Yesterday’s terrific UEFA Champions League semi-final match between Ajax Amsterdam and Tottenham Hotspur, that saw the Spurs deny Ajax victory in injury time was not business as usual in Kenya. Kenyans had thrown their weight behind Tottenham owing to the fact that homeboy, Victor Wanyama, plays for the team.
A win for Tottenham was significant for Kenyans in many ways; first it would mean that two celebrated Kenyan footballers Victor Wanyama (Tottenham) and Divock Origi (Liverpool) get to play in the UEFA Champions League final for the first time in history and secondly, which makes it even more thrilling, is that their teams will be playing against each other.
In what Kenyans are now referring to as The Grand Mashemeji Derby in Madrid, a title used to refer to the clash between the country’s top local teams Gor Mahia and FC Leopards will also be played on a very significant day in Kenya, 1st June, a national holiday (Madaraka Day).
Social Media is awash with the conversation on the first Mashemeji Derby in the diaspora and posters on Origi and Wanyama have been made already but quite noticeable is the dilemma most fans are battling with; Who to support? Origi or Mariga?
“Who will I support between Victor Wanyama and Divock Origi? Before you think of giving up in life think of Liverpool vs Barcelona and Ajax vs Tottenham, You CAN make it.
#ChampionsLeagueFinal,” Embakasi East MP shared in a tweet.
Mac Donald Mariga, who is a brother to Victor Wanyama, became the first Kenyan to play and win the champions league trophy with Inter Milan in 2010. The match between Milan and Bayern was also coincidentally played in Madrid .
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – ALL ENGLISH FINAL
The 2019 UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hot Spurs is the first all-English showpiece since 2008. The two English clubs led a massive comeback at the last minute to advance to the Champions League final.
Liverpool thrashed Barcelona (4-0) on Tuesday in a surprise turn of events when while Tottenham’s Lucas Moura hattrick at 96th minute changed the tide for Ajax.
It was Divock Origi’s early goal that set Liverpool on their way to a remarkable victory characterized by a stunning second-leg fight back against Barcelona. Then substitute Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice in the space of 122 seconds and Origi struck again with the goal that would decide the tie on aggregate.
As the BBC reports, “It is the first time since 1986 – when Barcelona knocked out Gothenburg in the old European Cup – that a team has recovered a three-goal first-leg deficit to win a semi-final in this competition”.