By winning against Thika last Saturday, AFC Leopards ensured that they would not be in a position to mount a guard of honour for Gor Mahia when the two sides clash this Saturday at Kasarani stadium.
However, the moment Gor Mahia beat Sofapaka on Wednesday, the stage was set for what could be a historic moment for the Green Army – winning the league title by ensuring a result against their rivals.
An auspicious occasion it could be as this year not only marks Gor Mahia’s 50th anniversary, but it has also been 50 years since the two clubs first clashed.
In what was billed then by the media as a battle between Joe Kadenge, the then veteran of Kenyan football, versus William Ouma ‘Chege’, the dashing and exciting kid billed to take over the mantle of Kenya’s best player, Gor Mahia first met with Abaluhya in April 1968.
Joe Kadenge would go on to miss a penalty while Chege scored a brace as Gor emerged victorious and announced themselves in Kenyan football.
Since then, the teams have met 83 times in the league with Gor Mahia winning 25 times against AFC’s 27 and 31 matches ending in draws.
By virtue of presenting the possibility of K’Ogalo being crowned champions in-front of the old enemy, this weekends match offers a possibility of some of the more exciting mashemeji derbies – and the league has seen quite a few.
Laban Otieno’s hat-trick
The early 70s saw some exciting contests between the two sides, in both national league as well as other tournaments the two clubs participated in – notably the Nairobi Provincial, the FA Cup and Rubia Cup.
One match that for so long lived in the memories of those who were there was in February 1975. After having beaten Gor Mahia on their way to winning the league in 1973, Abaluhya had missed the 1974 league and therefore expectations were high when they finally played Gor Mahia in 1975.
Laban Otieno was then a young boy who had joined Gor Mahia in 1974 and he cemented his name in K’Ogalo folklore with powerful performance – scoring a hat-trick as Gor Mahia thumped Abaluhya 5-1 – the largest winning margin to date in the Mashemeji derby.
Maurice Ouma and Francis Mudany were the other Gor Mahia players on the score-sheet that day. Abaluhya found it hard to recover that season and rumours were rife that they could not stomach the spectacle of seeing K’Ogalo lift the trophy and later deliberately lost to Luo Union to enable them pip Gor Mahia to the title that year.
Arrest of the dove
One of the more curious incidences in the derby occurred during the second leg in 1975 when a dove that strayed into the pitch during half time was arrested by a police inspector.
Gor fans claimed it was a fan while Abaluhya fans claimed it was witchcraft.
After the arrest of Otieno Ndege, as the bird was later known, Aggrey Lukoye went on to score the lone goal that gave Abaluhya victory.
Jogoo the legend
Dan Sserunkuma was one of the most prolific players in the Mashemeji derby, scoring six goals against Ingwe but before him, there was Sammy Onyango ‘Jogoo’, Gor Mahia’s all time top scorer who was always in fine form during the derbies – scoring six times for Gor Mahia in the highly charged derbies of the 80s.
Sammy Onyango’s scoring prowess against Ingwe however also gave rise to a legend – whenever he scored against AFC, no other Gor Mahia player ever got to the score-sheet.
This legend was cemented in the 1986 derby when after a very dominant performance, Jogoo scored twice as Gor Mahia raced to a 2-0 half-time lead.
This AFC side was considered the best the league had ever seen and were running away with the league, and all hopes were on Gor Mahia to finally break the unbeaten run. However, what followed in the second half was the stuff of Gor Mahia fans ‘ nightmares as AFC did not only equalize but Patrick Shim’s last minute goal ensured AFC took home 2 points and went on to finish the league unbeaten.
What followed in the Gor Mahia camp were accusations of bribery and match fixing that saw several players suspended.
Some fact-files on the derby:
– First derby: 05 May 1968 won by Gor Mahia
– First derby goal scorer for Gor Mahia: William ‘Chege’ Ouma
– First derby goal scorer for AFC: Henry Misango
– First player to get a brace in the derby: William ‘Chege’ Ouma
– First Player and only player to score the derby hat-trick : Laban Otieno, 1975 as Gor wins 5-1
– Biggest derby win: 1975 Gor beats Abaluhya 5-1
Top scorers in the derby:
- Sammy Onyango ‘Jogoo’ and Dan Sserunkuma – 6 goals
- Wilberforce Mulamba – 4 goals
10 Players to have scored braces in the derby:
- William ‘Chege’ Ouma – Gor Mahia
- David Asibwa – Abaluhya
- J.J Masiga – AFC Leopards
- Wilberforce Mulamba – AFC Leopards
- Sammy Onyango ‘Jogoo’
- Abass Khamis Magongo – Gor Mahia
- Dan Musuku – AFC Leopards
- Hezron Osuka – Gor Mahia
- Francis Xavier – AFC Leopards
- Danny Sserunkuma – Gor Mahia
– Only player to have scored a brace twice: Danny Sserunkuma – Gor Mahia
– Players to have scored in 3 consecutive derbies:
- Abdul Baraza
- Dan Sserunkuma
- Meddie Kagere
– Players to have scored for both teams in the derby:
- David Deo Odhiambo
- Demonde Selenga
What is your favourite or memorable moment of the Mashemeji Derby? Drop a word in the comment section below.