Financially motivated Gor Mahia seeks to extend Mashemeji Derby dominance

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – Defensive midfielder Ernest Wendo has never missed the Mashemeji Derby since his arrival at Gor Mahia in 2015 from Bidco United.

The experienced midfielder, who is the most senior player at the club, has been central to the club’s massive success in the fixture in recent years.

Wendo has witnessed Gor lose twice to their bitter rivals AFC Leopards in the derby which brings the two traditional rivals together.

With the two giants set to lock horns on Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium, Wendo is confident that Gor will wipe the floor with their match day opponents and preserve their excellent head to head record in the fixture.

Gor Mahia’s Ernest Wendo controls the ball under pressure. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The combative midfielder is banking on the motivation the team received from the Cabinet Secretary of ICT Eliud Owalo, an avid supporter of Gor and a renown sports enthusiast, to inspire the defending champions to seal a double over Leopards.

Owalo, visited Gor at their training ground on Thursday morning and handed the playing unit half a million shillings besides having a motivational talk.

Wendo termed that the financial package and Owalo’s unwavering support he has been according the club for years as a source of motivation to win the fixture.

“I have played in all Mashemeji derbies since joining Gor in 2015.We have ruled this fixture over the years and hopefully we will extend our dominance on Sunday. We have prepared well for the derby as we are facing a completely different Leopard on Sunday. They are on form, coached well and very organized. We are motivated ahead of the game and in good spirits. We hope to win it and draw closer to our 21st league title, “said Wendo who won the CECAFA Senior Challenge with the national team in 2017.

Gor Mahia’s Paul Ochuoga (left) and Musa Masika (right) during their match against Kakamega Homeboyz. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Joining Wendo in acknowledging how the financial token will play a role in inspiring K’Ogalo to triumph over their bitter rivals is assistant captain Geoffrey Onyango.

Just like Wendo, Onyango has never missed the derby since joining Gor in July 2019 from the defunct Western Stima.

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Ochieng, who has been captaining Gor in the absence of Philemon Otieno, has suffered derby loss once since joining the record league champions.

Otieno will miss the match as he is nursing an injury suffered down at the coast in an FKF Cup.

The hard-tackling left back is backing K’Ogalo to shine on Sunday owing to the solid preparations and the incentive from Owalo.

Ochieng who was part of the Harambee Stars team that won the Four Nations tournament in Malawi in March also emphasized on the need to preserve the reputation Gor has in the derby.

“We are anticipating a tough match as Leopards are in form. We have a very good record in the derby which has to be protected at all costs. We are also the host as well. We have prepared well and the visit by CS Owalo boosted our morale heading to the big game, “said Ochieng.

Gor Mahia head coach Jonathan McKinstry. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

While Ochieng and Wendo have gathered more than enough experience in the derby, youngster Bryson Wangai will be looking to feature in the match for the second time.

Wangai was part of the Gor squad that won the first leg 2-0 at Kasarani Stadium and will hope coach Johnathan McKinstry will field him on Sunday.

Wangai, who joined the club last year from fifth tier side Bongonaya FC, can’t wait for his first start and goal contribution in the derby.

“I watched the first leg from the bench but I hope to play on Sunday. I am craving for playing time in the biggest fixture in the league. Being a consistent performer in the derby can open bigger doors. I wouldn’t mind scoring or getting an assist on Sunday,” he said.

-By SportsBoom-

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