Before this day, the last time Bobby Williamson met Francis Kimanzi, the latter was unbeaten and at the end of it all still walked away the same- unbeaten. That was exactly 70 days ago.
Over the same time however- nature would have dictated that the two coaches meet two times, sadly- that wasn’t to be.
Away in Scotland attending to personal matters, the Green and white Legion bemoaned the lack of Bobby on the touchline as Osumba lightened up a rather expectant Kinoru crowd in Meru- literally so, the chaff of green ‘miraa’ leaves couldn’t share the shelter of mouth with the sound of excitement.
In my previous article on Tusker FC- the greatest demerit I had to point out was the fact that they were too indisciplined coupled by the fact that they were letting in so many goals. The tightness at the back can’t be said to have changed too much, however the number of bookings has far much reduced over the same tie- credit alert.
While in the league 5 points separate the two arch rivals- a gap that cannot be closed easily by the aggregate winner taking into account Gor Mahia’s pedigree- the KPL Top 8 just confirms its status, as a sprint inside a marathon. (Remember, The KPL Top8 is only played amongst peers)
Gor Mahia for all its industry had Rama to thank for a quick start, however never fail to point out that Tusker have over the time grown to learn the artistry of playing Gor Mahia at City Stadium, even threatening to beat them at times.
On this day, Tusker sought to underline the same. Knowing just a goal would be enough- Kimanzi had his game plan spot on. Conceding as early as the third minute brought with it bad memories; remember KPL Top 8 semi-final on 09/08/2012, the day Rama (2’), Moses Odhiambo (53′) and Lavatasa (58′) scored their debut KPL Top 8 goals against a hapless Pamzo led Tusker side? Pamzo was later shown the door; Kimanzi though didn’t have to harbour such worries, he only had to mark his arrival amongst his peers- a final place.
Cup games are hard; harder for Bobby even was the fact that Shaban Kenga and Anthony Akumu perhaps played their last games in a Gor Mahia jersey- is this the first of many problems he has to deal with? From now on, it will be exciting to see how Gor Mahia wade this murky waters . That coupled by an out-wittingly good Kimanzi in his element spelt doom for the Scot’s charges.
The bigger picture rightfully so should be another KPL Top 8 final. Tusker have just become only the second team ever to have made two consecutive final appearances- a record they tie now with Ulinzi Stars; should they win it, shall just be the first team to have won two in a row.
A 180 minute contest spread over 225 kilometers apart, didn’t have to end however in such a (teary) anti-climax. Played in the best of spirits- the two set of players deserve all the credit.
When someone points out that Kenya has two consistent teams, maybe even two big teams- the second team is always picked depending on recent history, however, validation and authenticity keeps you above your peers- in light of this Tusker FC have lay claim to this title- if still not so, another chance represents itself at the final.