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Vihiga stand between Gor and 18th title

Gor Mahia assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno said they are taking a match at a time.

In Summary

• Should Gor win the match, then the league body will have to dig deeper into their pockets and purchase a new trophy for the subsequent seasons.

• Bandari must negotiate a tough trip to Nairobi to face Mathare United at Kasarani to take the title fight to at least the penultimate game of a grueling campaign.

Gor Mahia fans during the Mashemeji derby at the Moi Stadium, Kasarai on Sunday
Gor Mahia fans during the Mashemeji derby at the Moi Stadium, Kasarai on Sunday
Image: /OLIVER MORGAN

What seemed an inevitable coronation of Gor Mahia as kings of Kenyan top flight football will without an undetected hitch take place today when they host Vihiga United at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.

Gor head into today’s match aware that two points will earn them their 18 Kenyan Premier League title but Vihiga coach Sammy Okoth has downplayed soiling K’Ogalo’s party and instead, the former Zoo Kericho coach will be focusing on relieving his side’s relegation fears.

With Mt. Kenya United already relegated, Vihiga, who are second from bottom with 25 points, will hope to ascend a place high on the log—a move likely to be thwarted by their match-day opponents, who have one hand on the crown. Okoth believes his side have what it takes to seal the three points and has cautioned his boys against succumbing to Gor’s pressure.

However, Gor Mahia assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno said they are taking a match at a time. “We have had to be patient, taking one game at a time and trying to get the results. The title is now within touching distance and we will not take anything for granted against Vihiga because they are also fighting for points to remain in the league,” remarked Otieno, who is in line to win a third national title with K’Ogalo as assistant.

With three matches remaining, Hassan Oktay’s side hold an eight-point lead over Bandari after their 3-1 win over AFC Leopards on Sunday and the Cypriot will undoubtedly be looking to wrap up his maiden title with the record league winners. As such, he will likely retain his strongest starting eleven for the encounter against Vihiga, who are five points adrift of safety.

Should Gor win the match, then the league body will have to dig deeper into their pockets and purchase a new trophy for the subsequent seasons.

“It’s going to be a tough match for both clubs. They need two points but we need three. We cannot promise to delay their coronation, that’s not our aim at all,” said Okoth.

“However, we have to work on our chances and get the three points irrespective of who we are playing and their target in the match. The players should not have their attention diverted by Gor’s pressure or the financial situation of the club.”

Meanwhile, Bandari must negotiate a tough trip to Nairobi to face Mathare United at Kasarani to take the title fight to at least the penultimate game of a grueling campaign. The dockers have notched up impressive points to leapfrog Sofapaka as K’Ogalo’s real challengers.

Bernard Mwalala side must win this tie against a Mathare side that has recovered from their recent wobbles and are looking to finish in the top five. The dockers have a slim chance of dethroning Gor and will count on Vihiga.

Sofapaka, who have seen their title challenge wane out due to some disappointing results, must recover ahead of their clash with Chemelil Sugar. They have made finishing second their top priority and three points against Chemelil will be a good place to start for their objectives to be achieved. Four-time champions Ulinzi Stars host Kariobangi Sharks at Afraha Stadium, seeking to take their tally to 43 points.

The soldiers have blown hot and cold this season as they sit ninth with 40 points and will hope to capitalise on Sharks’ poor run and register their 11th win of the season. Sharks are 11th with 38 points. On-form duo of Kakamega Homeboyz and Sony Sugar clash at Bukhungu Stadium.

The two sides have garnered 52 points with Homeboyz coming fourth courtesy of their healthier goal difference. Nzoia Sugar will host KCB at Sudi Stadium while Western Stima play Posta Rangers in Kisumu.