Gor Mahia coach Steven Pollack expects a tough match against Aigle Noir Makamba in a preliminary round Caf Champions League return leg at Kasarani on Sunday.
The two teams played to a barren draw in the first leg but Pollack has backed his forwards to carry their scoring boots to the Moi International Sports Centre for Sunday's game.
Gor Mahia have struggled to find the back of the net since dependable striker Jacques Tuyisenge left for Angolan giants Petro Atletico de Luanda last month.
“Our opponents (Aigle Noir) are a very physical side and they work very hard. I know they will make it very difficult side for us but I don’t like to focus on the opponents so much before the game but my team. I want to assure our fans that we will give it our best shot and hopefully emerge as winners. The final result is important but we must always entertain the fans. My job is to ensure that happens," said a confident Pollack.
K’Ogalo bought two foreign strikers with the windfall from Tuyisenge’s sale – Ivorian Gislein Yikpe and Ghanaian Francis Afriyie. Yikpe is still nursing a thigh strain and therefore yet to feature for the club while Afriyie was not impressive against Bandari in the traditional season opener, the Super Cup. Dennis Oliech has not been training with the team leaving Nicholas Kipikirui as the only dependable striker.
“Lack of quality strikers is not a Kenyan problem, I faced the same in other countries I have coached. I don’t know what happens to them (forwards) when they get to the final third. You need to have finesse as a striker and that is something most of them struggle with. However, my strikers have been impressive in training this week and especially today they scored a lot of goals in training and I expect the same to be replicated on Sunday,” noted Pollack.
The Burundian champions arrived in the country in batches, 14 on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday. They held their first training session on Thursday afternoon at Camp Toyoyo and on Friday at Ruaraka Grounds, home to Kenyan Premier League side Tusker.
Aigle Noir, better known as Black Eagles, are taking part in continental football for the first time but coach Joslin Bipfubusa is optimistic the team will go through to the next stage.
“We have settled well in Kenya and are looking forward to the game. I have no injury concerns whatsoever as all the players are in good shape. Our target is to win against Gor Mahia and go as far we can this time,” said Bipfubusa after the team’s training session at Ruaraka on Friday.
“Gor Mahia are a very experienced side and the fact they are playing at home we expect a very tough match. However we have prepared very well for this match and we will give our best," he added.
The match kicks off at 4pm on Sunday and for the first time the club will sell tickets online through infinityticketing.com with a regular ticket going for Sh200, VIP will be sold at Sh500 while VVIP tickets will retail at Sh2000.