this time frame Gor have gone on to score a whopping 16 goals with Leopards getting just four in return.

It is this reason that sees current K’Ogalo coach Hassan Oktay deliver a scathing assessment of a local derby that he has been a part of since his appointment at the start of the season and has claimed all six points available from their rivals in the league.

“This game does not look like a derby. It is just the crowd that makes it different from the other games that we play in the league. I was expecting the result, we dominated and had every bit of control on the pitch,” Oktay said after Sunday’s game.

League stagnation

It is not in the rivalry with Gor that Leopards have regressed, the team which at one point had claimed the most number of league titles in the country with13, have not been champions since 1998.

This stagnation has seen K’Ogalo pass and leave them by the wayside as they are now inching closer to an unprecedented 18th league crown.