Mashemeji derby: Venue relief for Gor Mahia as fixture date is switched

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Mashemeji derby: Venue relief for Gor Mahia as fixture date is switched

Joel Omotto 10:38 - 15.04.2024

Gor Mahia will now be able to host AFC Leopards at one of the traditional venues for the high stakes match after outcry from fans over possibility of playing it in Machakos.

Gor Mahia will host AFC Leopards at the Nyayo Stadium during the next instalment of the Mashemeji derby after the fixture date was switched to Sunday April 21.

The match was initially planned to be played on Saturday April 20 but with the Nyayo Stadium hosting the Kip Keino Classic and Kasarani closed for renovation, K’Ogalo did not have a suitable venue for the match and were exploring the possibility of hosting it in Machakos.

However, that decision did not go down well with many fans who felt the Kenyatta Stadium does not have capacity to host the high-risk match given what it is at stake.

Matches involving Gor Mahia and Leopards can be volatile and with 8,000-seater Kenyatta Stadium lacking proper structures to guarantee fans their safety, many supporters feared it would not be an ideal place.

Kasarani and Nyayo have traditionally played host to the match but the current situation made it tricky for host team Gor Mahia, who also have had problems with Sports Kenya over the behaviour of some of their fans at match venues.

It seems the powers that be heard the cries and the fixture will now be played in Nairobi as Gor Mahia look to complete a double over their eternal rivals.

K’Ogalo won the corresponding fixture 2-0 in September and have gone on to maintain their great run to stay nine points clear at the top of the table with eight matches remaining but Leopards’ fortunes have greatly improved since.

Ingwe have lost just one match in all competitions this year and warmed up for the derby with a 1-0 win over Posta Rangers in Machakos on Sunday, on a day when coach Tomas Trucha rested his big hitters with an eye on the match.

Leopards, who beat Gor Mahia 2-1 last May, will be out to avenge the loss and slow Gor Mahia’s title momentum somewhat, just as they did last year.

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