Nine coaches, seven years, 16 derby matches: What it took AFC Leopards to end Gor Mahia hoodoo

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FKFPL Nine coaches, seven years, 16 derby matches: What it took AFC Leopards to end Gor Mahia hoodoo

Joel Omotto • 08:15 - 16.05.2023

Patrick Aussems succeeded where many before him couldn’t as Ingwe finally tasted victory against the old enemy last weekend

AFC Leopards coach Patrick Aussems is the new hero at the Den after succeeding where eight men before him failed, beating the old enemy Gor Mahia.

Aussems guided Leopards to a 2-1 win in the latest serving of the Mashemeji Derby on Sunday, ending seven years of pain for Ingwe supporters who had become a bogey team for Gor.

AFC Leopards players celebrate a goal against Gor Mahia.

To make it even sweeter for Leopards fans, the victory dented K’Ogalo’s title aspirations as they now find themselves one point behind Tusker, handled by former Ingwe player and coach Robert Matano, who is also a life member of the club.

Victor Omune’s penalty and Maxell Otieno’s header, either side of Austin Odhiambo’s headed goal, all scored in the first half, were enough for Ingwe to claim maximum points and at the final whistle, Aussems had done what eight others before him could not.

March 16, 2016 had been the last time Leopards beat Gor in any competition when substitute Lamine Diallo popped up to poke home past Gor goalkeeper Jerim Onyango with seven minutes remaining to give Ivan Minnaert’s team victory.

The Belgian tactician masterminded a great defensive display to nullify Gor’s threat and reaped the rewards when the burley striker showed great technique to score. Coincidentally, it took another Belgian in Aussems to silence Gor, victory coming after 16 winless matches against their eternal rivals.

Stewart Hall

After Minnaert, Englishman Stewart Hall was the man in the hot seat at Ingwe, joining the club in October 2016 and lost his first derby, a 2-0 defeat at home for Leopards, the same month he arrived, before he departed in April 2017.

Dorian Marin

Up next was Romanian Dorian Marin, joining the club in May 2017, but lasted just a week before was shown the door for ‘failing to coexist with the players.’ However, even in his short stint, he had lost to Gor, a 3-0 thumping in the SportPesa Super Cup final in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Robert Matano

The managerial merry-go-round then ushered in Ingwe old boy Matano, joining in July 2017, but by the time he was sacked in March 2018, he had managed a 1-1 draw away to Gor before losing 1-0 at home, opening the door for Argentine Rodolfo Zapata.

Rodolfo Zapata

Zapata signed for Ingwe in April 2018 but by October of the same year, he was already gone. That was after playing against Gor three times, drawing 0-0 in a friendly before losing 2-1 and 2-0 respectively, in the league.

Nikola Kavazovic & Marko Vasiljevic

Ingwe would then turn to Croatians, starting with Nikola Kavazovic in October 2018, who lasted two months, leaving before facing Gor, with his countryman and his assistant Marko Vasiljevic replacing him. The then 31-year-old coach was sacked at the beginning of February 2019, ushering in Rwandan Andre Casa Mbungo.

Andre Casa Mbungo

Mbungo arrived just in time for the Mashemeji Derby and was handed a 2-0 defeat by Gor. He resigned in December that year but that was after a 4-1 drubbing by the old enemy a month earlier, handing the keys to his assistant Anthony ‘Modo’ Kimani, who took charge on an interim basis.

Anthony ‘Modo’ Kimani

Modo served until November 2020 when Leopards appointed Czech Thomas Trucha as their new permanent coach. The former Leopards captain had lost 1-0 to Gor before Trucha’s arrival.

By December 2020, Kimani was back in the hot seat again, after Trucha had been shown the door and after guiding Ingwe to a barren draw against Gor, he quit in February 2021 after which Aussems was appointed.

Aussems has been at the Den since February 2021 and managed to get one over Gor for the first time after four failed attempts that had yielded three draws and one defeat before Sunday’s victory.