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Goal.com takes a look at six key players, who could be vital in guiding their teams to victory when Ingwe and K'Ogalo clash in Sunday's league derby at Nyayo Stadium

By Otieno Otieno

Perennial rivals AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia come face to face in a premiership match dubbed 'Mashemeji derby' at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.

Goal.com takes a look at six players, who could be vital in guiding their teams to victory.

DEFENDERS TO WATCH
ANTHONY KIMANI
VS
ISRAEL EMUGE


AFC LEOPARDS CLUB
GOR MAHIA
If there is one man who will manage to tame Sserunkuma, it is Kimani. Despite joining Leopards at the beginning of this season, Kimani has firmly established himself at the heart of the team’s defense. He is solid and can tame every move by Sserunkuma. He also has something extra - his ability to score goals from set-pieces and especially corner-kicks. Few will forget his header against Tusker in a 1-1 draw two weeks ago. This means he is capable of scoring against Gor if he finds an opportunity. Furthermore, Kimani’s experience gives him a lot of confidence going into this match.  

Another stable defender. It is difficult to remember any mistake made by the Ugandan since establishing himself in Gor Mahia defence. Confident and stable, he brings into the match an unviable composure and focus that is difficult to find with most new players. His size will be intimidating to Leopards' striking force something that may force them to make mistakes and he certainly will be there to pick the spoils. Despite being his first derby, Emuge should not find a problem fitting into his position.

MIDFIELDERS TO WATCH
PATILLA OMOTO
VS
ANTHONY AKUMU


AFC LEOPARDS CLUB
GOR MAHIA

The former Kariobangi Sharks midfielder has cemented his position in Leopards’ midfield despite joining the club just a few months ago. His absence was greatly felt when Leopards lost to City Stars last Sunday. His strengths include pin-point passing, confidence on the ball and an amazing ability to create chances for the strikers. His combination in the midfield with Edwin Wafula is one of the best things to have happened to Leopards. At his best he will be a great asset to Ingwe.

 

Akumu was not voted the best midfielder of the year for nothing last season. Accurate, intelligent and strong, he will be an asset to the club on Sunday. He is capable of spoiling all of Leopards’ moves in the middle to keep his team safe and protect the defenders. Many have compared him to former Arsenal great Patrick Viera, who delighted everyone with his command of the midfield. Akumu has performed well in the last two seasons ending up as one of the best players in Gor Mahia.

STRIKERS TO WATCH
MIKE BARAZA
VS
DAN SSERUNKUMA


AFC LEOPARDS CLUB
GOR MAHIA

Experienced, determined and focused, Barasa will certainly carry the team once again. He is the man who keeps fighting when everyone else has given up and his ability comes out strongly during derbies. When he announced his decision to quit three weeks ago, there was uproar among Leopards’ faithful, who convinced him to change his mind perhaps a pointer to his value to the club. Barasa however, needs to get a serious striking partner upfront otherwise; he will get frustrated working hard to deliver balls.

 

The Ugandan was rested for Gor Mahia’s mid-week Top 8 mtch against Tusker and for good reason. He is almost sure that he will score against Leopards given his good record against the club. He scored against Leopards when he played for City Stars in a 3-0 win and also scored last season while at Gor when the team won 2-1. Sserunkuma is used to terrorizing the Leopards defense it will remains to be seen how they will manage to hold him this time round. Leopards defense has been one of their weakest links this season and could crack easily.