The eagerly awaited match between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia has been brought forward by a day. The match earlier scheduled for Sunday at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani, will now take place on Saturday starting 3pm. Football Kenya Federation (FKF) said the changes have been effected to pave way for the Safaricom Sevens tournament, whose finals will be played on Sunday at Nyayo Stadium.
The national soccer body hinted that security was likely top be stretched in case the two big events are staged on the same day. KPL CEO Jack Oguda confirmed receiving a request from the federation to stage the match a day earlier. “Security is key and we have to ensure everyone, including players and teams are guaranteed of their safety. We value such a request because it is for the good of all involved parties,” added Oguda.
SuperSport head of Africa Andre Venter confirmed the change of dates for the derby featuring Gor and Leopards. “We have to bring the game forward due to security issues. It is difficult to have Safari Sevens on the same day with the big derby and so we thought it wise to have the football match brought forward and assure the fans of adequate security,” added Oguda.
Gor Mahia assistant coach Bob Ogolla said the club is not worried about the change of dates and are ready for the clash against their fierce rivals any time. “We are ready for the encounter be it Sunday or Saturday and the boys are raring to go,” he added. However, Ogolla admitted that they expect a very competitive match. “It’s a big game for both sides as we are all chasing the title. We know it will be tough and we are prepared for the match against our rivals,” he added.
Leopards are second on the league table with 45 points same as leaders Tusker, who have a better goal difference after beating KCB 2-0 in a mid-week duel. Gor Mahia, with 43 points are third and will go top if they win the derby this weekend. Victory for Leopards would equally be a huge step towards their march for the title. Meanwhile, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Mwangi Muthee is happy with the change of dates for the derby.
He said: “The two disciplines —rugby and football— share a huge number of fans and moving the match was the best thing for both parties. We also needed to consider the sponsors. Mumias Sugar, for instance, who back AFC Leopards are also one of KRU key supporters for Safaricom Sevens.”
“On Saturday, rugby fans attending the morning session of the Safaricom Sevens at Nyayo, will still have time to attend the Leopards/Gor match at Kasarani in the afternoon. They can then return to the Sevens’ evening action which continues under floodlights until 9pm. There will be plenty of social and musical entertainment throughout the evening,” said the KRU boss.
“On Sunday, everyone will have a full rugby day at Nyayo. World class teams include our own Kenya national team, Samurai Invitational made up of New Zealand and Fiji stars, Spain, Portugal and two select South African teams, among others,” he added.