Gor Mahia’s Chief Executive Officer Lordvick Aduda has dismissed claims the exit of forward Meddie Kagere and defender Geoffrey Walusimbi weakened the team, culminating in poor performance by the team in Caf Confederation Cup.
Aduda spoke to Nation Sport on phone from Algeria Thursday, hours after the 16-time Kenyan champions were sent packing from the Caf Confederation Cup.
The Kenyan champions were eliminated from Africa’s second-tier club tournament on Wednesday after a 2-1 loss to Algeria’s USM Alger at the 5th July Stadium in Algiers.
Coach Dylan Kerr’s charges at the very least needed a draw from Wednesday’s final Group ‘D’ assignment to qualify for the quarter-finals of this competition, a feat that would also have earned the club an extra Sh8 million. Jacques Tuyisenge scored Gor’s consolation.
Aduda, who refused to attribute Gor Mahia’s exit from the tournament to loss of Kagere and Walusimbi, was however left moaning the team’s home form in the group stage of the competition.
Gor Mahia, who have earned Sh27.5 million for making it to this stage of the competition, managed a single home victory out of a possible three in their group – 4-0 win against whipping boys Yanga whom they also beat 3-2 away.
Gor Mahia then drew 0-0 at home with USM Alger and a surprise 2-1 loss to Rayon at the Kasarani Stadium.
“This is the first time in 31 years that the team has come this far in African club competitions. We still expected the team to advance (to the quarter-finals),” said Aduda.
“We registered a squad of 30 players and we cannot start discussing those that are currently not here with us. Now that (Cristiano) Ronaldo has left Real Madrid, does it mean the club will never lose?”
Arguably the club’s most influential player over the past season or two, Kagere dumped Gor Mahia for Tanzanian giants Simba in July and has since scored eight times in as many matches for the Msimbazi street-based side in Dar es Salaam.
Walusimbi has been missing in action for close to one month, sealed a transfer to top South African club Kaizer Chiefs on Thursday
Wednesday's loss to USM Alger left Gor Mahia in third place in the four-team Group ‘D’ where only the top two teams are assured of a place in the last eight stage of the competition.
USM Alger topped the group with eleven points from six games, followed by Rayon with nine.
Gor managed eight points to settle for third place, four ahead of Yanga.
“We were supposed to pick all our points from home, that is where the mess came in,” Aduda added.
Consequently, USM Alger and Rayon join Raja Casablanca and Renaissance Sportive de Berkane (Morocco), Vita Club (DR Congo), Al Masry (Egypt), Enyimba (Nigeria), CARA Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) in the quarter-finals as the fight to claim this competition's Sh125 million prize money for the winning team gathers pace.
Gor Mahia are expected back home Friday morning.