Last updated 8 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi
Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia and domestic Cup winners Bandari have shifted their focus to the Kenyan Premier League after both of were bundled out of the Caf Confederation Cup at the weekend.
Gor lost 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) away to Congolese giants DC Motema Pembe in Sunday’s return leg tie of the play-offs as Guinea’s Horoya AC saw off Bandari 1-0 (5-2 on aggregate) at Kasarani Stadium to end their group stage dreams.
The duo’s profligacy, failure to capitalise on home advantage and defensive frailties were once again exposed on the international scene as they both failed to defend well and wasted scoring chances in Kinshasa and Nairobi.
While Bandari went into their match searching for at least two unanswered goals to secure a historic ticket to the group stage and Sh27 million that comes with the qualification, Gor Mahia needed either a high scoring draw or a win of any kind to sail through.
But that never came to pass as both Gor and Bandari fell short of their expectations.
K’Ogalo gifted Motema Pembe two goals after Wellington Ochieng had given them the lead with a rare early goal, while the dockers’ wastefulness in front of goal came back to haunt them when Horoya AC captain Mandela Ocansey scored a priceless goal midway through the second half.
The two sides will now seek redemption in the domestic league tomorrow after missing out on the lucrative group stage qualification.
As the unbeaten Gor Mahia will be aiming to return to the top of the table with a victory over ninth-placed Mathare United in Machakos, Bandari travel to Kisumu looking to end Western Stima’s six-match unbeaten run.
Having gained valuable experience in the second tier competition of the African club football, Bandari coach Bernard Mwalala insists the dockers, who have registered three wins, two draws and a loss, are ready to challenge for the title.
Last season, Bandari finished second on the log after garnering 64 points, eight points behind champions Gor.
“We exited the Confederation Cup but we can hold our heads high for an amazing run and the achievements we had in the competition.
“I think it has shown that Bandari is now a force to reckon with in Kenyan football. The experience we’ve gained will be invaluable for us in the league,” said Mwalala.
“Of course there is fatigue in the team but our focus now is on the league starting with the Western Stima match. We want to work hard with the aim of going back to the continental competition. That means we either win the league or retain the Shield for us to return on the continental scene. Definitely, we are going to beef up our striking department, but it depends on the quality of players we get.”