FKF-PL title race: Will it be Gor Mahia or Tusker?

Gor Mahia

Gor Mahia players celebrate their goal during their Football Kenya Federation Premier league match against Ulinzi Stars at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on June 4,2023.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Gor striker Benson Omala leads the log on 25 goals, one more than Kenya Police forward Elvis Rupia who bagged a brace over the weekend.
  • Omala has not scored in the last six matches and that has enabled Rupia to reduce the goal difference which at one time stood at 12.

Just like in the 2012 season, Gor Mahia and Tusker FC are in a neck-to-neck race for the Football Kenya Federation Premier League title which is now certain to be decided in the final two games of the season.

Many Gor Mahia fans wouldn't want to remember the 2012 season because of the heartbreak they suffered after the final whistle of the last game of the season.

At the time, K'Ogalo were looking to end a 17-year wait for the league title and had led in the league standings for the better part of the season, only to fail to win the title on the final day.

At the time, Gor Mahia’s squad then had players like Ugandan Geoffrey 'Baba' Kizito, Collins 'Gattuso' Omondi, Ali 'Teargas' Abondo, Kevin 'Ade' Omondi, Edwin Lavatsa, Rama Salim, Khalid Aucho, Teddy Akumu, Jerry Onyango 'Jagoal', Ivo Mapunda and Ugandan foward Dan Sserunkuma.

The players had a huge role in turning the team into contention for the title after struggling to stay in the topflight league since winning the KPL title in 1995.

Heading to the last game of the season against Thika United at Nairobi City Stadium, Gor led the league standings on 58 points points while Tusker, who were facing Nairobi City Stars, were one point behind.

Thousands of Gor Mahia fans painted Nairobi green while City Stadium was full to capacity as the dream of ending the long title wait appeared closer to becoming a reality.

Gor fans wept uncontrollably after they lost the league title by a point to Tusker, having drawn 1-1 with Thika United while the brewers beat Nairobi City Stars 3-0.

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier once told Nation Sport that losing the league title to Tusker on the final day was the saddest moment for him as chairman of the 19-time Kenyan champions.

Will history repeat itself again this season as Gor chases a record-extending 20th league title?

After a convincing 2-0 win against Ulinzi Stars, Gor lead the standings on 67 points, two above Tusker and four more than Nzoia Sugar who are also title contenders.

Any slip up from the three will hand the other an advantage in the title race.

Ironically Gor face Nairobi City Stars who handed Tusker the league in their last game in 2012, on June 24. K'Ogalo play a tough Kakamega Homeboyz side on June 17 with both matches schedule to be squared out at MISC Kasarani.

On the other hand Tusker face Posta Rangers whom they beat 2-0 in the final game of last season to pip Kakamega Homeboyz to the league title on June 17 before finishing the season against the already relegated Vihiga Bullets on June 24.

Nzoia Sugar on the other hand have a date with KCB and Sofapaka in their last match of the season.

Even after the win against Ulinzi, Gor Mahia Coach Johnathan McKinstry was still unconvinced that they have gone with the league, despite his side needing only four points to nail the trophy.

"We have to win. That is the only way to assure ourselves of the title because there is no easy game. Winning the title is now in our hands," said McKinstry.

On paper, Tusker last two matches seems to be easy but Gor has had an uphill task in beat Kakamega Homeboyz so they will have to put an extra effort to bag maximum points.

Kakamega Homeboyz knocked out Gor in the round of 16 of the Mozzart Bet Cup in March to qualify to play Tusker in the final of the domestic cup on July 1.

The only reprieved for Gor is that they will be playing Homeboyz at Moi International Sports Center and not Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County where they lost in the Mozzart Cup.

As the season ends, the race for the Golden Boot will also be likely decided in the last two games.

Gor striker Benson Omala leads the log on 25 goals, one more than Kenya Police forward Elvis Rupia who bagged a brace over the weekend.

Omala has not scored in the last six matches and that has enabled Rupia to reduce the goal difference which at one time stood at 12.

After beating Tusker 2-1, Wazito (26 points) only need a point to nail a relegation/promotion play off position.

Coincidentally they host Mathare United (22 points) who are also battling for the spot in their last game of the season.