Polack starts his reign at Gor Mahia with draw in Burundi

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Monday, August 12th 2019 at 09:14 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Steven Polack began his coaching career at Gor Mahia on a fairly positive note after the Kenyan giants were held to a barren draw by Burundian side Aigle Noir CS in yesterday's first leg match of the CAF Champions League preliminary round at Urukundo Stadium, Ngozi.

The result has left both team’s qualification to the first round of the continental club competition wide open ahead of the return leg in a two weeks' time at the Kasarani Stadium.

This means, there will be a lot to play for by both teams when they meet in Nairobi with the winners on aggregate booking a date with either Algeria's USM Algers or SONIDEP of Nigeria in the next round.

The 58 years old English-Finnish coach was unveiled on Thursday last week as Hassan Oktay's successor, three days before making his debut at K'Ogalo.

But with ambitious Polack having set the Champions League's group stages qualification as his main target, he knows he has his work cut out as the record Kenyan champions must secure a convincing victory, win without conceding or avoid a scoring draw for them to sail through.

However, having travelled with a lean squad mostly comprised of youngsters and a few new signings led by Tanzanian goalkeeper and Tobias Otieno, K'Ogalo will bank on their 'fantastic' home record and the availability of some of their key players to inspire them to victory.

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The trio of Ghanaian Francis Afriyie, Ivorian Gislein Yikpe and defender Maurice Ojwang missed yesterday's match due to late registration, while veteran striker Dennis Oliech, Curtis Wekesa and Philemon Otieno were sidelined with injuries. Defensive midfielder Ernest Wendo was serving a suspension.

On Saturday, another Kenyan representatives Bandari were also frustrated to a goalless draw by Sudanese outfit Al Ahly Shandy in the first leg of the Confederation Cup preliminary round at Kasarani Stadium.

Unlike Gor, the dockers must beat Ahly or force them to a scoring draw in the second leg in Khartoum to progress to the next round.

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