Gor seek to open gap: League champions face Mathare as CAF approves Kenyatta Stadium
By Rodgers Eshitemi and Gilbert Wandera
| Apr 29th 2018 | 3 min read
Injury blow for Mathare as captain Owino out and Walusimbi returns for K’Ogalo.
Kenya Premier League champions and league leaders Gor Mahia will be looking to strengthen their top position when they take on Mathare United in a clash at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, today (4.15pm).
The good news for Gor is that the venue has already been approved by CAF for them to host the first Confederations Cup match against Algeria’s USM Algers on May 16.
K’Ogalo were contemplating to stage their home matches either in Tanzania or Rwanda due to the unavailability of the internationally standardised Kasarani and Nyayo Stadiums, which are currently under renovation.
But the 16-time Kenyan champions fans can now collectively breathe a sigh of relief as their team can fully focus on next Sunday’s Group D opening match against Rayon Sports in Rwanda.
But should the two national stadiums not be ready by mid-May, Gor Mahia will be forced to look for other alternative venues outside the country to host their remaining two group matches against Tanzania’s Yanga and Rayon as Kenyatta Stadium has been approved for only one match.
Back to KPL, the eagerly awaited clash will be preceded by an early kick off between bottom-placed Nakumatt and Bandari in an action packed Sunday.
Both Gor Mahia (26 points) and second placed Mathare (23 points) will have to do without the services of their key players.
While the Slum Boys miss the services of their injured captain George Owino, K’Ogalo will be without suspended goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch, who saw red in the mid-week 2-2 draw against Chemelil Sugar.
“I am disappointed because I always want to be there to lead from the front and fight for the team. However this is part of football and I believe we have able replacements within the group. They are young players but very talented. I believe they will do a good job in my absence,” Owino told the club’s website.
However, Dylan Kerr’s side go into today’s fixture more psyched up after being boosted by the timely return of utility player Godfrey Walusimbi.
The Ugandan had fallen out with the club hierarchy six weeks ago due to contractual issues, but went back to training on Friday morning.
Walusimbi last featured for Gor Mahia against Tunisian giants Esperance in the barren first leg match of the CAF Champions League only to refuse to travel for the away fixture after accusing the club’s officials of failing to honour their contractual obligations.
“There has been an understanding between the club and the player and he is back in training. He is available for selection against Mathare United but that is now up to the coach whether he should play,” said Gor Mahia Chief Executive Officer Lodvick Aduda.
As Gor will be keen to continue with the winning ways after being frustrated to a 2-2 draw by Chemelil on Wednesday, Mathare will be out to put their title bid back after two losses.
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