Tusker, Gor Mahia embark on CAF action

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 00:00 | By
Tusker goalkeeper Patrick Matasi. Photo/PD/Rodgers Ndegwa

Tusker and Gor Mahia shall be trying to wipe off the shame that was visited on the country by Harambee Stars in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers when they taste action in Africa inter-clubs competition this weekend.

With Stars all but out of the running for the global showcase after the 6-0 aggregate loss to Mali in Group E qualifier, it is upon the two Kenyan emissaries to give the country a measure of dignity in their respective assignments.

 Gor, Kenya’s representatives in the CAF Champions League, leave today for Egypt for a date with Sudanese side Al Ahly Merowe in the first round match that is penciled for New Suez Stadium in Egypt on Friday.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) ruled that the match be played at a neutral venue as there is no stadium in Sudan that meets international standards.

As for Tusker, they are up against one of the most successful clubs in Africa, Zamalek of Egypt, in the Africa Champions League first round, first leg clash at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.

Yesterday, Gor’s coach Mark Harrison said that despite having a depleted squad, the team is determined to give their all against the little-known Sudanese side.

“We only have 17 players in camp and all are available for selection. We did not replenish the squad in the July transfer window due to the Fifa ban but this should not make us not conjure a decent result to make the return match a mere routine,” said Harrison.

Gor received a ban from Fifa not to sign players after failure to pay their former players Dickson Ambundo and Jackson Owusu when they were contracted with the club.

Apparently, the multiple Kenyan champions signed Yusuf Mainge and Austin Odhiambo, both formerly of arch rivals AFC Leopards, before the ban was registered and these are some of the players they are expected to unleash on Al Ahly Merowe.

Gor had earlier lost key players among them international midfielder Kenneth Muguna who joined Tanzania’s moneybags Azam and the duo of Burundian Jules Ulimwengu and Ugandan Tito Okello.

Pound for pound

In the meantime, Al Ahly Merowe may be an unknown quantity unlike other Sudanese clubs like Al Ahly, Al Merreikh and Al Ahly Shandy, but impeccable reports in Sudan indicate that they are determined to shock the much experienced Gor.  

Al Merowe’s capability is well documented in the 4-0 aggregate win they recorded over Atlabara of South Sudan en-route to the meeting against Gor.

Meanwhile, Tusker coach Robert Matano said despite Zamalek being a powerhouse in the continent, they are hopeful they will fight them pound for pound in their quest of qualifying to the second round.

“The players are yearning for a bigger challenge and I must say that I’m happy that we have no injury concerns.

Some of the Tusker players who were injured but have since recovered include Ibrahim Joshua, Hilary  Wandera and Clyde Senaji.

To book  a ticket to face Zamalek, Tusker had beaten Artar Solar of Djibouti 4-1 on aggregate. 

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