Sunday, April 8 – 3:00p.m Local time – Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos County, Kenya
Gor Mahia will take some time off in their defense of the Kenyan Premier League title as they bid to register continental success.
The 16-time KPL champions will play host to South African side SuperSport United on Sunday afternoon in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup play off.
K’Ogalo were relegated to the second tier continental tournament after an aggregate 1-0 loss to Tunisian champions Esperance subsequently knocked them out in the First Round of the CAF Champions League.
Head coach Dylan Kerr decried the congested Premier League fixture in the build up to the Champions League encounter, terming it as “unreasonable suffocation” due to the brutal avalanche of games.
The theory does hold water, as a fresher Gor Mahia side could have invariably made it past the First Round and into the big money Group Stage of the CAF Champions League.
Albeit too little too late, the protest has since prompted the KPL Limited to act in solidarity with the reigning champions, giving them a largely adequate recovery period across both legs with the South African side.
Mathare United are currently enjoying a spell of subjugation in the Kenyan Premier League in the absence of the mighty Mayienga. The Slum Boys currently lead the log on 20 points, a single point above Gor in second; nonetheless having played two more matches than the current champions.
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Francis Kimanzi’s side could further compound the pressure on Gor Mahia with a victory over highly rated yet abysmally performing Tusker FC this weekend.
K’Ogalo heads into the match with more than a week’s rest, in stark contrast to their opponents who played on Wednesday night. SuperSport prepared for continental duty in the worst possible way, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Polokwane City.
The visitors were still in the game despite going behind to Rodney Ramagalela’s goal in the first half, but all hopes of rallying a comeback were heavily diminished after defender Morgan Gould received a straight red card for a crude challenge on Edgar Manaka, soon after the interval.
Whereas Gor Mahia have had a smooth ride in the Kenyan Premier League, SuperSport United are deeply embroiled in a relegation catfight down South. Matsatsantsa are currently 14th on the ABSA Premiership standings with 27 points from 25 matches; 19 points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Brazilians have been assertive in the league but the race for the title promises to be a thrilling culmination of pomp, color and South African spasm, seeing as Orlando Pirates are breathing relentlessly behind their necks.
Apart from long-term absentees Wellington Ochieng and Karim Nizigiyimana, Dylan Kerr has no fresh injury concerns. The Brit will nonetheless be without Ugandan defender Godfrey Walusimbi, who has been away from the country due to a dispute with the club over unsettled sign-on payments agreed when he renewed his contract at the start of the campaign.
Despite receiving a straight red last time out, Morgan Gould will be available for selection for interim coach Kaitano Tembo against Gor Mahia.
Gor Mahia vs. SuperSport United match prediction
SuperSport beat AFC Leopards 4-2 on aggregate in the First Round of 2014 CAF Confederation Cup, but the circumstances are different this time round, as Matsatsantsa face a different Kenyan side out to prove that bowing out of the Champions League was more of a stumble than a fall.
Prediction: Gor Mahia to win @ WilliamHill.com
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