Gor launch bid for first Cecafa title in 23yrs against Rayon

I   Isaac Swila in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Gor Mahia will attempt to have a flying start when they launch their campaign for the 2018  Cecafa Kagame Cup here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

K’Ogalo’s camp has been hit hard in the last few days with star-man Meddie Kagere leaving the club when least expected — and  in the wake of a fixture glut.

However, the Dylan Kerr coached charges have reacted strongly, showcasing their mental maturity by  hitting Posta Rangers 4-0 in their first match after the exit of the Ugandan born Rwandan hit man.

The crushing win in Kisumu was quickly succeeded by a slender 1-0 victory over Sony Sugar which hauled them 15 points clear at the summit of the league table prior to boarding the plane to Dar es Salaam.( The lead has since been trimmed to 12 points following Sofapaka’s 2-0 victory over Wazito FC on Saturday).

But despite their on-pitch successes this term, K’Ogalo head into Sunday’s match facing probably their sternest test so far this season.

First, the issue of midfield-enforcer Francis Nyambura Kahata refuses to go away. Reports have been awash in the print media that the former Thika United star is on his way to Simba SC to link up with Meddie Kagere with one popular leading daily here claiming that the Reds are ready to break the bank to land his signature at a staggering Ksh 9.8 million.

As if that is not enough, Gor’s peace was further disturbed on Saturday morning when the players staged a go-slow at their hotel protesting its ‘poor quality’ prompting the organisers to shift them to De Mag Hotel, located several  kilometres from the city centre.

Despite this drama, K’Ogalo is cognizant of the big task that awaits them tomorrow when they take to the pitch at 2pm against Rwanda’s fast rising Rayon Sports.

The two sides crossed swords some two months ago in the Rwandan capital Kigali in a Caf-Confederations Cup tie which ended in a 1-1 stalemate and will be renewing rivalries in the most spectacular of fashions.

For Gor, this competition grants them the opportunity to atone for past misses moreso in 2016 when they lost to Azam FC in the final. Gor will be chasing for their first Cecafa crown in 23 years, as their last triumph came in 1985. Their other conquests have been in 1980 and 1981.

Rayon, who on the other hand is fast emerging as a football force in the region has won the regional crown once in 1998.

These statistics will however count for nothing when the two sides face each other.

Gor’s team manager, Jolawi Obondo, aware of the enormity of the task at hand, told Citizen Digital that his boys won’t get their eyes off the ball. “We are fine. We are ready as per the coach’s wish . We are ready for the game,” he said.

“We expect a tough match because Rayon, like us, are in CAF- competition but based on our preparations we are ready for the match,”Obondo said.

Obondo who saw his side emerge runners-up in 2016 added that the goal is to go a step higher and claim the gong.

At the Chamazi Stadium,  Zanzibar’s JKU will take on little known Kator FC of South Sudan before Vipers of Uganda face the might of holders Azam from 7pm.

Sunday Fixtures

Rayon Sports(Rwanda) v Gor Mahia, 2pm- National Stadium

JKU v Kator FC(S.Sudan), 4pm- Chamazi Stadium

Vipers(Uganda) v Azam FC,7pm-Chamazi Stadium