columnBy Carol Radul
This will be the "fourth" time these two teams meet this season. Of course they have only played each other twice; in the league; with Leopards failing to turn up for their Top 8 tie mid this year. However, this time the hype is a lot less simply because none of these teams won the Tusker Premier league.
Both sets of fans appear very deflated and I would actually urge them to rise up and support their sides one last time. (Or for the last two times as one of the teams will be in the final on Tuesday) Gor Mahia still have a better team going into this game and the lesson they would have learned from Thika United is that there is no room for complacency in football. AFC Leopards arguably have more talented individual players like Mike Barasa, Allan Wanga, Charles Okwemba, Paul Were and so on; but for some reason they haven't completely come together this season. Gor Mahia have.
This match will be completely dependent on the mental status as either side has what it takes to win it. The prize of winning the FKF Cup is continental football and that would be attractive for any team. When I predicted Gor would draw with Muhoroni Youth the fans insulted me on facebook after they won 4 - 0; but when I predicted that Gor would beat Thika United last week; they said I jinxed the team because my predictions are always the opposite.
There's just no winning with them is there. So let's do this! Incidentally if Tusker wins the FKF Cup, Gor Mahia will find themselves playing Confederations Cup football next season courtesy of finishing second in the league. Mmmmhhh...
FKF Cup Semi Finals
Gor Mahia Vs AFC Leopards Today 3pm
My prediction: Gor Mahia.....1 AFC Leopards......2
Tusker FC Vs Sofapaka Sunday 3pm
My Prediction: Tusker...... 2 Sofapaka....1
Tusker are on fire! Their 3-0 victory over City Stars and their lifting of the Kenyan Premier League trophy has given them the confidence they need to face any opponent right now. Coach Robert Matano has lost one game in 10 (against Gor Mahia) and I don't believe they are about to start losing now. If the team can remain as humble as they were going into their final league game; then they will win this game and this tournament hands down. We saw what over-confidence did to Gor Mahia and that is what Matano's boys must check. Sofapaka are like AFC Leopards; a great collection of players but they are not playing like a team. My good friend coach David Ouma hasn't had enough time to employ his philosophy on the team and I think they won't do enough to beat the league champions. Golden boot winner John Barasa and Kenya internationals James Situma, Osbourne Monday and the others are some of the best players in the league, but I just think they need coaching stability to begin to earn proper accolades.
Arsenal Vs Tottenham 3:45pm
My Prediction: The Gunners....2 Spurs.... 1
I usually laugh at statistics and only take heed when it suits me. In 19 years, Arsenal have lost just one out of 21 north London derbies played at home. And last season we came from 2-0 down to win the game 5-2. Back to reality. Arsenal are going through arguably their worst run in more than a decade; and believe me we have had some poor runs. Even in matches where we go ahead like against Fulham last weekend; we get complacent and the game ends in a draw or a loss. Psychologically the players are in a very bad place because I don't believe it's the talent that's lacking. The mild consolation for Arsenal is that Spurs have lost their last two league games; to Manchester City and Wigan; and somewhere there they lost a league cup match to Norwich. So we're kind of in the same place. Jermaine Defoe picked up a slight injury last weekend and while he is expected to be fine today; I'm hoping he won't be. (forgive me Lord) Defoe is lethal and will give us a hard time if he's playing. I always say that Spurs have some of the best players in the league; certainly more experienced than Arsenal, but something doesn't work for them; and it won't work today. Bad news for Arsenal; Wojciech Szczesny could be back to leak in goals. I hope he's coming back in form.
Norwich Vs Manchester United Today 7:30pm
My Prediction: Norwich....1 The Red Devils..... 4
Norwich beat Arsenal in the league and Tottenham in the league cup and therefore... Therefore nothing. I would like to say beating The Gunners and The Spurs would have given them confidence but everyone is beating or drawing with us these days! Grrrrrr! Manchester United, sadly for me, are getting results even when they play ugly. When RVP and Wayne Rooney don't score; Chicharito steps up and gets a hat-trick. Aaargh! There's no denying that the way things are going, Manchester United have already won the league. I hope they do a Gor Mahia and become over-confident and lose it somewhere down the line. Aaargh again because I doubt that's going to happen. Norwich are just lucky. They aren't going very far this season and this will be a walk over for United. Once again I hope my prediction is the opposite.