Last updated 8 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi
Horoya AC captain Mandela Ocansey scored a priceless second half goal as the Guinean giants beat Bandari 1-0 in Sunday’s Caf Confederation Cup play-off return leg tie at Kasarani Stadium to earn 5-2 win on aggregate and qualify to the lucrative group stage.
Meanwhile, record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia were also knocked out after losing 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) to Congolese giants DC Motema Pembe in Sunday’s return leg encounter in Kinshasa.
At Kasarani, the dockers came into the match searching for at least two unanswered goals to secure the historic ticket to the group stage and Sh27 million that comes with the qualification, but that never came to pass with profligacy in front of goal costing them dearly.
Bandari’s William Wadri, Abdalla Hassan and Guelord Mwamba, in particular, had a host of chances more so in the first half, but their wastefulness in front of goal came back to haunt them.
Despite their elimination, Bandari coach Bernard Mwalala said he was satisfied with his team’s achievement in the second tier competition of the African club football.
“We’ve exited the tournament, but we can hold our heads high for the far we’ve reached. We’ve shown that Bandari is now a force to reckon with in Kenyan football. I’m still proud of my players,” said Mwalala.
“But then again as you know, football is a game of chances. My game plan was to go for early goals, but in football when you waste such chances that we had in the first half, you will definitely be punished. I think immaturity somehow cost us up front.”
Both sides approached the early stages of this game on the front foot, but it was Bandari who created several half chances.
Wadri nearly gave the dockers the lead in the first minute when he comfortably controlled Mwamba’s delivery from the right channel but the Ugandan fluffed his shot in the area.
Horoya responded immediately but goalkeeper Mustapha Oduor quickly came off his line to deny Bolaji Sakin.
Moments later, Bandari earned a free-kick in a promising position, but Wadri’s feeble shot was easily intercepted by the opposition’s defender.
The visitors came close to breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute when their influential captain Mandela Acansey combined well with Sakin, but resolute defending from Brian Otieno kept them at bay.
Dramane Nikiema then saw his shot at the edge of the box deflected for a fruitless corner as the Guinean giants intensified their attack.
Another opportunity fell to Abdalla Hassan but indecision cost him before Wadri feebly shot straight at Horoya goalkeeper Camara Moussa.
The dockers continued pressing and were almost rewarded in the 34th minute when Mwamba comfortably controlled Danson Namasaka’s pass, only for him to balloon his shot before Darius Msagha forced a fine save from the keeper.
Mustapha Oduor then had to be at full stretch to keep out Aristide Bance’s free kick before Mwamba squandered the best chance of the game from Hassan’s long throw ball.
Another precious chance fell to Hassan just on the stroke of halftime, but his effort in the box was perfectly blocked by a self-sacrificing Horoya defender.
Horoya came back into the second half a more rejuvenated side with Sakin nearly getting on the score sheet in the 53rd minute but his shot at the edge of the box went painfully wide.
But Acansey broke Kenyans’ hearts and put the qualification beyond Bandari’s reach when he scored a priceless goal in the 65th minute. This was barely five minutes after Mwalala had brought in Darius Msagha for Benjamin Mosha.
Mwalala replied by making a tactical change with burly striker Wycliffe Ochomo replacing full back Atariza Amai, but the Guinean giants held their nerves to sail through to the lucrative group stage.