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NO FEAR OF LEOPARDS: Kenya champions Gor Mahia not shaken by AC’s high profile status ahead of tie

FOOTBALL By Gilbert Wandera | March 12th 2015

In 2012, AC Leopards from Congo Brazzaville won the Confederations Cup and with it pocketed more than Sh56million.

With that the team also got an opportunity to feature in the high-profile CAF Super Cup tournament that pits the winner of the Confederations Cup against the winner of the champions league and went on to lose 2-1 to Egyptian giants Al-Ahly.

Such is the high profile nature of Gor Mahia’s opponents in Sunday’s first round champions league match at Nyayo Stadium.

While Gor Mahia have had to be content with playing local matches as a build-up to Sunday’s match, their opponents have been camping in Cameroon and are scheduled to jet into the country on Friday evening aboard a chartered plane.

Despite their opponents' pedigree, Gor Mahia striker George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo has said playing at home gives the Kenyan champions a big advantage.

“We are not so concerned about what they have won and where they have been. Our main focus is to win the first leg to make our work easier in the return match. We are focused and are working hard to get a positive result in this fixture,” he said.

Odhiambo is the one who scored the crucial goal that pushed Gor Mahia into the first round of the competition despite the team going down 3-2 to CNaPS of Madagascar in the preliminary.

“That goal has given me plenty of morale going into this match. I have trained well and ready to be given a starting role by the coach on Sunday,” he said.

Odhiambo is making his second stint at Gor Mahia after an outstanding performance in 2011 when he emerged the best player and he believes his previous form is coming back.

“I have not given up seeking greener pastures abroad. Right now I’m busy working on my form and so far the progress is good. There has been interest from some clubs. Let us see what happens in June.”

On Tuesday, Gor Mahia were held to a 1-1 draw by Posta Rangers in a friendly match played at Nyayo Stadium.

The KPL champions had to wait until the 73rd minute to find the back of the net through Ghanaian Zachary Taofiq but Rangers, who are taking part in Football Kenya Federation Premier League, drew level courtesy of Paul Karuri in the 85th minute.

It was Gor Mahia’s second build-up match in a space of two days, having battled to a scoreless draw against Ulinzi Stars at City Stadium on Saturday and is the only opportunity for the team to take part in competitive matches after the KPL was suspended by a court order.

The matter will be determined this Friday when both KPL and FKF return to court.

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