Francis Xavier: I'm sure Gor Mahia won't beat resurgent AFC Leopards

Goal Kenya.
In their last league action, Gor Mahia lost to Nzoia Sugar while AFC Leopards fell to KCB

AFC Leopards legend and former midfielder Francis Xavier has stated that he expects the Sunday Mashemeji Derby against Gor Mahia to be very competitive.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Goal, Xavier said that Gor Mahia are not going to have an easy run against Ingwe this time around, given the resurgence of his former side.

AFC Leopards have not picked up a win in the Mashemeji Derby since March 2016 when Lamine Diallo netted the only goal.

“I am pretty sure that Gor Mahia are not going to win the match. It is going to be a tough one and I believe that AFC Leopards will fight until the end, given the stakes the match carries,” Xavier told Goal.

“In recent meetings, they have not been doing well against Gor Mahia but in a derby, anything can happen and in this one, AFC Leopards can win if they put everything right."

Ingwe have been on an upward surge since Rwandan tactician Andre Cassa Mbungo was appointed in February and the former Team Manager feels that Gor Mahia should be worried.

Before losing to KCB on Wednesday, AFC Leopards had picked up 11 points from a possible 15 in their previous five matches.

“If you look at recent games AFC Leopards have played, you will notice that they have a been a team on the rise and the derby is another moment for them to show they are still a good team,” added Xavier.

“After losing to KCB, I bet that Ingwe will turn out and fight for something good for their loyal fans.

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The former Vihiga United assistant coach picked Paul Were, Brian Marita and Whyvonne Isuza as players who can win the match for AFC Leopards against their great archrivals on Kenyan soil.

“Were, Isuza and Marita are the three players who can turn the match into AFC Leopard's favour. The pace and creativity exhibited by the two wingers will trouble Gor Mahia during the match. For Isuza, he has been in good form and I can see him having another good day on Sunday,” explained the retired footballer.

Xavier joined AFC Leopards in November 2000 and left in 2011. He is among the 10 players from across the two sides to have scored braces in a Mashemeji Derby match.