Gor Mahia take on Tanzania’s Yanga SC in the Caf Confederation Cup match day 4, Group D, return match at National Stadium, Dar Es Salaam Sunday with eyes firmly fix on making the quarter-finals.
K’Ogalo emphatically won the first leg 4-0 in Nairobi ten days back and a double over the Jangwani boys will secure them history as the first Kenyan side to reach the round of eight of the continental championship.
It will also dash any hopes of the troubled Tanzanian giants of reaching the knockout stage.
But it would not the first time the record Kenyan champions would be standing in the way of the record Tanzanian champions’ progression in Africa.
In the 1984 Caf Champions Cup, after picking a 1-1 draw on the road in the first leg with Sammy “Jogoo” Onyango scoring, Gor eliminated Yanga in the reverse tie through John Okello Zangi’s lone goal at home.
Gor’s 18-man full strength squad travelled to the neighboring country Friday night and held a training session at the match venue on Saturday.
Defense kingpin Joash Onyango, who missed the first leg at Kasarani Stadium due to suspension, made the trip and will be in contention to pair skipper Harun Shakava in central defense.
Charles Momanyi, who ably filled his shoes, will also be hoping to catch the selectors’ eyes.
Shakava is braced for another victory but he is cognizant of the fact that the hosts will give a fight of their lives before the home crowd.
“It’s going to be a tough game especially now that Yanga lost in Nairobi by four goals. It will be different tomorrow (today), but we have come to get three points so that we qualify to the next stage,” the former Kakamega Homeboyz defender said.
Head coach, Malta-born Englishman, Dylan Kerr echoed his captain’s sentiments.
“Every game is very important for this club that is why we are not thinking about our win at home.
This Sunday’s match is going to be different and difficult because Yanga will want to win by all cost,” the former Simba SC, Yanga’s arch rivals, said.
Yanga’s assistant coach Noel Mwandila emphasized the importance of winning today, knowing a loss will bring their campaign to a screeching halt.
“This is a very important game for us if we have any hope of qualifying to the next stage of the competition. The message to the players is to win tomorrow’s game.”
Noel and team are having the headache of dealing with low morale within the playing unit over unpaid salaries and bonuses.
Yanga, who are currently experiencing lean financial times, have been unable to honor the players’ contracts leading to constant strikes.
The 7.00pm kick-off match will be Gor’s 102nd in the continent, and will be broadcasted live across Africa and the rest of the world.
In the other Group D fixture of the day, leaders USM Alger will host Rwanda’s Rayon Sports with a chance to cement their position at the top.
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