Kenya: FKF-Pl - Low Key 'Mashemeji' Derby As Title Race Intesifies

A low-key 'Mashemeji' Derby pitting arch-rivals Gor Mahia against AFC Leopards highlights this weekend's Football Kenya Federation Premier League matches.

The two most successful clubs in Kenyan football go head-to-head in their 91st meeting at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.

With both teams out of the title race, only bragging rights will be up for grabs in the clash.

While Leopards are third on 44 points, K'Ogalo are in an unfamiliar eighth position after 26 matches on 40 points, a whopping 15 behind league leaders Tusker.

On Friday, the title contest intensifies with Tusker and second-placed KCB swinging into action against Nairobi City Stars and Posta Rangers respectively.

With six matches to go, the breweres are on 55 points, a point ahead of the bankers, meaning any slip up could hand the advantage to the other.

KCB's match will be played at Thika Sub County Stadium, while Tusker will host Nairobi City Stars at the Ruaraka grounds.

In the first leg meeting, Tusker were forced to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 against the league returnees on March 20.

Bottom-placed Mathare United's relegation woes could be compounded further if they lose to Sofapaka at Ruaraka grounds on Saturday.

A win for Vihiga, who beat Stima 2-0 last weekend against Ulinzi Stars in Nakuru, will better their chances of survival if their fellow relegation candidates lose.

Vihiga are 16th on 20 points, one below Western Stima, who play away to newbies Bidco United in Thika.

Nzoia (23 points), who drew with Leopards last weekend, also have a tricky fixture against Bandari in Nakuru.

"It is tough and every game is a must win for us to remain in the league. I have told my players this and they understand," Western Stima tactician Juma Abdallah told Nation Sport Thursday.

Poor form

K'Ogalo and Ingwe go inot the derby on the back of poor results that has seen them fall oout of the title race.

Gor's last win in the league was by a solitary goal against 2009 champions Sofapaka on June 20.

The only reprieve for K'Ogalo is the FKF Betway Cup victory against Leopards on July 4. The win earned them a Caf Confederation Cup slot next season.

"We have to work hard and avoid conceding first. That has been our main undoing, but I expect a good game," said Gor Mahia acting tactician Sammy 'Pamzo' Omollo, who took over from Portuguese tactician Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto, who left the club three weeks.

The Big Cats have also been blowing hot and cold, conceding five goals in their last two matches. They lost 3-2 to Western Stima, before a late dramatic 2-2 draw against Nzoia Sugar last weekend.

"I can't say we are that bad, but we are not taking our moments in our matches. The last two derbies we dominated Gor, but this time we have to convert that into a win," said Leopards winger Peter Thiong'o.

FIXTURES

FRIDAY

Tusker v Nairobi City Stars Ruaraka 3.15pm

Vihiga United v Ulinzi Stars ASK Grounds, Nakuru 3.15pm

Bidco United v Western Stima Thika 3.15pm

Nzoia Sugar v Bandari Thika ASK Grounds Nakuru, 1pm

KCB v Posta Rangers Thika Stadium 1pm

SATURDAY

Mathare v Sofapaka, Ruaraka 3pm

Kakamega Homeboyz v Kariobangi Sharks ASK Nakuru 1pm

AFC Leopards v Gor Mahia Nyayo Stadium 3.15 pm

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