With the continental campaign having come to a sudden but expected end, Gor Mahia will now shift attention to the local scene where they have two difficult yet pivotal matches: On Thursday, Gor Mahia taken on Ulinzi Stars at Afraha stadium. Three days later they confront arch rivals AFC Leopards at Nyayo stadium.
Both matches are pivotal since both Ulinzi and AFC Leopards are contenders. Both teams have four points from two games. And last season, the matches against both of these teams were inconclusive. Gor Mahia played Ulinzi with four matches left in the league. The game was marred by rough play as coach Robert Matano instructed his side to disrupt Gor Mahia by employing robust tackles. The game ended scoreless. Frank Nuttall should employ some gamesmanship by reminding the referees of Ulinzi’s rough play last season and ask them to be more watchful. The first leg match in May ended in a 2-0 win for Gor Mahia with Kagere and Olunga scoring.
Against AFC, the latter proved a tough nut to crack. Derby matches are always unpredictable. AFC were about to finally crack when they conceded a late penalty. Only for their fans to disrupt the match with acts of hooliganism.
For Gor Mahia, they will be strongly motivated to put aside their poor start. Coach Nuttall should be able to call upon players who have been unavailable of late including Ali Abondo, Francis Kahata, Innocent Wafula and Khalid Aucho. The latter two have played sparingly since they returned late.
Abondo and his clinical finishes is the man Gor Mahia will be hoping can provide a boost in the same manner he did last season, scoring crucial goals when Olunga and Kagere were yet to find their scoring boots. The Madagascan media reports that against CNaPS on Saturday, Gor Mahia dominated most of the first half but could not convert their possession into goals. In the second half they ran out of steam. A similar scenario ensued against Chemelil Sugar. Abondo could be the man to break this cycle.