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Gor Mahia seek to flay Berkane despite missing key players

Last updated 1 year ago | By Clinton Nyabuto

Gor Mahia's Francis Mustafa (C) and Jacques Tuyisenge(L) battle for ball possession against Ebenezer Kotto of New Star Doula from Cameroon during their CAF confederation qualifier match at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday, January 13, 2019 [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kenya’s football pride Gor Mahia are set to flay Moroccan side RS Berkane in a CAF Confederations Cup quarterfinals first leg tie at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani, Nairobi on Sunday, April 7, 2019.

K’Ogalo return to the continental duty after a spectacular show in the SportPesa Premier League with three back to back wins to top the log.

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The defending SportPesa Premier League champions, however, have been hit with a huge blow as key players are suspended for the clash.

The Green Army will be without their skipper Harun Shakava, midfielder Ernest Wendo, left back Shafik Batambuze and striker Jacques Tuyisenge who are suspended for the match.

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Gor’s first choice goalkeeper Bonface Olouch adds up to the missing players as he is nursing a shoulder injury.

K’Ogalo head coach Hassan Oktay is also suspended for the match after his sending off against Rwandan side Petro Atletico in their last group tie.

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However, Gor have been boosted by the return of defender Joash Onyango from injury who is expected to take up the place of suspended skipper Harun Shakava.

Gor Mahia striker Jacques Tuyisenge (centre) will miss the match due to suspension [Courtesy]

Despite the absence of his key players, Oktay has confidence in his remaining players and believes his side will come out victorious.

“The unavailability of one or two players cannot affect us and even seven cannot affect us still. My philosophy is always that if I change seven players and introduce seven new ones, that should not affect my team," Oktay said.

“I still have twenty-four players remaining but the fact is the game is going to be tough because it is a knockout match,”

The Turkish-Cypriot also added that his team will be favoured by the home advantage.

“But we have home advantage on our side. I always want to play attractive football and the expectations are different but at the same time, I cannot monitor what my players eat, what they drink and when they sleep. But what I know is that they are nice boys really nice.”

On the other hand, Berkane have a poor away record having won only two of their 10 away matches. Mounir Jaouani’s side are currently ninth in the Moroccan Botola league having bagged only 28 points in 22 matches.

With their current form, the Green Army will seek a sumptuous performance to dent Berkane before the return leg on April 14.