Gor Mahia face Sudan's Merowe in CAF Confederation Cup tie

FOOTBALL |
Gor Mahia’s Frank Odhiambo (left) and Austin Odhiambo of AFC Leopards during FKF Betway Cup at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday, July 4, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia will tonight (8pm) kick off their 2021 CAF Confederation Cup campaign in a first round match against Al-Ahly SC Merowe of Sudan to be played in Egypt.

The Sudanese club will host K’Ogalo at the New Suez Stadium behind closed doors as Sudan lacks a CAF-approved stadium to stage continental matches.

After kick starting their FKF Premier League campaign with a 2-1 victory over KCB last month, Gor Mahia will play Merowe in the first round, having been given a bye from the preliminary round.

Speaking after their first training in Egypt on Wednesday, Gor Mahia coach Mark Harrison urged his players to be clinical and learn to adapt quickly to the conditions in the North which are different from Kenya.

“We need to up our game against Merowe because there is difference in passing, control and tempo on these pitches in Egypt. We need to be sure with everything we do including passes and shots. The concentration level of player will be key in the match,” said the English tactician.

While K’Ogalo got a bye for the first round, which was played last month, Ahly Merowe qualified for this stage after edging out Atlabara of South Sudan 4-0 on aggregate.

K’Ogalo travelled with 17-players with their new acquisitions barred from featuring in the match due to a Fifa transfer ban.

Gor Mahia were slapped with the ban after they failed to pay their former British coach Steven Polack and Tanzanian winger Dickson Ambudo their dues.

However, Harrison said h believes in the players he had, urging them to prove their critics wrong.

“To be fair, there is 17 of you here in Egypt. You have got to do a lot to get to the group stage. You have to do the job on Friday and get back to Nairobi with a result. It is very important we go back home on the front foot so that we can close out the game,” added the coach.

Last season, Gor Mahia participated in the CAF Champions League where they were knocked out in the first round after an 8-1 aggregate humiliation at the hands of Algerian side Belouizdad.

The 19-time Kenya champions were then relegated to the Confederation Cup where they fell 3-2 defeat to Napsa Stars of Zambia.

The best result K’Ogalo posted in the Caf Confederation Cup was in the 2018-2019 season when they reached the quarter-finals. Gor lost 7-1 on aggregate to RS Berkane of Morocco.

Meanwhile, the 2021/2022 FKF Premier League resumes today after a two-week break with three matches on the card.

Bandari clash with Bidco United in the early kick off match (1pm) at Thika Stadium before paving way for the 3pm encounter between Posta Rangers and Vihiga Bullets. AFC Leopards will take on KCB in a highly anticipated match tomorrow as Mathare United host Ulinzi Stars.

 

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