Gor Mahia head coach Carlos Vaz Pinto is expecting a tough match when his side battle with their perennial rivals AFC Leopards today.
This will be in a highly anticipated FKF Betway Cup final match at Nyayo National Stadium.
This will be the first Mashemeji derby at the historic 30,000 seater facility since it was reopened to the public by President Uhuru Kenyatta in September last year after nearly 41 months of renovation.
Both teams missed out on next season’s CAF Champions League slot after finishing behind current FKF Premier League leaders Tusker and that makes today match important.
Today’s tie presents each of them with a realistic chance to represent the country in the Confederation Cup.
Ingwe are third on the log with 40 points, one ahead of fourth placed K’ogalo and seven points behind Tusker.
And save for the continental ticket, the winner of the domestic cup final will also pocket Sh2 million in prize money.
While the record Premier League champions last lifted the Betway Cup in 2012 when they beat Sofapaka 3-0 on post-match penalties, AFC Leopards claimed their last trophy in 2017.
But the Portuguese will be aiming to help K’ogalo avenge the 1-0 cup final defeat to Ingwe in 2013.
“Our match against AFC Leopards is going to be a tough because both teams have the needed confidence to win but I hope our preparations for the game will earn us a positive result,” said Pinto.
Pinto’s sentiments were echoed by his captain Harun Shakava.
“Of course we respect AFC Leopards, but I feel many of the players in the group are young and have not won a title, so they want to enjoy the success of winning titles,” Shakava said.
However, for AFC Leopards coach Patrick Aussems his target is to make fans happy.
“It is a tough game but I believe we have trained sufficiently and hope to make our fans happy by attaining a positive result in the FKF Betway Cup finals,” said Aussems.
The 3:15pm encounter will be preceded by an early third-place playoff tie between Bidco United and Equity at the same venue.
Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards saw off Bidco United (4-1) and Equity (6-5) on penalties to sail through.