Gor, Bandari return home to concentrate on domestic assignments
By Charles Thuku and James Magayi
Gor Mahia and Bandari who are picking up the debris of elimination in the continental play-offs last weekend shift their attention to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) with both teams lined up for tricky midweek fixtures today.
After having their egos deflated by Daring Club (DC) Motema Pembe of Democratic Republic of Congo, Gor will be angling to vent their anger on Mathare United at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos from 3pm.
On their part, Bandari who are licking their woundsfrom the Confederations Cup campaign after being vanquished by Horoya Conakry of Guinea will be aiming for the scalp of Western Stima at Moi Stadium in Kisumu from the same time.
Ordinarily, matches between Gor and Mathare are closely contested and the fact that the two are yet to lose a match since the 2019/2020 season began, makes today’s contest a test of nerves and skills for both teams.
After beating Kisumu All Stars 2-1 in Kisumu on October 19, Mathare settled for uninspiring barren draw with Posta Rangers in their latest fixture and the team’s coach Coach Salim Ali hopes that the tale of missed chances by his charges will not be replicated against Gor.
“We had chances, plenty of them to be precise, but it was unfortunate we could not translate any of them into goals. Gor are strong opponents and we need to be a little keen to break their rear-guard, said Salim whose team is perched in the ninth position on the log.
Although the tactician came short of saying whether or not they can break Gor’s unbeaten record, he was unequivocal that his team badly needs a favourable result against the league’s cup holders to scale the ladder in the standings.
Said Salim: “This is football and you cannot afford to underrate anyone but we’ll be angling for a win to move up the standings and hopefully challenge for the top spot.’’
Gor coach Steven Polack has a vast array of players to pick from but still throws caution in the air. “We have to respect them and give our best no matter who is selected. The journey to win the title is long and every point counts. We’ve had one training session since the last game which obviously is not enough but we’ll do our best,” the Englishman said.
Among Mathare trump cards is dazzling winger Daniel ‘Van Persie’ Otieno who made an impressive start for the team against Rangers, while Gor can count on the likes of Nicholas Kipkirui, Boniface Omondi and Caleb Otieno in the team’s quest to recapture the league lead which they lost to Tusker last weekend.
Meanwhile, Bandari coach Bernard Mwalala has told his players to put behind them the disappointment of failed CAF Cup play-offs and plot for the downfall of Western Stima.
“Hopefully, we’ll come back in CAF competitions in a big way next year and for now, let’s see what will come out of our league match against Stima. We do not expect things to be any easy but I think we are capable of putting all the three points in the bag,’’ said Mwalala.
For goals, Bandari is expected to keep faith on William Wadri, Duncan Chetambe and Shaban Kenga.