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Mashemeji Derby: A history between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards ahead of Sunday's FKF Premier League clash

12:19 AM IST 05/05/22
Karim Nikiema of Gor Mahia vs AFC Leopards.
GOAL takes a look at the outstanding previous moments, top scorers, and bizarre incidences in this fixture

As Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are set to meet in the second round of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League ongoing season on May 8, we take a look at the events that have shaped Kenya’s hotly contested fixture.

The Mashemeji Derby, previously known as the Nairobi Derby, is a football contest between Kenya’s most popular teams, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.

Mashemeji can literally be translated to mean ‘in-laws’ and the derby acquired the name owing to the close cultural ties between the Luhya people – whose majority support AFC Leopards, and Luo who are predominantly Gor Mahia supporters.

The rivalry developed into an intense contest owing to the success of both teams on the pitch even though Gor Mahia – now with 19 Premier League titles – have been more successful than AFC Leopards, who have 12 – of which the last was won in 1998.

Glory Days

Ingwe, AFC Leopards’ street name, registered more success in the 1980s than their Mashemeji rivals, as they were Premier League winners in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, and 1989, but managed to lift the title only twice during the 1990s; in 1992 and 1998.

In contrast, Gor Mahia have registered more success in the 2000s, as they have been Kenyan champions in  2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2018–19, and 2019–20 seasons. In the 1980s, they were only victors in 1984, 1985, and 1987 as AFC Leopards registered unprecedented achievements.

Fan Trouble

Both clubs have had trouble with their fans, who have always registered their anger by causing trouble. In 2011, for instance, the FKF Cup quarter-final game was abandoned after Leopards fans violently protested – by pelting the assistant referee with objects – after Gor Mahia scored from a superb combination between Moses Odhiambo and Moses Otieno.

K’Ogalo, after Leopards forfeited the game and the 1-0 scoreline was allowed to stand - went on to win the cup after beating Sofapaka. This achievement gave them the ticket to represent Kenya in the Caf Confederation Cup.

In March 2012, Gor Mahia’s fans – arguably the more notorious in comparison to the Leopards’ fans – caused trouble when Ali Abondo was red-carded after a rough challenge on AFC Leopards’ Amon Muchiri.

Consequently, Gor Mahia were banned by the Sports Stadium Management from using Nyayo Stadium and Moi International Sports Complex, Kasarani for the rest of the 2012 season.

Mashemeji Derby Top Scorers

Since they first locked horns on May 5, 1968, the derby has witnessed prolific scorers feature, but Sammy ‘Jogoo’ Onyango and Dan Sserunkuma – both of Gor Mahia – are the leading scorers, having each found the back of the net six times during their time of service at the club.

Wilberforce Mulumba of AFC Leopards has four derby goals to his name, while Laban Otieno, Maurice Ojwang, Peter Dawo, Dan Ogada, and Meddie Kagere of Gor Mahia, and AFC Leopards’ Abdul Baraza, Dan Odie, Mike Baraza, and David Asibwa have each scored three times.

Dennis Olando, Francis Mudanyi, Abass Magongo, Hezron Osuka, David Odhiambo, Deomande Selenga, Paul Oyienga, William Chege, Gnamien Yikpe, Jacques Tuyisenge, and Nicholas Kipkirui for Gor Mahia each scored twice.

While on the AFC side, the players with two goals are Aggrey Lukoye, John Joseph Masiga, Francis Kadenge, Dan Musuku, John Lukoye, Kitali Ngiara, Phillip Ouma, Fred Ambani, Francis Xavier, and Jacob Keli.

Bizzare Moments

The derby has witnessed quite a number of bizarre incidents, performed by both sides. The club’s scouts are previously known to blow dust at the match officials just before they get into the pitch.

In one other incident, AFC Leopards players refused to use the Nyayo Stadium changing room, claiming that Gor Mahia fans had sneaked a corpse into the dressing room the previous night.