Gor Mahia vs USM Alger Preview

Gor Mahia face a tall order as they try to qualify for the 2019-2020 Africa champions league group stage. Having lost the first leg 4-1, Kogalo needs to win by a score of 3-0.

“We all saw what happened in the first leg, we can’t defeat USM with the kind of football we played today.  We played well in the first half but come the second half things were really different. I will talk to talk to my players about it,” told Polack to Citizen Sports.

USM Alger will start parking the bus as soon as they land at JKIA. They will also apply the typical cynical Gor Mahia will need to be ingenious. Coach Steve Polack was unhappy with his side’s display against KCB last weekend.

“My plan is to guide them not to concede a goal in the whole match but try as much as possible to score goals, more so in the first half. I understand clubs from the North Africa are used to playing attacking football which can give us a lot of pressure to defend as we attack, but will give our best,” explained the tactician

Gor Mahia are missing key players. But coach Polack is unperturbed.

Shafiq batambuze has a long term knee injury. Philemon Otieno is sidelined with a long-term achilles injury, while Nicholas Kipkirui, Francis Afriye are also out with injuries.

“I have more than 23 players in the squad and apart from few players who are injured; we still have options,” he said.

Keeper Robert Mapigano, who had a nighmare first leg, is still optimistic.

“They defeated us in the first leg, what makes it hard for us to do the same? We have what it takes to get the 3-0 needed to qualify for the next stage. It will need more work on the pitch, every player has to give more than 100% and if we do so, I am sure we will make it.”

Government to fund Gor Mahia trip

Gor Mahia will after all travel Algeria after an eventful week in which the clubs travel plans were thrown into disarray.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia are set depart for Algeria on Friday for the first leg of their Caf Champions League first round match against USM Algier, club chairman Ambrose Rachier said on Thursday.

Rachier told Nation Sport that club patron and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga had intervened and the government has promised to give them return air ticket so that they can honour the away fixture set for Sunday.

According to Rachier, the team couldn’t leave the country on Thursday as earlier planned due to financial constraints, though still they are not sure about the time they shall leave on Friday because that depends on the airline and flight which they will be booked in by the government.

“We shall be leaving on Friday but I can’t tell the time, because we are not sure when the tickets we have been promised will be ready. We intend to reach Algeria on Saturday in readiness for the Sunday match. As at now we still don’t have money, things have been hard and we are relying on the government’s promise,” Rachier told Nation Sport on Thursday.

“We are sure they won’t let us down,” he added.

He acknowledged that the club has not been able to raise enough money to fund the trip and thanked the fans who are still continuing to support the team financially through the club’s pay bill number.

The encounter between the two teams is slated for Sunday at 10.25 pm and K’Ogalo will have less than 24 hours to train before the match kick off after arriving in Algeria.

Despite the financial troubles that has surrounded the teams traveling plans, Rachier exuded confidence that the players are well prepared and they shall go for a win then finish the job in a fortnight at home during the return leg.

The club on Wednesday released a list of 26 people including players, match officials and technical bench who are expected to depart for Algeria.

Traveling party

Boniface Oluoch, David Mapigano, Wellington Ochieng’, Tobias Otieno, Nicholas Kipkirui, Kenneth Muguna, Boniface Omondi, Joash Onyango, Joachim Oluoch, Samuel Onyango, Dickson Ambudo, Earnest Wendo, Lawrence Juma, Charles Momanyi, Maurice Ojwang’ and Geoffrey Ochieng’

Technical bench: Steven Polack, Patrick Odhiambo, Jolawi Obondo, Willis Ochieng’, Fredrick Otieno, George Omondi.

Officials: Ronald Ngala, Judith Nyangi, David Kilo and FKF official Joseph Andere.

Omondi: Defensive solidity is key

Gor Mahia’s Boniface Omondi is optimistic that a solid defence will carry Gor Mahia to the next round of the CAF Champions League

Additional reporting from the Star

Boniface Omondi is optimistic that Kenyan champions Gor Mahia will see of Burundi’s Aigle Noir and reach the first round of the CAF Champions League.

Speaking after the team’s training conducted by coach Steven Polack at Camp Toyoyo, Omondi — a two-time league winner with K’Ogalo since joining from Nzoia United two years ago — touted his sides defensive solidity as a key plank in their quest to oust their Burundian opponents.

“We have shown a different aspect to our game in terms of defensive organisation. Many know us as an attacking side but we have blended that by being strong in defence and if we can maintain that solidity, then with our strikers and the advantage of playing in front of our own fans, then victory will be ours,” he said.

Omondi has fallen down the pecking order in the attacking midfield role he desires following the arrivals of new players among them Kenyan international Clifton Miheso but he said he craved the challenge of fighting for his place.

“Competition in the team is healthy. It keeps everyone on their toes. I relish the challenge of trying to impress the new coach just like everyone else. I believe everyone should earn a place in the team through merit,” stated Omondi.

Unlike in the first leg in Bujumbura which ended goalless, Gor will have a full squad to choose from having been limited to 15 players only in Burundi. However, team manager Jolawi Obondo confirmed that neither Ivorian Gipsan Yikpe, Ghanaian Francis Afiriye nor Miheso will be available for Sunday’s clash.

“These players will only be available in the next round should we go past Aigle Noir,” revealed Obondo.

Meanwhile, in a bid to maximize on their matchday attendances and gain more financial muscle through gate collections in the wake of the exit of Sportpesa, Gor have partnered with technology company — Infinity Tickets (Africa Data Technologies Limited) — to introduce e-ticketing ahead of the first home match of 2018/2019 season next weekend.

The revolutionary electronic system will boost the clubs revenues by weeding out the sale of fake tickets, said the club treasurer, Sally Bolo. The system is also in line with the club’s policy of implementing hassle-free access to Gor Mahia’s match-day tickets.

Yikpe and Afiriyie will be available for CAF CL

If Gor Mahia beat Aigle Noir of Burundi next weekend, they will have the services of the foreign duo of Francis Afiriyie and Yikpe Ghislain. The Ghanaian and Ivorian duo are not available for the opening round but will be eligible should Gor Mahia proceed to round one.

“According to the latest communication we have received from CAF, the two strikers may be allowed to play after the Sunday match ahead of us. This will be a big boost to us,’’ explained Ngala to Citizen Sports.

The winner between Gor Mahia and Aigle Noir will likely face USM Alger in the first round. The Algerian side won the opening leg 2-1 away to Nigerien side AS Sonindep.

“We are ready for the Burundians and our plans started yesterday with our first trophy of the season,  we are building on the players dedication and determination to go places this season,’’ Ngala continued.

Gor Mahia name Champions League Squad

Gor Mahia have named a 25 player squad for the 2019-2020 Africa champions League. Unlike past instances, the signing of new players was completed before the squad list was due. As such all the key new signings have been included.

Gor Mahia have never reached the group stage of the Champions League. They begin their campaign against Aigle Noir or Burundi. Should they win they will likely face USM Alger.

Goalkeepers: Fredrick Odhiambo, David Mapigano, Boniface Oluoch

Defenders: Wellington Ochieng, Philemon Otieno, Shafik Batambuze, Geoffrey Ochieng, Joachim Oluoch, Joash Onyango, Charles Momanyi, Maurice Ojwang

Midfielders: Ernest Wendo, Tobias Otieno, Kenneth Muguna, Curtis Wekesa, Boniface Omondi, Lawrence Juma, Samuel Onyango

Forwards: Dennis Oliech, Nicholas Kipkirui, Dickson Ambundo, Gislain Yikpe Gnamien, Francis Afriyie

Who are Aigle Noir CS ?

Gor Mahia have been paired against Burundian side Aigle Noir CS in the preliminary round of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League. The first leg is slated for the weekend of August 10.

Aigle Noir CS are a relatively new side on the Burundian scene. They have been rising steadily since they made their first appearance in the Burundian top tier in the 2015-2016 season. They gained a place in the top tier after buying a place in the league from from the previously existing Rusizi FC of Cibitoke which ceased operations.

They finished in 4th place in their first season, then 4th again, then 3rd place in the 2017-2018 season before winning for the first time in the 2018-2019 season. They finished 13 points ahead of second placed Musongati FC and 13 points ahead of traditional giants, Vital O.

This promises to be a tough outing for Gor Mahia. Burundian sides have been traditionally difficult. The Burundi national side acquitted themselves well at the recent AFCON. It turns out however that not a single player of Aigle Noir CS was selected to the national team, whereas Kenya’s Sofapaka had three Burundians selected.

Last year Gor Mahia escaped the preliminary round against Bullets of Malawi thanks to a dramatic penalty shootout in Blantyre. They were then eliminated by Lobi Stars of Nigeria.

Should Gor Mahia go past the Burundians, they will likely face USM Alger, their nemesis from 2017.