Make or break, Gor Mahia’s CAF fate in their hands
Kenyan Premier League giants Gor Mahia are gearing up for a tough return leg of CAF Champions League prereliminary match against Burundian Aigle Noir after snatching a barren draw away in Bujumbura last Sunday.
The local champions will need a win of any kind to advance to the next round to avoid being knocked out of the continental competition – a barren draw will lead to penalty shootouts.
Striker Dennis Oliech is still doubtful for the second leg after missing first leg in Bujumbura. He picked an injury in Kisumu towards the culmination of last season and is still unfit for a competitive game.
Kenyan international defender Philemon Otieno is subject to fitness test this Friday when he will be examined by a doctor after picking an injury at Kasarani when Kenya was eliminated from the CHAN competition by Tanzania on penalty shootouts.
Their Ghanaian import Francis Afriyie will also miss the return leg after missing leg one in Bujumbura courtesy of clearance challenges. He said in a recent interview at Camp toyoyo that he came to Kenya to score goals for Gor Mahia and will make sure it is done.
‘’I am a striker and I came to help Gor Mahia score goals. This is my duty and I intend to make a big impact on the Kenyan football fraternity,’’ said the former Mexican third tier league player.
Another notable absentee is the Ivory Coast import Gislein Yikpe who joined Gor Mahia from Ivorian top flight Sporting Club Gagnoa alongside Maurice Ojwang who will be sidelined in the second leg due to late registration.
Steven Pollack took charge of Gor Mahia less than a week to the first leg of the CAF Champions League match and must have depended wholly on his deputy Patrick Odhiambo for squad selection.
He takes over at a time when Gor Mahia badly need to advance to the next stage of the Champions League having made it to the CAF Confederations Quarter finals for the first time in history under their immediate head coach Hassan Oktay last season.
Pollack is on record saying he is under no pressure and only needed minimal time to adapt well with the team.
The record champions may however get a boast following the return of midfielder Ernest Wendo who completed his three match ban.
The team returned yesterday from Burundi and started their training today at their Jericho’s Camp Toyoyo training base.