Gor Mahia are facing the most difficult stretch of their 2018-2019 CAF Confederations cup campaign. This as they try to become the first Kenyan team to proceed beyond the group stage of a continental tournament. Gor Mahia are set to play away matches against NA Hussein Dey and Zamalek before hosting Petro de Luanda.
Gor Mahia’s away record has not been stellar this season. They have lost to Nyasa Big Bullets, Lobi Stars and Petro de Luanda. However they did manage a crucial away draw against New Star de Douala which appears to be tougher opposition than NA Hussein Dey. This is a good reason for optimism.
With the difficulties Gor Mahia have been facing away from home, coach Oktay has opted to change tactics.
“You know my style and you know I love to play open, attractive football. We did it in Nigeria against Lobi Stars and we also did it against Petro in Angola. But now we will have to change. I have to change my style a bit,” the Oktay told Capital Sport.
Gor Mahia needs at least four points to qualify for the next stage which means getting an away draw is crucial.
“We need to get at least a point in the two away games. We know playing in North Africa is hard, but I am not worried. I know my boys and I know we can make it.” continued Oktay.
Gor Mahia did manage good away performances last season. They forced a draw away to Rayon Sport and beat Yanga 3-2 in Dar es Salaam. However their visits to North Africa have not been happy ones. In recent years they have lost to USM Alger, Esperance (twice) and ENPPI. Indeed you would have to go back to 1987 to find a time when Gor Mahia did not lose away in North Africa.
However their performances have been improving of late. Whereas they lost 5-0 to Esperance in 2014, they almost forced a draw in 2018 but for a defensive blunder. Therefore this year Kogalo appears primed for a good performance.
Coach Oktay however expressed concern that his side may not be 100% fit.
“The Algerian Federation helped Hussein Dey because they postponed their league matches. But for us, we asked of the same but nothing. But, I am not worried. We will go and fight to get a result. I know if all my players were physically 100pc, we would get a minimum of three or four goals in Algeria. Rest assured,” Oktay said
Gor Mahia will be without first choice goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch who was injured in the midweek match against Tusker.
“We didn’t know Oluoch’s injury was serious until yesterday when the leg started swelling and the doctor told us he is unfit to play. It is a big blow but we hope the other goalkeepers will step up to the challenge. Odhiambo has played in such a competition before so it shouldn’t be a big problem,” said Gor’s assistant Secretary General Ronald Ngala to the Nation.
Gor Mahia will stay in North Africa after the match in Algiers.
“We will not be back and that’s why our midweek game against Ulinzi was rescheduled. We are yet to decide whether we will stay in Algeria for a few days and then travel to Egypt or we will just go there direct and prepare from there. But we will make a decision once we get there,” Gor Mahia Chief Executive Officer Lordvick Aduda said to Citizen Sports.