Thursday, August 16 – 2:00p.m Local time – Afraha Stadium, Nakuru County, Kenya
Gor Mahia’s grueling run of matches is poised to continue this week with a string of both domestic and continental fixtures on the cards.
The defending Kenyan Premier League champions are set to face serial strugglers Chemelil Sugar on Thursday afternoon before playing host to Rwandan side Rayon Sports in a decisive Group D match of the Caf Confederation Cup just three days later.
It is this clustered fixture list that prompted head coach Dylan Kerr to, on Monday, request for leniency from the KPL Limited regarding upcoming fixtures; a request that has since been declined.
Although the Englishman’s outcry over their congested League fixture was legitimate, seeing as his charges have been playing an average of three matches per week, their match against Chemelil Sugar still stands as initially scheduled according to the governing body.
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KPL CEO Jack Oguda, made a rejoinder, arguing that Gor Mahia’s complaint was rejected as their request- albeit informal- came in too little too late, whereas the football body also has rigid a timeline to work with.
They may not like it, they are not inclined to like it, but Gor Mahia has to field a side against the Sugar Millers this Thursday despite evidently shifting all the attention to their penultimate group stage match in the Caf Confederation Cup.
The venue for K’Ogalo’s match against Chemelil has been shifted to the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru rather than the initially penciled Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, with the KPL announcing there will be several change of venues amid the rush to wrap up the season.
Despite highly voicing their frustrations over the congested fixture list throughout the month, Gor Mahia has maintained their rich vein of form in the SportPesa Premier League, with their latest addition being a 3-1 win over Kakamega Homeboyz on Monday.
Gor were imperious throughout the opening half but nonetheless had to wait until the 31st minute where they found the back of the net through Innocent Wafula. Francis Mustapha – who was only hauled into the starting eleven due to the enforced absence of the injured Jacques Tuyisenge – rewarded his call up by doubling the advantage just two minutes later to put the runaway leaders in cruised control of the match.
Kakamega Homeboyz looked a different side after the interval as they tested Shaban Odhoji on occasion but the Gor Mahia goalkeeper was equal to the task. Their relentless efforts on goal eventually paid dividends as they pulled one back in the 72nd minute through Benjamin Oketch, but this only seemed to have incensed the reigning champions who put the result beyond reach of the visitors by scoring a third goal through substitute Kevin Omondi two minutes to stoppage time.
The win ensured K’Ogalo opened up a 14-point gap at the helm of the Kenya Premier League, and as such only require three wins from their remaining nine matches to not only retain the title, but also deliver a record 17th Premier League crown.
Chemelil Sugar on the other hand beat Vihiga United by a solitary goal to register only their sixth win of the season, as they look to ward off the baleful fangs of relegation.
Gor Mahia vs. Chemelil Sugar Match prediction
Jacques Tuyisenge’s untimely injury saw him miss a huge chance to narrow the gap with the Leagues’ overall top scorer Elvis Rupia, as the race for the golden boot reaches its homestretch. The former Nzoia Sugar forward still leads the goal scoring charts on 15 goals, two more than the Gor Mahia striker, despite completing a move to Zambian club Power Dynamos last month.
Although Tuyisenge’s injury seemed nothing more than a nibble, the Rwandan international could spend another match on the sidelines- preferably to keep him fresh ahead of the Rayon tie.
Nevertheless, Gor Mahia’s impressive squad depth should see them through against Chemelil Sugar.
Prediction: Gor Mahia to win
Gor Mahia vs. Chemelil Sugar recent results
Chemelil Sugar 2-2 Gor Mahia (April 25, 2018)
Charles Kwaka Okiya 69′
Benedicto Jacobs Mwamlangara 72′
Humphrey Mieno 4′
Ephrem Guikan 27′
Chemelil Sugar 0-3 Gor Mahia (September 14, 2017)
Jacques Tuyisenge 23′
Jacques Tuyisenge 28′
Kenneth Muguna 62′
Gor Mahia 2-0 Chemelil Sugar (May 10, 2017)
Timothy Otieno 10′
Kenneth Muguna 35′
Gor Mahia 3-1 Chemelil Sugar (September 10, 2016)
Francis Kahata 15′
Amos Nondi 55′
George Odhiambo 73′
Joash Omwenga 42′
Chemelil Sugar 0-0 Gor Mahia (February 17, 2016)
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