In an outstanding game of football on May 15, 2023, AFC Leopards finally toppled their long-standing rivals, Gor Mahia, in the intensely followed Mashemeji Derby. To add icing to their victory cake, both teams received a generous donation of Sh1 million each from President William Ruto.
This thrilling league clash, which took place at the Nyayo National Stadium, culminated in a 2-1 triumph for the Leopards. This victory was a milestone for the club, marking the first time in seven years they’ve successfully defeated the K’Ogalo.
The Head of State was present at the game, sharing the spotlight with opposition leader Raila Odinga, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, and ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, among other dignitaries. Ruto and Odinga, sitting a few meters apart, attentively watched the match unfolding in the almost filled to capacity 30,000-seat stadium.
Other notable attendees included FKF President Nick Mwendwa and Langata lawmaker Felix Odiwuor, more commonly known as Jalang’o.
Upon the conclusion of the game, President Ruto, who witnessed Odinga’s disappointed departure – a Gor Mahia fan and former player – made his way onto the pitch. He briefly addressed both teams before presenting Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia) and Eugene Mukangula (AFC Leopards) with Sh1 million each, symbolizing his patronage for Kenyan football.
“I’m thrilled by the remarkable football we’ve witnessed today,” said Ruto. “It underscores our nation’s abundant talent. I’m committed to nurturing this talent, beginning with our bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, which I’ll be leading this Wednesday. We’ll also invest in refurbishing our sports facilities, including this stadium.”
His generous donations followed a substantial gift made by ICT CS Eliud Owalo. Owalo had previously hosted Gor Mahia to a luncheon, during which he presented them with Sh500,000, and offered the AFC Leopards Sh300,000 to help with their match-winning bonuses.
Ruto’s endorsement and financial support were not only a testament to the progress of Kenyan football but also a motivator for both teams to continue their influential impact on the sport.