Thursday, June 7 – 3:15p.m Local time Afraha Stadium, Nakuru County, Kenya
Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia are poised to face Tanzanian side Singida United on Thursday afternoon in the second semifinal of the SportPesa Super Cup.
The first semifinal, set to be played on the same day, will see KPL side Kakamega Homeboyz lock horns with current Tanzanian Premier League champions Simba.
The tournament, which began on Sunday pitting four teams each from close neighbors Kenya and Tanzania, has been played at the Afraha Stadium, with all eight teams setting camp in Nakuru for the competition.
Current holders Gor Mahia registered a perfect start to their title defense by exhibiting top flight might against cross shore neighbors Jeshi la Kujenga Uchumi. JKU head coach Hassan Ramadhan Hamisi, fired several warning shots in the build up to the encounter, placing much emphasis on how his side were the reigning League champions in Zanzibar, only for them to slump to a 3-0 defeat against K’Ogalo.
Despite starting execrably with Ephraim Guikan seeing his poorly executed penalty saved by Mahmoud Abdulrahman, Gor finally broke the deadlock in the 28th minute after George “Blackberry” Odhiambo got on the finishing end of Francis Kahata’s cross without batting an eye.
They may have began the game in beguiling fashion compared to the KPL side, but the Zanzibar outfit found themselves desperately chasing the game after Godfrey Walusimbi doubled the lead on the board before the break- striking the roof of the net after a well worked free-kick.
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JKU were eventually put to the sword when the high flying Meddie Kagere came off the bench to round up an unbridled afternoon, as he stabbed Mayienga’s third of the match with seven minutes left on the clock.
Although Gor Mahia’s victory was as inevitable as it was forthcoming, the SportPesa Super Cup tournament, now in its second year, has had its fair share of surprises from the outset. Kakamega Homeboyz, to begin with, proved they were no pushovers when they sent Yanga packing after a 3-1 trouncing in the quarter finals.
At the centre of the win was former Tusker forward Allan Wanga, who inspired his side to victory by scoring a brace in the first half. He was dignified and unflappable in front of goal, showing little respect to the 27-time Tanzanian Premier League champions who- against the expectation of all and sundry- fell at the first hurdle.
This however now leaves Kakamega Homeboyz with an uphill task against Simba, who made it into the last four having edged off Kariobangi Sharks 3-2 on post match penalties.
Whereas Homeboyz exceeded and excelled in expectation, their western neighbors AFC Leopards had more heartache to endure, after losing 4-2 to Singida United in post match penalties on Tuesday afternoon. The match went straight to penalties following a barren draw after 90 minutes, with the TPL side proving too strong for Leopards from 12 yards.
It was a case of revenge served in classic simplicity, as Singida were knocked out in similar fashion by AFC at the same stage during the first edition of the tournament held in Dar es Salaam a year ago.
The Tanzanians will nonetheless face their biggest test yet when they take on Gor Mahia for a place in the much coveted final.
Gor Mahia vs. Singida United Match prediction
Singida may have proven that their ranks cannot be broken, but on the flip side gave away the fact that they similarly couldn’t break down AFC Leopards. Gor Mahia on the other hand made light work of JKU, and look every inch a side resolved on making it to Goodison Park with their hard-flying firing.
Gor Mahia & Singida recent results
Gor Mahia 3-0 Jeshi la Kujenga Uchumi
George Odhiambo 28′
Godfrey Walusimbi 34′
Meddie Kagere 83′
AFC Leopards 0-0 Singida
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