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Lull before the storm: Mashemeji derby is here!

By ISAAC SWILA August 23rd, 2015 3 min read

Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall and his AFC Leopards counterpart Zdravko Logarusic shared a rare camaraderie as they followed the match between Nairobi City Stars and Tusker on Friday night at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The two coaches sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the main stand and posed for the cameras in locked fists and shared broad smiles and hearty laughter.

Logarusic, who has an affinity for publicity, posted the photo on his Facebook Timeline with the caption: “Derby time. Derby mood… it is a great pleasure for the two of us to be the part of it.”

The two may have been “the best of friends” on Friday, however, on Sunday afternoon from 3pm, the friendship will be forgotten as each plots the downfall of the other when the Mashemeji derby goes down at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Nuttall, 46, an assured and calm tactician, has earned a reputation of picking wins, whether his team plays beautifully or struggle to impose themselves on a game.

The same cannot be said of Ingwe who have blown hot and cold this term. While Gor Mahia is on cloud nine, Ingwe is struggling for form.

That aside, the Scot will be keen to uphold his unbeaten run that has stretched to 22 games. And with just eight matches to go, he will be to engrave his name in the club history books as the second coach to have guided the glamour club to an unbeaten run joining the legendary Allan Thigo, who achieved the feat as a player-coach in 1976.

The maverick Logarusic, 55, dubbed the ‘King of the ‘Mashemeji Derby’, on the other hand wants to make his name as the man who ended K’Ogalo’s unbeaten run.


Upon his return to the team last week, after a four-week sabbatical over unpaid salaries and bonuses, the widely travelled eccentric coach who formerly handled K’Ogalo said:

“I’m glad to be back, the boys made it clear that they wanted me. There are key matches coming and one of them is against Gor Mahia. I want to be end their unbeaten run.”

Factors permitting, and the football gods kind to his game plan, he may carry the day. After all, it’s a derby and form will count for little. But whether he lives up to this promises remains to be seen.

Today’s clash will also present a surreal moment for six players in Ingwe’s camp. Eric Masika, Ivan Anguyo, Joseph Njuguna, Solomon Nasio, Israel Emuge and Timonah Wanyonyi were at one time or the other K’Ogalo players.

Having swapped the green jersey for Ingwe’s blue and white hoops, they will have the extra motivation to prove a point to their former employer. Whoever among the six claims a starting role will surely want to give his best.

Nuttall, aware of this and the fact that his boys have been sloppy in two of their last three matches – against Ushuru and Nakuru All Stars – has been quick to down play the significance of the derby.

“It’s just another game. We have not been thinking about it,” he said on Wednesday after his team was held to a 1-1 draw by All Stars.

In terms of depth, the Scot has what appears to be a deadly arsenal. In Khalid Aucho, he has a rare breed of midfielder. Meddie Kagere and Innocent Wafula, who like Aucho missed the last match, are sure to start in Nuttall’s favoured 4-4-2 formation. Leopards will most likely deploy a similar system.

Probable Line ups

Gor Mahia: Boniface Oluoch, Karim Nizigiyimana, Abouba Sibomana, Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava, Collins Okoth, Khalid Aucho, Innocent Wafula, Meddie Kagere, Michael Olunga, Godfrey Walusimbi

AFC Leopards: Lucas Indeche, Edwin Wafula, Jackson Saleh, Martin Kiiza, Fredrick Ndaaka, Joseph Njuguna, Ivan Anguyo, Timonah Wanyonyi, Patrick Kagogo, Lamine Diallo, Michael Khamati.