Five Things To Look Out For Against Gor Mahia

Gor Mahia's Harun Shakava (left) challenges Mathare United's Chrispin Oduor in the second leg encounter between both sides last season.

The top of the table clash pitting second placed Mathare United against defending chmapions Gor Mahia is certainly the highlight of this weekend's Kenyan Premier League (KPL) action. Here are the intriguing things that will shape Sunday's clash. 

Odhiambo Stand In Mathare’s Way?

Peter Odhiambo is yet to win against Mathare United since he left the club for Gor Mahia in Janaury 2017. In both legs last season he was on the bench as Boniface Oluoch manned K’Ogalo’s post in the identical 1-0 wins at the Thika Stadium.

With Oluoch suspended after being sent off in their last outing against Chemelil Sugar, Odhiambo will be in contention for a starting place and could start in goal ahead of Shaban Odhoji. He will certainly fancy getting his first win against his former employers and extend his side’s lead at the top of the table.

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Kerr, Kimanzi Renew Rivalry

Since he took over the reins at Gor Mahia from Brazilian Jose Marcelo in July 2017, Dylan Kerr has enjoyed a fine start to life at the club. His impressive record helped Gor Mahia reclaim the title last year but there was one man who blotted his unbeaten record: Francis Kimanzi who guided his young Mathare United side to a slim 1-0 win against the champions in waiting.

Fast forward to the new season, Kimanzi was once again voted the SJAK February coach of the month for February ahead of Kerr despite both coaches posting similar results. Sunday’s top of the table clash presents yet another duel between Kimanzi and Kerr. It remains to be seen whether Kerr will finally pip Kimanzi or the latter will get another one over the Briton.

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Midfield Battle: Kahata vs Seda

At the heart of Mathare United’s resurgence this season has been the creative conduit that is Edward Seda. After struggling with injury last season, Seda has rediscovered his form this season and claimed three assists and a goal to his name. He will be relied upon to unlock the mean Gor Mahia defence that has only conceded seven this season.

On the other end, Francis Kahata, who has been at his surgical best, will look to continue with his free scoring form for Gor Mahia. The attacking duo of Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere have profited from his brilliant footballing brain. A midfield battle looms between Seda and Kahata and whoever turns up on Sunday might win the game for his team.

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Zico, Kimanzi To Put Friendship Aside

There are not many coaches who are enjoy the chemistry that exists between Francis Kimanzi and Zedekiah Zico Otieno. While Kimanzi starred for Mathare as the captain during his playing days, Zico won himself a cult following among the Gor Mahia faithful in a similar role.

Their friendship has blossomed during their coaching career where both have risen to unprecedented heights to manage the national football team Harambee Stars. However they will have to put friendship aside at least for the 90 minutes when they lock horns on Sunday as they prove their tactical acumen on either end of the technical areas.

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Who Will Fill Wise’s Shoes?

George “Wise” Owino’s absence for the Gor Mahia match might have rocked the Mathare United camp but the Slum Boys skipper has tipped his understudies to excel. Francis Kimanzi has maintained the partnership of Owino and Johnstone Omurwa in the 12 matches played so far.

Lennox Ogutu and Andrew Juma who excelled as a partnership for the Under 20 side pass as the easiest options to replace Owino but Kimanzi could explore the utility traits of Samuel Olwande to reorganise his defence. It remains to be seen who will fill the big shoes left by captain fantastic Owino.