KENYAN Champions Gor Mahia ended Simba’s dream to play Everton at Goodison Park following their convincing 2-0 win in the SportPesa Super Cup final at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.
Goals from Rwandan imports, Meddie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge earned Gor Mahia their vital ticket to travel to England and play against Everton apart from the silverware, gold medals and 30,000 US dollars. Simba who finished the overall runners, also won silver medals and 10,000 US Dollars. It was a very competitive match as each side was eyeing to win the once in a lifetime chance of travelling to England to play Everton FC.
Determined Gor Mahia stunned Simba barely five minutes from the start when Meddie Kagere shot past Aishi Manula a right flank low pass from Tuyisenge. Simba, on several occasions failed to dominate the midfield section a situation that impeded the effectiveness of team’s striking force manned by Adam Salamba, Shiza Kichuya and Mzamiru Yassin. The absence of the holding midfielder, Haruna Niyonzima was a big blow to Simba yesterday as it opened wide door for Gor Mahia to cook their attacks from the area.
Simba’s newly signed striker Adam Salamba led the frontline battle alongside Mohammed Rashid but their chemistry could not make full use of the rare opportunities they had. Simba’s best chance came in the 27th minute when Shiza Kichuya forced his way into the penalty box, played a low-flying cross to Rashid Juma, but the latter’s volley was well blocked by Gor Mahia keeper Shaaban Odhoji.
Gor Mahia were good in long balls, a situation that gave Simba a difficult play most of the time. It was crustal clear evident that absence of Emanuel Okwi- John Bocco partnership cost Simba dearly yesterday. Simba’s captain Erasto Nyoni who spearheaded the defence throughout the tense match was the first player to go into the referee’s book in the 34th minute when his sliding tackle on Gor Mahia player could not have gone without punishment.
As the half time whistle sounded, only one goal separated the two teams hence an opportunity for Simba to come back into the second half with transformed mind. However, it was the same story for the Msimbazi Street giants as they allowed the second goal in the early minutes of the last half. Simba’s defender Nyoni was exposed in the 54th minute as he failed to clear the long ball inside the penalty box which landed on Jacques Tuyisenge left foot who simply pushed it into the open goal as goalkeeper Aishi Manula was already beaten at his post.
With two goals down, it was a hard task for Simba to come back into the game a situation that forced Coach Masoud Djuma to make his first substitution in the 57th minute by benching Rashid Juma for Marcel Kaheza. Salamba had his moment in the 63rd minute to pull one back for his club, but his close range strike narrowly missed the target.
Djuma made his second substitution in the 59th minute by calling in Mohamed Hussein to replace Yusuf Mlipili in what seemed to be a tactical change that aimed at containing the midfield pressure which was highly dominated by the hosts. Despite employing several tactics, Simba could not find that much needed breakthrough as Gor Mahia looked perfect in all areas.
However, the biggest achievement was recorded by Singida United who finished this year’s Super Cup finals at the third position following their 4-1 penalty win over Kakamega Homeboyz at the same venue yesterday.
The teams shared spoils in a 1-1 draw at the end of 90 minutes, before Singida United wining 4-1 in the shoot out. Like in the previous matches, Singida United keeper, Peter Manyika Jr was the match hero after saving one penalty and two others going far above the post.