What you need to know:
- Hungry, on form Ingwe striker vows to take his hot scoring streak to Kasarani for ‘Mashemeji’ derby
- K’Ogalo have conceded eight goals in their last five matches in the KPL.
AFC Leopards in-form striker Elvis Rupia has warned Gor Mahia defenders should expect their toughest battle yet in the Kenyan Premier league this season when the two sides meet in the much-anticipated “Mashemeji” derby at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Sunday.
The Ingwe hitman has been a thorn in the flesh of opponent’s defenders and he is sure of continuing with his good form on the pitch against sworn enemies K’Ogalo.
Rupia has so far scored in five out of six Leopards league matches, since joining the Den from money bags Wazito in January.
Rupia scored in the two wins — by a solitary goal — AFC Leopards registered against Ulinzi Stars and Chemelil Sugar before grabbing a brace against Sofapaka.
He also netted in the Big Cats’ win against Elim in the FKF Betway Cup preliminary stage match last month.
“As the club’s top striker, I feel motivated as we head to Mashemeji derby. I know Gor Mahia have defensive issues and I will be banking on that to ensure we score an early goal before they settle on the pitch,” said Rupia during the team’s training session at Kenya Technical Training College in Gigiri.
K’Ogalo have conceded eight goals in their last five matches in the KPL. This statistic, Rupia said, had given him confidence Ingwe do well on Sunday.
He said: “We have not beaten them in the last three years not because we played poorly but due to lack of belief.
“We have had good training sessions and are focused for the match on Sunday,” he added.
Rupia's sentiments were echoed by his captain Robinson Kamura who said the match would be competitive but they will strive to score first.
This will be the sixth derby for the centre back who joined AFC Leopards in 2017 from Mathare United and he may know a thing on two about this fixture.
“This is a very competitive game and we will give it our all though it is like any other match in the league we have been playing. We have lost matches where we conceded first and that is why we will strive to take the lead before our opponents,” said Kamura.
The Ingwe skipper also insisted that none of the teams — the most successful in the history of Kenyan football — had an upper hand.
Gor opened residential camp Tuesday to prepare for the derby.
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, who is an ardent fan of the club, has paid up all camp expenses for the cash-strapped KPL champions as a way of boosting their morale.
Gor Mahia “Augmentin Fund” (GMAF), a support group initiated by fans have promised to double the Sh5,000 allowance usually paid to each match day players and members of the technical bench for a win against Leopards.