Nairobi News

Sports

Cash-strapped USM Alger say they can’t honour Gor Mahia match

Cash-strapped Algerian club, USM Alger, is on the verge of pulling out of this season’s Caf Champions League, a decision that will hand Kenya’s Gor Mahia direct passage to the lucrative group stage of the competition.

Speaking on Tuesday, the Algerian club’s secretary Mounir Debichi explained that there “has to be an immediate solution” to salvage the team.

“Today we qualified for the second round of the Champions League but we are unable to travel to Kenya to play against Gor Mahia. We can (afford) to play the first game here. However, it is impossible to travel to Kenya for the second match given our financial difficulties. There has to be immediate solutions or else we forget about the competition,” he said.

The North African club defeated Niger’s SONIDEEP in the preliminary round of the competition with a 5-2 aggregate score and are slated to host the Kenyan champions in Algiers on the weekend of September 13-15, with the return leg slated for Nairobi two weeks later.

FINANCIAL TROUBLE

The aggregate winner over two legs is assured of at least Sh56 million in prize money from the tournament organisers.

USM Alger slipped into financial trouble in June after club owner and Algeria top businessman, Ali Haddad, a key supporter of ousted president Abdelaziz Boutefika, was jailed for holding two passports, the first conviction in a string of corruption probes.

The business tycoon was reportedly arrested in late March on the border with Tunisia in possession of two passports and undeclared currency, days before Bouteflika resigned in the face of mass protests.