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Mashemeji Derby: Is it time for AFC Leopards to break Gor Mahia jinx?

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AFC Leopard interim coach Anthony “Modo” Kimani says he is looking forward for Sunday’s clash against Mashemeji derby rivals Gor Mahia in the FKF Premier League at the Kasarani Stadium.

This weekend’s derby against Gor will be one of a kind. Since May 5, 1968 fans have been attending the game, however due to the Covid-19 containment measures, no fans will be allowed in the stadium.

“As a team we are well-prepared and psyched up ahead of the derby. With or without the fans the game must go on, and it couldn’t come at a better time, we are looking forward for the litmus test,” Kimani told TV47 Digital.

Kimani who captained Leopards, Mathare United and Harambee Stars respectively during his playing career as a central defender will face his litmus test in the (KPL) fixture against a very familiar foe, as a coach now.

“I am under no pressure this is not only a litmus test for Leopards but also a stepping stone for the team towards achieving our goal and even greater heights in the upcoming fixtures,” Kimani added.

The former Stars captain was appointed as the caretaker coach of Leopards after the exit of Czech Republican Tomas Trucha at the helm of the Leopards coaching.

AFC Leopards are without a win against K’Ogalo since 2016 but have made an impressive turn around to their campaign with three consecutive wins.

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They are currently ranked fourth on the FKF-PL standings and lag log leaders Tusker FC with five points who have played two extra games.

 “We have tried to rectify our mistakes that cost us important points, but we are in a better position to compete now than we were. Going forward, positivity will be key in our success,” Kimani said.

AFC Leopards Elvis Rupia has scored 10 goals in the current season and will be an asset to the Anthony Kimani coached side; PHOTO/COURTESY

Kimani however is much aware of the threat posed by their opponent who are the league’s defending champions.

Recently, Gor showed they are still a force to reckon with by beating Bandari FC 3-1 in an enticing game staged in Mombasa.

Leopards have not won against Gor since 2016, but with deadly striker Elvis Rupia on form with 10 goals already to his name, Kimani is optimistic the derby could not have come at a better time.

A section of Gor Mahia fans and AFC leopards charged in a recent Mashemeji derby; PHOTO/COURTESY

Nevertheless, both Gor and AFC are undergoing a transition period hence the mixed results and being their 90th meeting, only the final whistle at  90 minutes will determine who takes home the much needed three points.

Both teams were in talks with The Ministry of Sports to allow fans to attend the match to no avail and the federation warns their supporters to keep of the stadium.

The Mashemeji derby is well known of passionate fans during encounters between the teams that adds the intensity of the derby matches.

Today’s game will kick-off at 15.00 hours (EAT).

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