Gor Mahia out to dim New Star

By Gilbert Wandera: Sunday, January 13th 2019 at 00:11 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia's George Odhiambo control ball before Shabani Hussein of Rayon Sports, Rwanda in their fifth Group D match of the CAF Confederations Cup at Kasarani on Sunday August 19, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]?

For the second year K’Ogalo will attempt to make it to the group stages of the Caf Confederations Cup as they host Cameroonian club today.

Kenyan champions Gor Mahia take on New Star Doula this afternoon in a Caf Confederation’s Cup match at Kasarani.

At stake is a qualification ticket to the group stages of the tournament over two legs and Sh27million bounty.

It is a familiar situation for the Kenyan champions who made history last year by qualifying for the group stages of the same tournament.

This is after they were edged out of the Champions League by eventual winners Esperance of Tunisia.

Last month, Gor Mahia came the closest to making it to the group stages of the Champions League after they had won the first leg 3-1 against Lobi Stars of Nigeria.

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The team, however, were edged out on goal aggregate after they lost 2-0 in Enugu and with it were relegated to the Confederations Cup.

It is expected that the disappointment of losing out will spur Gor Mahia in today’s match.

Coach Hassan Oktay said he was wary of their opponents, who have proved to be very good away.

“They are a good side from what we have gathered and very difficult to play away and so we have to try and pick a good result at home today,” he said.

Gor Mahia beat Posta Rangers 2-1 in a midweek fixture in preparation for today’s fixture. The result was very motivating for Oktay who until then was always complaining about his team not taking their chances.

Equally, Oktay does not have at least three key players. Defenders Haroun Shakava and Joash Onyango are suspended for the tie while influential striker Dennis Oliech is not eligible to play.

In their absence, it will be left to Francis Kahata to lead the attack from the midfield.

There is also Ernest Wendo and danger man Jacques Tuyisenge to bring in the goals.

This is just the third time that Gor Mahia are playing Cameroonian opposition at the continental level.

The first time was in 1979 when they lost to Canon Younde in the final of the then Africa Cup Winners Cup tournament.

In 1992, the two sides met again in the second round of the now defunct tournament with Gor Mahia winning on away goal rule to make it to the quarter-final of the tournament.

Current Gor Mahia assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno scored an away goal for the Kenyan champions then.

New Star coach Gerald Mbimi threw a jab at Gor Mahia saying he only recognised the indomitable Gor Mahia of 1980s and not the current squad that was knocked out of Caf Champions League by Nigeria’s Lobi Stars.