What a day it was for Kenyan football at the inaugural SportPesa SuperCup on 8th June. At the semi-finals of the tournament that involved eight teams; four from Tanzania, four from Kenya, battling it out in the quest to become East Africa’s footballing giants, two Kenyan teams won their matches to set up a mouth-watering clash.
Tanzanians had tried and tried to troll Kenyans on twitter after the outcomes of the matches in the tournament but it didn’t work. That’s simply because they do not understand what’s at stake here.
The two teams, AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia have been bitter rivals since they first locked horns on 5 May 1968. It is the oldest rivalry in Kenyan football history. Fans of both A.F.C. Leopards and Gor Mahia (often referred to by their nicknames, Ingwe and K’Ogalo, respectively) recognize each other as arch-rivals.
The game played between the two is known as the Mashemeji derby or the Ingo-Dala derby. It has been played 82 times and AFC Leopards has won most of the encounters (28) with Gor Mahia winning 24. The rest of the 30 games have been drawn.
K’Ogalo have simply been the most dominant team in the eight-team knockout tournament, finishing their business inside the 90 in both their games so far and will be fancied to beat Leopards on Sunday.
The second Mashemeji Derby of the year will follow the 3-0 drubbing Gor handed to their eternal rivals in their first leg meeting of the SportPesa Premier League (SPL).
The Super Cup decider will be the first ever meeting between the Kenyan arch rivals at a final on Tanzanian soil, with Leopards booking their ticket earlier when they knocked out Dar giants Yanga SC in the earlier semi final at the same venue.
The last time they vied for a trophy on foreign soil was for the 1985 Cecafa Club Championships where Gor overpowered Leopards 2-0 in Khartoum, Sudan.
Good for Kenyan football?
The Gor Mahia fanbase is predominantly Luo while that of AFC leopards is mostly Luhya, making the rivalry partly tribal despite the significant support of “neutrals” (other communities or nationalities) for both clubs. The passion of the fans during encounters between the teams add to the intensity of the derby matches.
The derby is tends to be the best attended match in the Kenyan league
Both teams have been involved in cases of hooliganism, but Gor Mahia fans are usually found on the wrong side of the law more often than their A.F.C. Leopards counterparts.
The winner of the 2017 SportPesa Super Cup will also get a chance to play with the English Premier League giants, Everton FC on July 13th 2017.
During the visit by the EPL side to East Africa for the first time, they will play one of the teams that emerges the winner of the tournament as part of their agreement with bookmaker SportPesa to develop football in East Africa.
Interesting to see how this will turn out. What’s your prediction?
About SportPesa SuperCup
The inaugural SportPesa Super Cup is an annual eight-team knockout football tournament contested by professional football clubs under the sponsorship of online betting firm SportPesa. Participating teams hailing from Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar compete against each other in the round of 8, from which 4 teams progress to the semi-finals round, and ultimately the tournament winner is selected from the final duel.
Teams participating in this year’s competition are Gor Mahia FC, AFC Leopards, Tusker FC, Nakuru AllStars, Simba SC, Young Africans SC, Singida United, and Jang’ombe Boys FC. The winning team shall not only be crowned champions of the Super Cup but will also proceed to play against Everton FC