It will be the third time in history that the 'Mashemeji derby' will be played outside Kenya. The first time the two teams faced each other outside the country was in 1980 during the bruising final of East and Central Club Championship in Malawian capital city of Blantyre. Gor Mahia clinched the title after dethroning AFC Leopards 3-2 with the legendary Nahashon Oluoch alias Lule scoring the winning goal.
AFC Leopards were the defending champions having won the title the previous year in Mogadishu, Somalia against hosts Horseed FC through a spectacular free-kick by Adbul Baraza. Five years later the two rival clubs met in 1985 during the epic final of the same championship in Khartoum, Sudan, and Gor Mahia won the title thanks to a brace by William Obwaka.
Again, AFC Leopards were the defending champions after scooping the title in Nairobi the previous year following a 2-1 victory over K’Ogalo in th finals. Going by history, Gor Mahia start as favourites for the title against a jinxed AFC Leopards. Morever, Ingwe‘s passage to the final was through lottery of penalty shoot out as opposed to K'Ogalo.
The Big Cats kicked-off the tournament’s campaign with a 5-4 post match penalty win against little known Singida United after a one all draw in regulation time. Their next was a semis tie against Yanga in which they won 4-2 on post match penalties after a barren deadlock in normal time. Gor Mahia stormed into the semis with a comfortable 2-0 win over Jang’ombe from Zanzibar before consigning Nakuru All Stars to the dustbin with a similar margin.
Will AFC Leopards break the jinx?. This is the six million dollar question.