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'It's not yet over!' declares Gor Mahia coach Polack

Tuesday September 17 2019

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack gives instructions during a training session at Camp Toyoyo grounds on September 10, 2019 on the eve of their Caf Champions League first round match against USM Alger in Algeria on September 15, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack gives instructions during a training session at Camp Toyoyo grounds on September 10, 2019 on the eve of their Caf Champions League first round match against USM Alger in Algeria on September 15, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

CECIL ODONGO
By CECIL ODONGO
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Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack believes the record Kenyan champions can still qualify for the group stage of Caf Champions League.

K'Ogalo have a mountain to climb in the return leg of the first round after losing 4-1 to USM Alger in the first leg at the weekend. Zakaria Benchaa and Mohamed Mefta scored twice for the hosts with Kenneth Muguna netting Gor's lone goal.

"It's not yet over. It can be done, it has been done before in football," Polack told Nation Sport after the team jetted back to the country on Tuesday morning.

The Briton, who guided Gor past the preliminary round after crashing Burundi's Aigle Noir 5-1 in Nairobi, says inexperience cost them in Bilda where they found themselves trailing by three goals at half-time.

"We lost to USM Alger not because we were a poor team but due to little mistakes and loss of concentration. We had 16 players but only one or two have the experience of playing in continental and competitive matches. I don’t want to blame any player or management but I take responsibility for the defeat," noted Polack.

Gor's consolation came in form of a second half penalty converted by Muguna and Polack admits that his game plan failed in Algeria. However, he has promised the Green Army free-flowing attacking football in the second leg which will be played on September 29.

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“We have put the defeat behind us. Gor Mahia will no longer play defensive football but we will be attacking because we need to score goals. We have nothing to lose since we still harbour hopes of eliminating USM Alger. It is not time for blame games but fixing one or two areas,” underlined Polack who also hinted at changes in the goalkeeping department. "I will discuss with the goalkeeper coaches on who should be fielded but I can’t blame David (Mapigano) entirely for the defeat."

Following their convincing win, the Algerians need a draw of any kind to proceed to the money-minting group stage which comes with a reward of Sh55 million. Billel Dziri's charges will draw confidence from their barren draw against Gor Mahia in a Caf Confederation Cup Group 'D' match in Nairobi, May last year.

On the other hand, Gor need to win by a four goal margin to secure passage or at the very least win 3-0 to proceed on away goals.

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