Gor Mahia, Sharks head West in next round of matches
For the first time in many years, two Kenyan clubs have made it to the first round of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) tournament and are lined up for millions after reaching group stages.
Gor Mahia needed post-match penalties to edge out Nyasa Big Bullets of Malawi 4-3 in their CAF Champions League preliminary match in Blantyre on Wednesday.
The hosts had won the match 1-0 for an aggregate score of 1-1 as Gor Mahia had won the first leg with a similar margin.
Kariobangi Sharks edged out Djibouti’s Arta Solar 9-1 on aggregate in the preliminary stage of the Confederations Cup. They had won the first leg 6-1 and followed it up with a 3-0 win in the return match.
Kenyan clubs have over the years been struggling to make it past the preliminary stage of the continental football.
This year, only Gor Mahia made it to the first round only to lose to eventual winners Esperance of Tunisia in the Champions League. But the Kenyan Premier League champions made history by qualifying for the group stages of the Confederations Cup to which they had been relegated to.
AFC Leopards also took part in the Confederations Cup at the beginning of this year but failed to make it past the preliminary stage going down to Fosa Juniors of Madagascar.
In 2017, Tusker failed to make it past the preliminary stage of the Champions League after they were eliminated by St Louis of Mauritius 3-2. The first leg match had ended 1-1 in Nairobi before the brewers went down 2-1 in the return match.
The same year, Ulinzi Stars barely made it to the first round of the Confederations Cup after edging out Al-Hilal of Libya 5-4 on penalties.
In 2016, Gor Mahia’s quest to do well in the Champions League ended at the preliminary stage after they lost 3-1 on aggregate to CNaPS of Madagascar.
Kenya did not enter a team in the Confederations Cup that year. In 2015 Sofapaka failed to make it past the preliminary rounds of the Confederations Cup after going down 4-2 to Platinum of Zimbabwe.
In the same year, Gor Mahia made it to the first round after edging out CNaPS of Madagascar 4-3 on aggregate.
Gor Mahia also managed to make it to the first round of the Champions League in 2014 after edging out US Bitam. The team however crashed out in the first round going down 8-2 to Tunisian giants Esperance.
After making it to the first round, Kenyan opponents face tough opponents. Gor Mahia take on Lobi Stars of Nigeria while Kariobangi Sharks will take on Asante Kotoko of Ghana.
It will be a tough outing for the two Kenyan teams and they will need to be at their best to make it to the group stages.
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