K’Ogalo handed SportPesa Premier League trophy in Kisumu, a record extending 17th Kenyan title.
Gor Mahia were on Sunday crowned the 2018 SportPesa Premier League champions for a record extending 17th time at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu after drawing 2-2 with Mathare United.
There was pomp and colour as the ‘Green Army’ turned up in record numbers at t
he lake-side city to witness the crowning moment.
Celebrations started early with supporters from Nairobi, Mombasa and Siaya colouring the Kenyatta Sportsground green.
Hundreds of Gor Mahia fans – donned in the club’s traditional green and white regalia – danced around the city happily. Others wept in joy. That moment had finally come that K’Ogalo were being coroneted for the fourth time in the heart of their supporters.
One Gor diehard fan even took the mandate to control traffic to allow more fans move to the stadium earlier before the match started.
Huge banners displayed in town service vehicles and personal cars boldly displayed the words: We are the champions.
Having secured the league with six matches to spare, bowed out of the CAF Confederation Cup at group stage and got knocked out of the SportPesa Shield, this will be the last big event for K’Ogalo faithful’s this year locally.
The 32nd game of the champions started with a guard of honour from Mathare players.
Gor started the match in a high tempo with their huge backing from their local fan base, and took the lead in the 8th minute of the game after Raphael Asudi found Jack Tuyisenge in the area with a neatly done through pass and the striker rounded up the goalkeeper to score his 14th goal of the season, one less than last season’s top scorer.
In the 25th minute, Gor could have doubled their lead when Kahata and Tuyisenge exchanged good one-two passes at the edge of the box and Tuyisenge finding Guikan with exquisitely done through pass. The Ivorian rounded goalkeeper to slot home only for a Mathare defender to clear from the line.
The match, played in the high temperatures of Kisumu prompted the center referee to allow for water break in the 33rd minute.
Three minutes later, George Blackberry Odhiambo had a good run on the left, going past two defenders only to see his shot go inches wide off the mark.
Gor finished the second half with a comfortable 1-0 lead showing their dominance as Fredrick Odhiambo rendered a spectator by the Green Army defence.
In the second half, a swift move from deep in midfield, orchestrated by Francis Kahata led to a corner in the 53rd minute leading to a corner from which Humphrey Mieno scored.
The goal prompted the Mathare technical bench to introduce Daniel Mwaura with Ndonye making way in the 55th minute
And it took the new substitute only 10 minutes to make an impact, providing an assist for Omulanga to pull one back for Mathare United after rounding the K’Ogalo goalkeeper.
Gor’s Kerr reacted by introducing Francis Mustafa in place of George Odhiambo as Charles Momanyi replaced the injured Raphael Asudi.
In the 78th minute, Mathare United were awarded a penalty after after Joash Onyango pushed Omulanga in the penalty box area and Nyakeya scored from the spot.
The game ended in a draw, but it did not deter the fans from celebrating their 17th title.
Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr paid tribute to his players for clinching the title attributing their success to consistency, hard work and discipline.
“I am very grateful to the boys because this season the boys showed continuous handwork and good discipline and the results are here to be seen despite the few setbacks we have had in the past weeks. I am happy we have taken the trophy and I feel we deserve it,” said Kerr.
The match was also attended by a host of leaders from the region who included Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Gor captain Harun Shakava lifted the trophy to the delight of thousands of fans who had thronged the stadium.