Bandari are ready to rewrite the history books by becoming the first team from the Coast region to make it to the group stages of a continental championship.
I know the nay Sayers will take me on but being a person very knowledgeable and privy to the happenings in the team set up, I want to be more categorical: that the Dockers already have one foot in the group stages of the Confederation Cup if their performance in the first round, first leg match against Tunisia’s Ben Guardane at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on Saturday could be anything to go by.
This is not a journey that started yesterday. I remember alerting folks in this same column to brace for a fight since Bandari had invested heavily in youth three years ago and we have now started seeing the results as the team grows into a formidable side.
This coupled with the motivation the players receive from their sponsors KPA and the managing Director Daniel Manduku personally make be believe that we are yet to see what Bandari Football Club are really made of.
The presence of Manduku, the team patron, at the stadium on Saturday helped to motivate the players further as they could clearly be seen with an extra drive to please their sponsor who has ensured the team remains the best looked after locally.
Two goals in a span of five minutes’ courtesy of Yema Mwama and Abdallah Hassan ensured Bandari travel to Tunisia next week with a healthy cushion meaning that any kind of draw should see the Dockers through to the group stages.
The last time a Coast team came close to achieving this was in the 1980s when Lake Warriors were eliminated in the first round.
This is the reason Bandari, who lost out in the preliminary round during their first outing at this continental stage against FC Lumpopo from DR Congo in 2016, should stand up to be counted.
Bandari’s back four of Felly Mulumba, Brian Otieno, Fred Nkata and Nicholas Meja remains the team’s mainstay with goalkeeper Michaal Wanyika, no doubt one of the most experienced shot stoppers locally, doing well between the sticks to far.
If this rock steady defence, which has been together for the past three seasons, can continue holding like it did during the Cecafa tournament in Rwanda and in the Confed Cup preliminary round against Al Shandy of Sudan, then we are on to something.
Yes, our strike force has been goal shy with a serious lack of killer instinct something that coach Benard Mwalala seems to have paid a great attention to, thus the two clinical finishes from Mwama and Abballah Hassan on Saturday.
That Bandari was playing this match in Nairobi and not Mombasa, which is our home ground, makes me believe that Bandari will sail to the next round.