Gor face tough Congolese test in first round
Once Gor Mahia get over the excitement of knocking out Madagascar’s CNapS to reach first round of the African Champions League, K’Ogalo will wake up to the chilling reality that their real journey in the tournament has just started as they face Congo’s AC Leopards.
It is a journey that is likely to be tricky and torturous.
Gor Mahia must get past the 2012 Africa Confederation Cup champions if they are to reach the second round. But Gor are operating on a shoe-string budget.
Honouring continental fixtures is an expensive affair. Honouring just one continental fixture requires close to Sh4 million and without a shirt sponsor, K’Ogalo will find the going tough.
Club legend Austin Oduor, who won the 1987 Africa Cup Winners Cup (Mandela Cup) with Gor Mahia, insists club officials must ensure players’ welfare is taken care of.
“It’s not the responsibility of the players to look for money. The players need good preparation and you can’t do that when you do not have money. They (Gor) will compete against the best sides (in African Champions league) who are moneyed and they must do something if they are to go far.
“Scoring two away goals (in Madagascar) is not easy and it shows they have some quality but they must improve on their first leg performance. Their midfield was weak. They need to revitalise that department,” the former Gor Mahia defender and captain said of the team’s performance.
After Gor won the league title last season, the club was hosted at State House by President Uhuru Kenyatta who pledged to help them find them a shirt sponsor but nothing has been forthcoming.
Last week, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and politician Ronnie Osumba came to the club’s rescue, purchasing return air tickets worth Sh2.5 million to enable Gor travel to Madagascar.
Gate collection has always come in handy for the club, but with the Kenyan Premier League now suspended pending hearing and determination of court injunction filed by Football Kenyan Federation, things could get worse for Gor.
Gor, who returned on Monday from Madagascar, will need to register new recruits – Abouba Sibomana, Karim Nizigiyimana, Meddie Kagere – to give coach Frank Nuttall more options ahead of their meeting with AC Leopards.
Meanwhile, Sudanese El-Merrikh left it uncomfortably late against Tanzanians Azam in steamy Omdurman with Kenya-born Allan Wanga grabbing the tie-deciding third goal two minutes into stoppage time.
After Bakri Abdel Gadir put Merrikh ahead, the Sudanese fluffed a penalty and did not level on aggregate until Ahmed Abdullah struck five minutes from time.
Merrikh spared no expense before tackling Azam, camping in Egypt and Qatar and playing a warm-up against Bundesliga outfit Schalke.