The first competitive match of the 2016 season will be the DSTV Super cup match pitting league champions Gor Mahia against GoTV shield winners Bandari FC of Mombasa. The match is on Saturday at Mbaraki sports club. This is the match that most pundits had anticipated to be the GoTV final least season, only for Gor Mahia to fall unexpectedly in the semis to Nakumatt.
Bandari were sensational last season. They finished fourth in the league, which is their best standing ever then went on to dispatch Nakumatt in clinical fashion in the GoTV shield final. With the CAF Confederation cup looming, coach Twahir Muhiddin has strengthened his side. In comes former Gor Mahia stalwarts Dan Sserunkuma, fresh from his stint playing in Armenia. Whether he is still as sharp as he was in 2014 is unknown. His stints in Tanzania and Armenia have not been succesful. But coach Frank Nuttall will be well aware of the danger he presents. Another former player Gor Mahia will have to contend with is Edwin Lavatsa. The lanky former Gor Mahia striker has battled injuries that ended his sojourn in the Algerian league. Bandari have also signed Felly Mulumba, Edwin Wafula and Bernard Mangoli from AFC Leopards whom coach Muhiddin is very excited about.
“I am happy to have acquired the services of Bernard Mang’oli, he is an intelligent player who will improve us. He is technically gifted”
Bandari have played three friendlies so far and have been unimpressive. They were in Nairobi and left undefeated after playing three matches. They drew 2-2 with Posta Rangers and 1-1 with Thika United. The coastal boys registered a 1-0 win over Wazito at Ruaraka grounds. But coach Muhiddin is unperturbed.
“We’ve prepared well for the Gor match. After a one-week high altitude training at Ngong, my players are physically fit and ready to face any team in and outside the country,” said Muhiddin to the Nation.
Gor Mahia for their part have played to the level of the competition. They did well to beat Ethiopian giants St George and Sudan giants Al Hilal. But they also lost to Bondo United and were forced to a draw by Western Stima. One would expect Gor Mahia to rise to the occassion against Bandari.
Gor Mahia Vice Chair David Kilo expressed misgivings about the venue.
“It was not a good decision to take the matches to Mombasa, remember both teams have been in Nairobi, training for continental assignments so Nairobi would have been the best place. We tried to raise the same with the organizers but they were adamant the match should be played in Mombasa, they were not ready to hear us,” he said to goal.com
Supersport have poured Ksh 3 Million into the match. The winner takes home Ksh 750,000 with the runner up taking Ksh 500,000.