Group D still open, says Kerr
Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr believes the Caf Confederation Cup Group D is still wide open despite his side’s barren draw with Algerian giants USM Alger at Kasarani Stadium.
This was the second consecutive draw for the record Kenyan champions after sharing the spoils (1-1) in Rwanda with Rayon Sports in day one fixtures.
K’Ogalo, whose profligacy has cost them dearly in the opening two matches, are second in the group — two points behind leaders USM Alger, who they will face in what could be a decisive final group match on August 29.
The hosts finished the game with 10 men after defender Joash Onyango was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 55th minute. But with four matches to go and an identical barren draw between group opponents Yanga and Rayon Sports in Dar es Salaam, the Briton insists Gor have a genuine chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Gor host Yanga on July 19, before travelling to Dar es Salaam for the return leg encounter 10 days later. “The group is massively open. With the same result in Dar es Salaam... this group is very much achievable. We can win it, if not, we can be runners up. That is what we got to do; believe in ourselves and win it, not finish second. We have got two home games and two away games left, so this is achievable,” Kerr said after the match on Wednesday.
Both teams arrived at the stadium less than an hour instead of the official one and half hours before kickoff, after getting stuck in traffic on Thika Super Highway.
At one point USM officials alighted from their bus to control the traffic, as both teams were running late. Upon arrival, the players had to contend with less than 15 minutes instead of the required 20 of warm-up on the rain-soaked pitch. “We were magnificent even after we went down to 10 men. The pressure was always to defend, but I am glad we didn’t panic. Yes, we are still unbeaten and we got a point against a very experienced side. It will be different in Algeria, but we stuck to our plan and never gave up.
“We took the game to them from kick off and attacked even with 10 men. We created chances and dominated possession,” said Kerr, adding: “The field and the traffic didn’t help both teams, but overall I am delighted with the team’s performance. Every week we get better, but the problem is that we cannot convert the chances we get. It is important to win the home games.
“Sorry to say this, whoever laid this pitch (Kasarani) has to look at it again. This is not a football pitch. They have to replace the grass. It didn’t help us and it didn’t help USM as well.”
Just like Kerr, USM coach Miloud Hamdi feels all the four teams are still in the mix. “The result in the other game is very good for us. Just like Gor Mahia, we are hoping not only to reach the final but also win the title,” said Hamdi.