The weak links Gor, Bandari must work on ahead of CAF second leg matches
Kenya Premier League giants Gor Mahia have already put down a marker ahead of the new season by clinching the KPL Super Cup ahead of the new campaign by beating Bandari 1-0 at the weekend.
Lawrence Juma scored the all-important goal to hand new head coach, Englishman Steven Pollack, his first piece of silverware since joining the outfit barely two weeks ago.
Even though Gor, popularly known as ‘Sirkal’ in some quarters, bagged the cup, they’ll need to work on several grey areas before they can dream of bagging another league title if not conquering Africa.
Gor only had three shots on target against the coastal based side raising questions about their quality.
The club had lots of top talents in their ranks last term but has seemingly been weakened following the departure of key players such as Jacques Tuyisenge, Francis Kahata, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo and Harun Shakava.
However, in new goalie David Mapigano who joined the club from Tanzanian outfit Singida United, K’Ogalo seems to have nabbed a trusted pair of hands while the defence manned by the no nonsense defender Joash Onyango seems tight as well.
Former Western Stima captain Maurice Ojwang who was a defensive partner of Joash at Stima before he joined Gor this month did not feature in the game but Pollack’s back line seemed at home with Charles Momanyi ably filling up the slot left by Shakava.
Another piece of good news for the club’s vociferous fans is the new defensive midfielder Tobias Otieno who joined from Sony Sugar.
Otieno has seemingly walked into Pollack’s first team taking Ernest Wendo’s place. The latter will have to work hard to elbow out Otieno who impressed against Bandari.
One of Otieno’s attributes is his pace which dwarfs the slow Wendo. Speed is necessary in recovery but Otieno will now have to work on the timing of his tackles which made him head to the locker room after picking a second bookable offence in the Sunday duel.
His partnership with newly installed captain Kenneth Muguna is somehow ticking but they will need to work on their final passes.
Kahata who decamped to Simba SC of Tanzania had mustered this trait and the duo will have to work on a game plan of filling the void left by the mercurial play-maker.
Upfront new recruit Ghanaian Francis Afiriye was far from impressive and did not register a single shot on target for the one hour or so he was on the pitch.
“I have been here for nearly two weeks and is good to get the trophy which is the start of many more, with time we will get much better,” said the English tactician.
Bandari, arguably Kenya’s second best football team in the last two seasons will also have to fix their weak links if they are to break Gor’s hegemony and bag the elusive title for the first time.
Their attack has been the team’s Achilles heel and it showed against Gor.
Yema Mwana was arguably the Dockers most potent weapon with 12 goals last term as Wycliffe Ochomo struggled with injuries, scoring just five same as Ugandan William Wadri.
Winger Hassan Abdallah also offered another attack outlet with six goals but these returns isn’t impressive enough to win a KPL crown.
“My striking force is just the same; its just luck but we will be back with a bang and probably in Sudan this Friday,” said Mwalala.
The bluntness in front of goal was discernible at the Cecafa Kagame Cup in Kigali, Rwanda where the Kenyan side was tossed out of the championship without winning a single game, scoring just three goals in three matches to all but bow out at the group stage.
Head coach Bernard Mwalala is cognizant of the weaknesses in his squad but is hopeful they can get their spark against Al Shandy of Sudan in Friday’ continental fixture in Khartoum.
The defensive line is however still strong with experienced Felly Mulumba, Brian Otieno , Attarazi Amai and Fred Nkata doing well in covering the goalie.
Farouk Shikhalo, a first choice goalie of last term departed but Michael Wanyika has proved to be an able cover.