Gor’s head coach Vaz Pinto has promised to lead his charges in retaining their Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League title after the side beat arch-rivals AFC Leopards in the Betway Cup finals at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday.
“It was a difficult game coming especially at a time we had already honoured a congested fixture.
“My players and staff deserve the win after putting in such commendable effort. Our opponents played well but at the end of the day Gor deserved the victory. Our focus now shifts to winning the league,” said Pinto.
His AFC Leopards counterpart Patrick Aussems extolled their opponents for emerging the better side.
“I just want to congratulate Gor Mahia for emerging the champions. We created opportunities and failed to make use of them.
“I wouldn’t want to make excuses. We simply lost to a better side,” said Aussems.
Gor’s win sparked wild scenes among fans inside the stadium. Besides booking a continental showpiece slot and bragging rights, K’Ogalo went home Sh2m richer. Leopards bagged Sh1m.
Gor’s custodian Gad Mathews was the toast of the day, blocking two attempts from the spot in a post-match shootout. AFC shaked off their underdogs tie coming into the derby, as they started off the promising side.
Gor scored their penalties through Sydney Ochieng, Kenneth Muguna, Clifton Miheso and Sammy Onyango. AFC netted their only goal through Eric Munene while skipper Isaac Kipyegon said Tsuma attempts were blocked by Mathews.
Gor Mahia’s Kenneth Muguna scooped the Most Valuable Player accolade. Best goalkeeper award John Oyemba for keeping five clean sheets. Top scorers award went to Benjamin Mosha.
Joyous disbelief was etched on to the faces of the Gor’s staff, players and fans after an exhausting but well-earned battle royale conquest. AFC Leopards striker Elvis Rupia’s endless inroads were crafted by Austin Odhiambo’s shuffling shoes.
A rich vein of form offered the lethal striker just enough room to test the fitness of Gor’s custodian Gad Mathews. On the other end, Tito Okello provided the beauty in Gor’s’ impressive and flowing inroads as he tormented the opponent’s defence at will throughout the entertaining affair.
In the third-place playoffs, Bidco pipped Equity 1-0. Equity head coach John Barasa said their match against Bidco boiled down to experience. “Bidco made use of their experience although we also failed to take advantage of our chances.
“My charges are still in the learning process, and we’ve gathered some vital lessons from the tournament,” said Barasa.
Bidco’s Anthony Akhulia said he wasn’t all that impressed with kind of performance his charges exhibited in their slim win. “Despite the win we didn’t play very well. The win has boosted the morale in the camp ahead if our match against Nzoia.
“We gave a few players an opportunity to show us what they can offer and they certainly came through,” said Akhulia. Kassim Mwinyi put Bidco United ahead when he rose unmarked to head in Wison Anekeya’s cross a corner kick.
Bidco emerged from the break more rejuvenated and it wasn’t long before Eric Gichimu’s header rattled the crossbar before he was adjudged to have been offside.
Equity strung together some crisp passes as they weaved their way past their opponents but looked short of ideas in the final third. Bidco went home with Sh750k while Equity settled for Sh500k.