Gor Mahia will be on a high after two convincing wins in the 2015 CECAFA club cup aka Kagame cup. It is a stark contrast to what pertained in the 2014 edition where Gor Mahia put on a listless performance even against minnows like Djibouti Telecom.
This is the confident backdrop against which Gor Mahia will take on Al Khartoum. The Sudanese side are also full of confidence, having beaten Djibouti Telecom 5-0 and KMKM 2-1.
In the Al Khartoum line-up will be former Gor Mahia midfield ace Anthony Akumu. It was he who scored the winning goal when his side beat KMKM.
Though he (Akumu) says he supported the club as a youngster and still has friends at the club, Akumu says he will be a professional first.
“I still have many friends in the club but I don’t think that will complicate things for me. Winning the title is our ambition in this tournament and I know that I have a great responsibility to make that happen. The coach has spoken to us about the match and I am planning to give my best performance to ensure that we record a winning result,” he said to the Nation.
Akumu also thinks that a good performance at the Kagame cup will open up doors to Europe.
“My ambition is to play in Europe but in the mean time I want to focus on giving my best performances for Khartoum. We have a job to do here and nothing else will be on my mind on Friday other that victory,” he continued.
So Gor Mahia will be facing a familiar but determined foe. But truth be told, unlike last season, this year Gor Mahia has enough petrol in the tank to neutralize Akumu. For one thing, Collins Okoth is preferred ahead of Akumu at national team level. And even if Okoth is still stifled by his thigh injury, there is the ebullient Khalid Aucho whose performances have been impressive of late along with Walusimbi, Abondo and Wafula plus Nizigiziyimana and Sibomana whose playmaking and passing skills are as good or better than any midfieder at this tournament.
The Sudanese side have in John Kwesi Appiah, a good coach with vast experience. He guided Ghana to qualification of the 2014 world cup, a feat which included beating the mighty Egypt 6-1. Ghana played extremely well at the world cup including a 2-2 draw with eventual winners Germany.
However in coach Frank Nuttall, Gor Mahia have an imaginative coach who has proven that he can match wits with any coach. He comprehensively the Young Africans coach Hans Van De Pluijm despite the latter having coached in the Dutch first division.
Al Khartoum who finished 4th in the 2014 Sudanese league, have a squad that is made primarily of Sudanese players with the exception of Akumu, Léonard Njousso (Cameroun) and John Arthur (Ghana). Of the Sudanese players, none of them feature in the current national team which is dominated by players from their more illustrious rivals, Al Merreikh and Al Hilal.
Salah Bilal is the one player Gor Mahia will need to watch closely. He has scored three goals so far in the tournament.