Gor are a point away from making Cup history: Kerr urges his players to put Confederation Cup qualification to be bed with victory tonight

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Sunday, August 19th 2018 at 00:12 GMT +3 | Football
GOR MAHIA VS USM ALGER Gor Mahia Francis Kahata and Abderaouf Benguit of USM Alger battle for ball possession during the CAF Confederation Cup match at Kasarani on Wednesday 16/05/18[Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Rwanda's Rayon Sports stands in the way as K’Ogalo aim for quarter-finals berth.

Gor Mahia are on the verge of making history when they host Rwandan side Rayon Sports in tonight’s (7pm) crucial Group D CAF Confederations Cup match at Kasarani Stadium.

A draw against Rayon will ensure the current group leaders seal a quarter-finals berth with a game to spare and become the first Kenyan club to reach the knock-out stages of the continental competition.

But a win for the eight time Rwandan champions will revive their qualifications hopes depending on the result in Dar es Salaam between Algeria’s USM Algers and basement side Yanga.  

K’Ogalo (8) have surprisingly taken control of the group courtesy of a superior goal difference to favourites Algers after the double victory over the Tanzanian giants.

Despite being labelled as favourites, Gor coach Dylan Kerr has challenged his players to put any dreams of a late charge for knock-out stage qualification to bed and instead focus on beating Rayon.

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“It will be tough; they (Rayon) are coming here to try to get three points, but we want the maximum points to put the qualification to bed and challenge for the top four,” Kerr told Standard Sports.

“We don’t want to find ourselves in a tricky situation heading to Algeria. Our aim is to finish top of the group, so we cannot afford to lose this game. We have to avoid mistakes and give one of the best performances since 1987.

“That means, we have to produce positive results for the future Kenyan generation and a result that gives an impetus to Harambee Stars when they play Ghana in the next few weeks.”

The two teams come into the fixture off the back of contrasting results. While Gor Mahia beat Chemelil Sugar by a solitary goal on Wednesday to inch closer to their unprecedented 17th Kenyan league title, Rayon fell 3-1 on post-match penalties to Mukura Victory Sports in last weekend’s Peace Cup final.

Both teams will have to do without the services of key players who featured in the first leg’s 1-1 `encounter in Kigali, due to various reasons.

K’Ogalo will miss first leg’s goal scorer Meddie Kagere, who switched his allegiance to Simba SC and defender Godfrey Walusimbi, who has controversially joined South African side Kaizer Chiefs.

Prolific striker Jacques Tuyisenge has been ruled out with a back injury, while goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch and Ivorian striker Ephrem Guikan are both doubtful.

“Of course Tuyisenge’s injury is a big blow for us. That is exactly what you get when you have congested fixtures. But I have faith in all my players,’’ Kerr said.

On the other side, Rayon travelled to Nairobi without the suspended trio of midfielder Yannick Mukunzi, goalkeeper Kassim Nzayisenga, and striker Christ Mbondi. The three were handed a three-game ban by CAF after they were involved in a post-match brawl away to Algers.

The visitors will also have to contend with the absence of their lead striker Ismail Diarra, who has moved to Algeria’s first division outfit CA Bordj Bou Arréridj with coach Roberto Oliveira signing Ghanaian Gerard Stephane Kouame as the Malian replacement.