Kakamega Homeboyz and AFC Leopards prepare for a thrilling Elijah Lidonde Cup final, reigniting their fierce football rivalry in Kakamega.
Kakamega Homeboyz and AFC Leopards are all set to ignite the Bukhungu Stadium with their electrifying clash in the highly anticipated Elijah Lidonde Cup final this Sunday afternoon.
The grudge match promises to be a spectacle of football rivalry, with both teams eyeing not only the coveted title but also the grand prize of Sh1 million.
In the heart of Kakamega County, where the town is divided between the yellow half of Homeboyz and the white and blue side of Leopards, emotions will run high as the Ingo Derby rivalry takes center stage.
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AFC Leopards secured their spot in the final by narrowly defeating National Super League side Mulembe United with a score of 1-0 in a gripping semifinal showdown.
The decisive moment came in the second half when Kevin Kimani showcased his free-kick prowess, delivering the crucial goal that secured their place in the final.
Ingwe is determined to defend their title, having clinched the cup in 2022 after a tense penalty shootout against Nzoia Sugar.
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On the other side of the bracket, Kakamega Homeboyz displayed their dominance by overpowering Nzoia Sugar with a resounding 2-0 victory in their semifinal clash at the Bukhungu Stadium.
The match remained goalless in the first half as Nzoia valiantly held their ground.
However, Homeboyz unleashed their offensive prowess in the second half, with Ghanaian import Stephen Opoku breaking the deadlock in the 50th minute.
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Vincent Ogola added to the excitement with a goal in the 77th minute, sealing Homeboyz's path to the final.
Reflecting on their semifinal win, Kakamega Homeboyz striker Moses Shummah exclaimed, "We played well and secured that win as our opponents challenged us. We have hopes and believe that we will emerge victorious, and we call on our fans to come and support us."
The stakes are high, with not only pride but also a substantial cash prize of Sh1 million on the line for the winner.
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AFC Leopards begin their Elijah Lidonde Cup defense against Mulembe United in a four-team tournament
The runner-up will not go home empty-handed, as they will receive Sh500,000.
Additionally, the third and fourth-placed teams will be awarded Sh250,000 and Sh200,000, respectively, in recognition of their outstanding efforts in the tournament.
Before the final match kicks off, Nzoia Sugar and Mulembe United will engage in a high-stakes playoff to determine the third-place winner.
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This match promises to set the stage for the grand finale, where the two sides, Kakamega Homeboyz and AFC Leopards, will clash in a spectacle that promises to be a fitting tribute to the late Elijah Lidonde.
Notably, this final encounter comes just six days after both teams met in a 2023/2024 Football Kenya Premier League match, where Leopards emerged victorious with a 2-0 win. Homeboyz will undoubtedly be seeking revenge in this high-stakes rematch.
Homeboyz and Leopards are among the most supported teams in the country.
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The Ingo Derby rivalry has become a cultural phenomenon, drawing fans from all corners of Kakamega to the iconic 5,000-seater Bukhungu Stadium.
The origins of the Ingo Derby rivalry trace back to 2010 when Cleophas Shimanyula, known as Toto, alongside Boniface Imbenzi, Ismael Khaende, and Brian Musuku, saw an opportunity to create a new club.
They recognized the abundance of football talent in the town, with many dreams going unfulfilled as only a select few made it to AFC Leopards or other top clubs.
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Thus, the birth of Kakamega Homeboyz marked the beginning of an intense local rivalry that has since captured the imagination of football fans.
The Elijah Lidonde Cup tournament serves as a tribute to the legendary Elijah Lidonde, who captained both Abaluhya (AFC Leopards) and Harambee Stars from 1950 to 1961.
Lidonde's legacy lives on through this tournament, celebrating his remarkable contributions to Kenyan football.