Security key as Gor, Leopards renew ageless rivalry

A total of 200 police officers consisting of three GSU platoons will be on duty at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium during the highly anticipate Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash between arch-rivals Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards on Sunday.

Chaos have often ensued during clashes between the two giant clubs – who between them boast a whopping 27 league crowns – with officials now keen to tame fans from both sides.

The fans have been advised that the sitting area above Gate 6 at the Stadium will be a no go zone as part of the security measures put in place for the match that could well decide Gor’s fate in their bid to defend the KPL crown for a record fourth consecutive time.

In a press briefing on Friday at the same venue, KPL head of security GMT Otieno flanked by the two club’s Organizing Secretaries, David Kiilo (Gor) and Timothy Lilumbi (Leopards) affirmed their commitment to complete a peaceful double of the derby dubbed as Mashemeji this season.

“We are calling on everyone to maintain peace. The security personnel will be ready to deal with any kind of hooliganism. We have requested for police on horsebacks as well as dog handlers, all in a bid to ensure there are no mishaps on the day.

“The terraces above Gate 6 will be locked out for fans. We have agreed that the area will only be reserved for GSU officers and it will be the buffer between the two teams’ fans. The GSU personnel will occupy the area as early as 10AM GMT (+3GMT),” charged Otieno.

Ingwe have also contracted private security (316 Security) which will deploy 100 officers to complement the police officers available.

K’Ogalo and Ingwe will also be provide ten stewards apiece with their job description limited to guarding their teams and changing rooms, under the direction of 316 Security officials.

The security planning team has also ensured that there will be no direct contact of the two club’s fans entering the stadium, by allocating Gor’s the entrance around the Nyayo Stadium Police Post while the Leopards faithful will be required to use the entry around Kuche Kuche Club.

In another new venture, tickets to the match will be sold online, the sale closing at noon. Fans without the tickets won’t go beyond the stadia perimeter wall, with the match scheduled to kick-off at 3:30PM EAT (+3GMT).

The first leg saw Leopards sink Gor 1-0 at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani, courtesy of Lamine Dialo’s goal, who has since moved to another KPL side Ushuru.

While Gor is keeping faith sails could go their way and deny leaders Tusker the league title with only four matches remaining, 12th placed Leopards is keen to finish within top 8.

-Change of guard-

When Ingwe carried the day in Kasarani, it was newly installed Belgian Jacky Ivan Minaert who was at the helm of the 12-time national champions. Gor’s defeat fuelled the kicking out of the then K’Ogalo boss Frank Nuttal, paving way for the incumbent Brazilian Jose ‘Ze Maria’ Fereirra.

Coincidentally, Leopards will be led from the dugout by yet another new face, Stewart Hall barely a week after joining the den.

It will be a baptism of fire for the Briton and former Azam tactician, whose only cool memory against the 15-time national champions was in the 2015 CECAFA Kagame Cup final in Tanzania where he guided his team then to the regional crown with a solitary goal victory. Meanwhile other six matches will be staged on Saturday and Sunday, Mathare United hosting Bandari as Sony Sugar travel to Kakamega Homeboyz.

Chemelil Sugar will be locking horns with Posta Rangers, Thika United face off with Ushuru, Western Stima with GOtv finalists Ulinzi Stars while Tusker will play Nairobi City Stars.

A win for the Brewers will see them inch closer to lifting a double this season, needing just a draw in the rest three matches to be crowned the champions for the 11th time.