Gor Mahia in ‘Group of Death’ with Zamalek

By Gilbert Wandera: Tuesday, January 22nd 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia fans celebrates at Bukhungu after their team winning against Kakamega Homeboyz 3-2 at Bukhungu stadium on May 9, 2018. BY BENJAMIN SAKWA

A day after making it to the group stages of the Confederations Cup, Gor Mahia have literally been thrown into the deep end after landing in pool ‘D’.

This will require the team to play against Egyptian giants Zamalek, Algerian side NA Hussein Dey and Petro Atletico from Angola.

Zamalek’s pedigree in African football is well documented having won the Caf Champions League five times. The last time they won it was in 2002.

They have finished runners-up twice. They also have three titles of the Caf Super Cup.

On their way to the group stages, Zamalek beat Moroccan club Ittihad Tanger 3-1.

Petro Atletico reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001.

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Though they have not yet won any continental title, they have consistently qualified to the group stages of the various continental championships.

Atletico beat Malian side Stade Malien 2-1 to make it to the group stages of the competition.

Though little known NA Hussein of Algeria upset Libya’s Al Ahli 3-1 to make it to the group stages. The team made their first appearance in the Confederations Cup in 2006 where they were eliminated in the first round.

Gor Mahia were scheduled to jet back into the country last night after edging out New Stars of Cameroon 2-1 and immediately travel to Tanzania for the SportPesa Super Cup.

The team will hardly have time to rest before embarking on the group stages of the tournament as well as the league matches in between.

Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech said the team ought to focus on winning all their home matches.

“It is not a knock-out and so we have an opportunity to play as many matches as possible. The best strategy is to win all our home matches and then hope for a draw away,” he said.

Oliech is eligible to play in the group stages of the tournament as clubs are allowed to make additions to their squads.

It is the second time in a row that Gor Mahia have made it to the group stages after achieving the same feat last year, but did not make the knockout stages.

Two Zambian clubs Zesco United and  Nkana  will face off in Group C together with Ghanaian side Asante Kotoko and Sudanese giants Al Hilal Omdurman.

Group B has two Tunisian sides — Etoile du Sahel and CS Sfaxien alongside Nigerian side Enugu Rangers and Burkina Faso’s Salitas FC.

Group A has four Moroccan clubs, Hassania Agadir, RS Berkane and Raja Casablanca.

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