Gor tackle Petro in do-or-die Caf tie at Kasarani

Saturday March 16 2019

Gor Mahia players train at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on March 16, 2019 on the eve of their Caf Confederation Cup match against Petro Atletico of Angola. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Gor Mahia players train at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on March 16, 2019 on the eve of their Caf Confederation Cup match against Petro Atletico of Angola. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

CELLESTINE OLILO
By CELLESTINE OLILO
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Kenyan champions Gor Mahia confront Angolan giants Petro Atletico in a do-or-die Caf Confederation Cup match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Sunday.

The match will be played under floodlights at Kasarani starting 7pm, and K'Ogalo have issued a rallying call to the Green Army to show up in large numbers and cheer the team to victory.

But first things first.

What is at stake?

Gor Mahia need an outright win against the Angolan giants to book a place in the quarter-finals of the secondary continental interclub competition for the first time in over two decades.

As it stands, Gor will be Sh35 million richer if they see-off the visitors, and stand chance of walking home with a further Sh45 million should they sail through to the semis. A cool Sh125 million awaits the winner of the trophy - currently held by Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca.

Gor started their campaign at the top, but away losses to NA Hussein Dey, Petro Atletico and Zamalek have pushed them to the bottom spot of Group D where they have six points.

Who has the advantage?

Zamalek are on top with eight points, followed by NA Hussein Dey and Petro who have seven each.

Last Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Zamalek was particularly humiliating, but it left the group wide open. All four teams have a chance of making it to the last eight going into the last match of the group phase. NA Hussein Dey host Zamalek in the other encounter knowing only a win will guarantee them a place in the quarters.

After a poor outing in Alexandria where the Kenyans were below par and only goalkeeper Fredrick Onyango single-handedly ensured the scoreline remained respectable, head coach Hassan Oktay knows they do not have a chance for another off night.

“Every loss makes you stronger. You find that you note so many weaknesses in your team whenever playing outside the country and you try to improve," Oktay said.

“We have done our bit in terms of preparation, now I need the 12th man to cheer them on to victory. Remember that Petro are a good side as well and we need to make the most of our home advantage.”

Any problems with the playing unit?

The Turkish-Cypriot is however dealing with a growing injury list which includes the defensive duo of Joash Onyango and Harun Shakava and midfielders Samuel Onyango, Kenneth Muguna and Boniface Omondi who all needed late assessments Saturday before being cleared to play.

All the other players are fit and available, including group top scorer Jacques Tuyisenge and star striker Dennis Oliech who scored in the home match against Zamalek last month.

Gor warmed up for this encounter with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Kakamega Homeboyz in the SportPesa Premier League on Thursday in Machakos, while Petro were 1-0 winners over Sporting de Cabinda in their local league in Angola on Wednesday. The Angolans arrived in Nairobi on Friday night and were expected to have a feel of the match day venue on Saturday afternoon.

While Gor have qualified for the group stage of this competition for two years now, Atletico have been missing from this stage for the last four years, and have never been made it to the quarter-finals of any Caf competition since 2006.

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