The irrepressible, the all-conquering Gor Mahia team of 2015 have won many games than many can remember. But this one, the latest one, none measures up to it.
It’s the best one yet, the most important, the one that sees them just one more win away from being crowned the 2015 Cecafa Kagame Cup champions – something that hasn’t happened in 30 years, but one that’s as close to happening than otherwise.
Many had written off Gor Mahia’s chances of going past Sudanese outfit Al Khartoum as the duo clashed in the first semi-final of the Cecafa Kagame Cup. Not at home where their bitter rivals, AFC Leopards, took twitter to deliver an untimely jab, not abroad where they were seen as an easy opposition to the Sudanese.
But by 23 minutes of the opening half, all the naysayers were eating their humble pie.
For the Kogalo juggernaut, despite falling behind to an early goal, never gave up.
Well, unsurprisingly so. They just haven’t known how to give up this season. Not at home, not abroad.
One last step
In summary, Gor Mahia are through to their first Cecafa Kagame Cup final, after out-lasting and out classing pre-match favorites Al Khartoum 3-1.
It wasn’t as straightforward as a 3-1 scoreline should be. Kogalo had to fight from behind after the Sudanese scored first.
There was a hint of offside from Al Khartoum goalscorer and club captain Elmani, and the Sudanese could have gone two up within the opening 10 minutes as Gor Mahia played dangerously at the back. Luckily though, they didn’t get punished.
It took Frank Nuttall’s men 12 minutes to settle. They created their first chance in the 14th minute, Innocent Wafula, him who was the coach’s only change from the side that beat Malakia 2-1, hitting the side netting after a lovely run.
Two minutes later, Meddie Kagere had his head buried on his hands after his header rattled the crossbar.
Undeterred by their lack of luck, Kogalo streamed forward like raven wild dogs.
The opener, the lead
With Khartoum naive to pick up the warnings, Gor Mahia found the equalizer midway into the first half, Michael Olunga slotting home a penalty after a handball inside the opponent’s box.
An equalizer was soon turned into a lead as the impressive Wafula unleashed a rasping shot that Khartoum keeper Mohammed Abdalla only saw when looking backwards at his net.
2-1 Kogalo lead.
Khartoum had been hit by something they didn’t expect; the Gor Mahia tsunami.
Both sides created few chances thereafter, but that was to the detriment of the Sudanese. The half ended silently for Al Khartoum, but Gor Mahia went into the breather roaring.
The second interval
The second half started as the first with Kwesi Appiah’s side in command. Within the opening 6 minutes, they had been ruled offside as they went searching for an equalizer.
With the clock hitting the 55 minute mark, Gor Mahia got the killing goal. Olunga, player of the tournament-elect, was at the center of it, the lanky forward holding the ball up well, before teeing Kagere who didn’t have to miss.
And he didn’t 3-1 to Kogalo.
Gattuso, Aucho Rule
Gor Mahia didn’t have to do much, they had hit the ball with supreme ferocity to Al Khartoum’s court. A few half chances here and there was all they needed.
With Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth and Khalid Aucho bossing the midfield, Khartoum rarely threatened after their early wave.
It ended 3-1, a result that sent Gor Mahia to the final of the 2015 Cecafa Kagame Cup. They can now go on, and win it!
Gor Mahia XI – 23. Boniface Oluoch-GK, 10. Aucho Khalid, 22. Kagere Meddie, 2. Walusimbi Godfrey, 29. Innocent Wafula, 5. Mohammed Musa (Cpt), 19. Olunga Michael, 6. Collins Okoth, 3. Sibomana Abouba, 14. Karim Nizigiyimana, 18. Shakava Harun.
Substitutes – 1. Jerim Onyango -GK, 17. Eric Ochieng, 7. Ronald Omino, 26. Dirkir Glay, 25. Odhiambo George, 30. Ali Abondo, 24. Enock Agwanda
Al Khartoum XI: 30. Mohammed Abdalla–GK, 8. Amin Elmani (CPT), 15. Samawal Merghani, 5. Omer Alkhidr, 6. Salah Eldin Mahmoud, 14. Antony Akumu, 10. Domenic Abul, 11. Atif Khalid, 16. Wagdi Abdalla, 17. Ahmed Mahmoud, 19. Ousmalia Baba