Gor duo detained in Congo over Covid-19 results
Two Gor Mahia players who reportedly tested positive for Covid-10 during the club’s recent trip to the Republic of Congo are still holed up in the country, Nairobi News understands.
Burundian forward Jules Ulimwengu and combative midfielder John Ochieng’ didn’t feature in the 1-0 first-leg loss to Otoho d’Oyo at the Alphonse Massemba-Debat Stadium in Brazzaville after tests conducted on their sample by authorities in the Central African country returned a positive result.
And now, the duo will remain in Congo for eight days, meaning they are set to miss Saturday’s rematch against the same side at the Nyayo National Stadium.
However, the Kenyan side has disputed the test results given that the affected players reportedly tested negative for a similar test in Nairobi prior to travel.
While the rest of the travelling party jetted back from Brazzaville on Tuesday evening, Gor Mahia’s Sporting Director Lordvick Aduda remained in Brazzaville trying to sort out the issue with the Congolese government.
“I’m still in Congo trying to sort out this situation. It is unfortunate but speaking much will make them know how we are handling the situation,” he told Nairobi News.
“There is no Kenyan embassy here but I’m continuing to follow up so that this issue can be sorted,” he added.
Besides the duo’s absence, Gor also complained of harassment from their opponents amid claims they employed ‘Juju’ to win the match.
“It was a very bad show and the frustrations we underwent are not good for football. I think you saw the videos of unsporting behaviour which I think shouldn’t be tolerated in football. It is the first time I’m seeing such tactics being used to win the game,” said Gor coach Mark Harrison.
“Detaining Ulimwengu and Ochieng’ is just a ploy to ensure they are not available for the second leg. We did our test here and no positive results came out. In Congo before the match, we even requested our host to conduct the test again at our own cost but they refused,” he added.
With a lean squad of only 15 players to choose from, K’Ogalo also suffered a setback as right-back Philemon Otieno had an injury a day to the game while Sydney Ochieng’ had not fully recovered since Gor Mahia 3-1 win over Al Ahly Merowe in the first round clash last month.
This meant Harrison had only reserve custodian Caleb Omondi on the bench and had no option of making any change throughout the game.
The off-pitch rivalry between the two teams who are eying a slot in the group stage now set pace for a tense second leg at Nyayo National Stadium this Saturday.
Gor is seeking to overturn the one-goal deficit so as to make it to the group stage for the first time since 2019.