Gor Mahia, Bandari take positives ahead of crunch CAF competitions

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Tuesday, August 20th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
William Wadri (left) of Bandari challenges Gor Mahia's Kenneth Muguna during their Kenyan Premier League Super Cup match at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on Sunday. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Sunday’s KPL Super Cup match in Machakos presented a perfect opportunity for Gor Mahia and Bandari to gauge themselves ahead of their crunch return legs in the Caf competitions this weekend.

Lawrence Juma’s second-half deflected goal helped the record Kenyan champions overcome Tobias Otieno’s 80th minute red card to beat Bandari 1-0 in the 2019/2020 Kenyan Premier League season curtain-raiser at Kenyatta Stadium.

But both team’s qualification to the next round of the continental competitions are still resting on a knife-edge after they were held to barren draws by their respective opponents in the first leg matches.

While Gor Mahia will be in Nairobi seeking for a win against Burundi’s Aigle Noir CS in Sunday’s Champions League encounter, Bandari will be hoping to upset their Sudanese Confederation Cup opponents’ Al Ahly Shandy in Khartoum, on Friday.

Even as Steve Polack savours his first title triumph at Gor Mahia, the British-Finnish coach knows he has his work cut out ahead of the Aigle Noir tie.

“This win is a great motivation ahead of the Aigle Noir match, but we still have time to work on a few things. I have just held five trainings with the team, the attitude is perfect, but this result was more important as we prepare for the Noir match,” said Polack.

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“I can’t tell who will be in my match-day squad on Sunday, but we have a friendly on Wednesday I will take a look at it again before the match.”

But the former Asante Kotoko coach couldn’t hide his joy for lifting the trophy.

“I feel great. I’m just over the moon to have won my first trophy at Gor Mahia. This is something that I’m going to share with my family back in England. You can never stop feeling good when you win a trophy. I’ve won a number of trophies in Africa but for this one, the feeling is not the same,” said Polack.

Though Bandari lost, coach Bernard Mwalala was pleased with his boys’ performance as they fly out to Khartoum today.

“To be honest, the result wasn’t a true reflection of the game. Like always, we outplayed Gor Mahia, created many chances than them but they got one and punished us,” he said.

“In terms of performance, the boys did well and I’m encouraged that we will do well against Al Ahly Shandy. I think both teams will have the same game plan in Khartoum; sit back and counter-attack. But what we need to do is to score first and put pressure on them.

“This was totally new Gor Mahia, it’s not the team that we are used to and that made it a bit difficult for us.”

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Related Topics: Gor Mahia Bandari