K'Ogalo look to expel 2015 final memories as they face tournament champions

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Wednesday, July 11th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Goalkeeper Gor Mahia FC Boniface Oluoch seems to be telling his coaleagues to be on the watchout during KPL Match against AFC at Nyayo National Stadium, Oct 23, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Painful memories of losing 2-0 in the 2015 Cecafa Kagame Cup final to Azam still linger on the minds of Gor Mahia.

But the Kenyan league champions will not be ready to make similar mistakes that cost them the title when the two sides collide in today's (2pm) semifinal at the National Stadium, Dar es Salaam.

Win or lose, there are two mistakes that K'Ogalo will not be ready to commit; goalkeeping errors and lose concentration.

Poor defending gifted John Bocco the opener before goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch was at fault for easily conceding Kipre TcheTche’s free-kick in the 2015 final.

Even as a resurgent Gor go into today's game with a terrifying hunger in their guts, the surviving quintet of Oluoch, Harun Shakava, Godfrey Walusimbi, George Odhiambo and Innocent Wafula must be in their best form if the record Kenyan champions are to qualify for the final and end their 33-year regional title drought.

But Azam have survived with captain Aggrey Morris, Mudathir Yahya and Frank Domayo.

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However, Gor coach Dylan Kerr, who watched the last edition's final from the terraces, is not considering the possibility of his side suffering a similar fate today.

"I watched the 2015 final while I was at Simba. To be fair, Azam were lucky and I think Bonnie (Oluoch) made a mistake. The players who were in that game will definitely be looking for revenge, but personally I don't want them to go with that mentality,"Kerr told The Standard Sports.

"If it gets into their heads, they will try too hard and if it doesn't happen, they will make mistakes. They just have to do what I know they can do. The expectations are high, so we need to be more clinical in front of goal.

"The momentum and confidence we have got is fantastic. We are going into this game with a winning mentality."

Humphrey Mieno, who featured for Azam in 2013, is looking forward to a difficult but exciting semis against his former employers.

"It is an exciting feeling to meet them. I know a few of their players, but a lot has changed at Azam and there is nothing special about them," said Mieno.

Meanwhile, Kenya national U-17 team has been drawn in Group B of the Cecafa Zonal qualification tournament from August 11-26 in Tanzania.