Gor and Bandari's stare at early exit in CAF competitions

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Tuesday, August 13th 2019 at 00:15 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia forward Nicholas Kipkirui during their CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final match against RSB Berkane of Morocco at Kasarani Stadium, on April 7.[sportpicha.com]

Gor Mahia and Bandari’s qualification to the next round of the CAF competitions are resting on a knife-edge.

The two Kenya’s representatives were held to barren draws by their respective opponents in last weekend’s continental matches.

Gor shared the spoils against Aigle Noir CS in Burundi, during their first leg tie of the Champions League preliminary round, while Bandari were frustrated to a goalless draw by visiting Sudanese side Al Ahly Shandy in the Confederation Cup encounter at Kasarani Stadium.

The results have left all the four teams’ qualification to the first round of the continental club competitions wide open ahead of the return leg in two weeks in Nairobi (for Gor Mahia) and Khartoum for Bandari.

Though Gor and Bandari appear to be holding onto hope, both teams know they have their work cut out as they must produce some magic in the crunch return legs for them to sail through.

Winners on aggregate in Nairobi on August 25 will book a date with either Algeria’s USM Algiers or SONIDEP of Nigeria in the next round, while the victors in the Khartoum duel will battle either South Sudanese club Amarat United or Tunisia’s US Ben Guerdane in the first round.

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For K’Ogalo, who are expected to welcome back a number of their key players on August 25 after missing the Burundi trip due to various reasons, must secure a convincing win at home against the Burundians to progress.

Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack had to do without the services of Ghanaian Francis Afriyie, Ivorian Gislein Yikpe and defender Maurice Ojwang on his debut match due to late registration.

Veteran striker Dennis Oliech, Curtis Wekesa and Philemon Otieno had been sidelined with injuries, while defensive midfielder Ernest Wendo was serving a suspension.

Unlike Gor, Bandari will secure a first-round ticket with a scoring draw or a win in Khartoum. 

To make the ‘mission impossible’ possible, Bandari’s coach Bernard Mwalala insists they must rediscover their ruthless streak in front of goal.

“Many people might take the first leg result as a setback, but for me, the 0-0 draw is encouraging and better than a scoring draw. I think the qualification is still wide open and we stand a chance,” said Mwalala.

“We didn’t create a lot of chances at home, but if we score in Khartoum, pressure will be on Ahly.”

And just like Mwalala, Ahly coach Mohammed Abdallah believes there will be a lot to play for in the second leg.

“This game is not yet over. It’s still a 50-50 game. If we allow them to score in Khartoum, it will be very difficult for us. That will be a decisive match for both teams. We will deploy an offensive approach, try to score and avoid conceding,” said Abdallah. 

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