Will Tusker be able to emulate Gor by strangling Egyptians

Saturday, October 16th, 2021 00:00 | By
Tusker FC goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure in action during the team’s training on Thursday. Photo/PD/SPORTPICHA

Vamalek FC, who shall square it out with Tusker in the first leg of the second round of the Africa Champions League at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday, are branded as one of Africa’s football supermen.

After all, the Egyptian Aristocrats have won the Africa Champions League five times coupled with two wins in the Confederations Cup. 

But certainly, despite their success in Africa inter-clubs competition, they are not entirely obdurate to Kenyan opposition with Gor Mahia having put the script in black and white in the years of yore.

If in doubt sample this: Gor first met Zamalek in 1984 in a Champions League match in Cairo where Zamalek won by a goal to nil in a controversial match that saw nine K’ogalo players led by the late Abbas Khamis Magongo suspended by Confederation of African Football (CAF) for roughing up a Sudanese referee after he awarded the hosts a ‘dubious” penalty.

During the fateful match, despite losing, Gor attacked Zamalek like a swarm of bees and were unlucky not to force a draw at worst. 

The two teams met again in 1988 in CAF Cup match where the first leg was played in Nairobi, Gor triumphing by a solitary goal before succumbing to a 0-2 loss in Egypt with the hosts withstanding an onslaught of the Kenyans pressure.

 In retrospect, even a section of the Egyptian fans were overhead saying that that Zamalek’s win against the uncompromising Gor did not come on a silver platter and that it was just a matter of time before the Kenyan representatives broke the duck.

Well, the duck did break on February 3, 2019, when Gor shocked Zamalek 4-2 in an Africa Confederation Cup group phase encounter at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), thanks to brace by Jacques Tuyisenge and lone strikes from Dennis “The Menace” Oliech and Nicholas Kipkirui.

Tanzania’s Simba, then coached by Kenyan legend James Siang’a, are also on record of having beaten Zamalek en-route to the money bracket of the Africa Champions League and its statistics which should inspire Tusker as they engage the white and red ensemble in pursuit of qualification to the second round of the competition.

Moments after conducting a training session, Tusker coach Robert Matano expressed concern over the fitness levels of his players although most of them have recovered from knocks here and there that were sustained either in training or league matches.

“The fitness levels are not 100 percent but the good thing is that the players have promised me an assuring performance against the visitors.

We are not distracted by Zamalek’s fame for heaven’s sake and I must say there is a great desire to win convincingly to make our work easier in the return match in Cairo,” said Matano.

Added Matano:  “Caf Champions League is a big stage for every club in Africa and we are looking forward to giving our best.

All my players are ready and I expected them to give their maximum so that we build a winning momentum moving forward.

Tusker has been boosted by the return of their injured players who missed the opening match of the 2021-2022 FKF Premier League season played last month where the champions lost 1-0 to AFC Leopards.

Tanzanian import Ibrahim Joshua and custodian Emery Mvuyekure, defender Eugene Asike, Charles Momanyi, Teddy Osok and Clyde Senaji are all fit to play.-Chrales Thuku

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