Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr is elated at being in charge of the first Kenyan team to reach the group stage of any continental tourney. But he knows his work is cut out.
“I am really excited and happy for what this group of players has achieved. We have made it for Gor Mahia, we have made it for Kenyan football. The journey has now just began. We want to make a mark in this tournament and take this great football club where they deserve to be, among the continent’s elite,” said Kerr to the CAF portal.
Gor Mahia had to overcome a mountain of problems before they played against Supersport. They played without a number of key players including Ernest Wendo who was suspended, Godfrey Walusimbi who has been on strike as well as Ephrem Guikan and Jacque Tuyisenge who were unable to obtain travel visas.
“The journey wasn’t easy, but we worked as a team and that’s all that made us qualify despite the challenges. This is history made after many years of waiting. We can’t wait for the group stage. The South Africans came guns blazing from the word go but we contained the pressure and despite conceding an own goal, we gallantly fought on” said captain Shakava to the Nation.
And it was poetic justice that Francis Kahata scored the crucial goal as he had originally been denied a travel visa by the South African embassy.
“I am happy to be living the dream at this club. I wanted to win the league and help them on the continental front, I am delighted that my goal made the difference” said Kahata to the Nation.
“That was a night to remember. We rolled up our sleeves and fought hard like real warriors. We never gave up even after conceding an own goal. We had pretty good response and immediately after equalising, we got our confidence back. It was a moment for us to step up and we did it. That away goal did us magic.” Kahata told the Standard
Kahata also noted that it is an opportunity for players to put themselves on the market.
“It is a dream come true and an opportunity for most of us to market ourselves. We knew they (SuperSport) would come strongly on us, but we remained calm and played our game,” he continued.
And it was George Odhiambo “Blackberry” who led the team in assists in 2017, who again provided the all important pass to Kahata.
Of the qualified teams, the only sides that Kogalo have played recently are Al Hilal and Young Africans.
Gor Mahia also played Djoliba of Mali in 1981, losing 2-1 on aggregate. Ugandan winger Abbey Nassur scored Gor Mahia’s goal from the penalty spot at the City stadium but it was not enough.