The May 12 showdown at Moi Stadium in Kisumu might be the day the title will be won as K’Ogalo host Batoto ba Mungu. Sofapaka will need to work their magic in order to shrug off the poor record they have had against the 18-time Kenyan league champions.
Gor Mahia are currently leading the 18-team KPL table on 63 points, seven more than second placed Sofapaka.
Since 2010, Sofapaka have managed just two wins over Gor Mahia with the first one coming in 2014 and the second win in 2017.
In 2014, a brace from Fiston Abdoul and another one from Ekaliano Ndolo helped Sofapaka beat Gor Mahia 3-2. Gor Mahia’s goals came from an own goal by Sofapaka’s Eugine Asike and a late one by Ugandan defender Geoffrey Kizito.
In 2017, Ezekiel Okare and Timothy Luda were responsible for Sofapaka’s goals that sunk Gor Mahia 2-0. None of the players that assisted Batoto ba Mungu to win those two matches are still on the books with Sofapaka.
Although the Green Army lost those two matches, they went on to win the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title in that season.
K’Ogalo have managed a season double over Sofapaka only once in those 18 matches that stretch across the nine years.
In 2013, Paul Kiongera powered Gor Mahia to a 1-0 win before another victory of the same margin was recorded in the second meeting and Ugandan striker Dan Sserunkuma was the scorer. Both Sserunkuma and Kiongera are no longer with the Green Army.
The current league contestants have shared the spoils in a season only once; in a 0-0 draw in 2011 (both home and away). They both missed the title then as Tusker were crowned champions.
Between 2010 and 2013, only five goals were scored in the seven fixtures involving the two rivals. The majority of those goals, four to be precise, were for Gor Mahia which they achieved with a 1-0 win in three matches.
A result of 0-0 was recorded in the other three matches while one match ended with a 1-1 draw. That is where Sofapaka got their one goal in those three years of hard labour.
A huge chunk of goals have been registered in the last two years (2017-2019) where 15 of them have been scored. Nine goals out of 15 have been for Gor Mahia while the remaining goals were for the Batoto ba Mungu side.
The number of goals also reflects the Green Army’s superior record over Sofapaka because they have three wins in the five matches played in the two-year period. A 3-3 draw and a 2-0 win for the 2009 champions marks the other results between 2017 and 2019.
In their ranks, Gor Mahia have assistant coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno who is familiar with the KPL, having played and coached in it.
After retirement, ‘Zico’ had two coaching stints at Sony Sugar (2012 and in the 2013-2015 seasons) and has also overseen Posta Rangers in 2016. His first managerial job for Gor Mahia ended in 2010 when he took over the national team where he lasted for almost two years.
Sofapaka boasts John Baraza who led them to the 2009 KPL title. He has been serving as an assistant coach and succeeded Sam Ssimbwa when the Ugandan left the club in April 2018.
Baraza was also the assistant coach to Melis Medo before the current Mount Kenya United coach was sacked, owing to poor results at the beginning of the season.
Since then, Baraza has been in charge of the team fully as they keep their chase of the title that has eluded them for almost a decade.