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Gor and Bandari seek slots in group stages

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | November 3rd 2019
Bandari FC's Abdallah Hassan (left) Brian Nyakan of Sofapaka FC during KPL match at Kenyatta Stadium on Sunday Oct 6, 2019. Sofapaka FC won 2-1. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Polack and Mwalala confident of making the impossible possible in CAF matches.

Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia and domestic cup winners Bandari will know their fate in the CAF Confederation Cup after 90 minutes or so when they clash with their respective opponents in today’s crunch second leg play-offs in Kinshasa and Nairobi.

The duo’s qualification to the lucrative group stage rest on a knife edge after both of them failed to register positive results in last weekend’s first leg ties.

While K’Ogalo are on a tough mission away to Congolese giants DC Motema Pembe after the 1-1 draw in Nairobi last weekend, Bandari will be at Kasarani Stadium (3pm) seeking to overturn the 4-2 deficit from the first leg against Guinea’s Horoya.

The winners on aggregate will secure a group stage ticket and Sh27 million windfall that comes with qualification.

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 for them to sail through.

But unlike the Dockers, who must score at least two unanswered goals to claim a historic slot, K’Ogalo, who flew to Congo yesterday morning, will qualify to the group stage for the second season running with either a high scoring draw or a win.

Despite the unconvincing outcome in the first leg, coaches Steven Polack (Gor Mahia) and Bernard Mwalala (Bandari) believe the group stage qualification is still wide open.

“Motema Pembe got an away goal, but I’ve seen enough to know that we will make more chances when we go there (Congo) this weekend,” Polack said.

“It’s not a happy feeling, but there is still more to play for; the door is still wide open for both teams. We will continue working hard on all areas and hopefully we will be ready for the return leg.”

Mwalala added: “To score is possible, but the question is what do we have to do to avoid conceding? An early goal will make our work easy and force them (Horoya) to change their game plan, we don’t need to chase the game. They have a bad away record, so they are beatable. We have a big chance to go through.”

Though the former Kenyan international is wary of the threat posed by the lethal Horoya striker Aristide Bance, he is confident his defenders will tame the Burkinabe.

Despite having an away goal advantage, Motema Pembe coach Isaac Ngata insists there is still a lot to play.

“Even with an away goal, nothing is easy. We are going to fight again,” he said.


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