CAF Champions League
Sunday, March 18 – 4:00pm Local time – Stade Olympique de Radès, Tunis, Tunisia
Gor Mahia’s quest for continental glory will see them travel to the Tunisian capital this weekend for the return leg of the first round in the CAF Champions League.
K’Ogalo missed a plethora of open chances that could have seen them take the advantage of the North African nation, but head coach Dylan Kerr still believes his side can take fringe benefits from the away goal rule.
Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere were prevented by the woodwork during the first leg held at the Machakos Stadium a week ago, but the attacking duo will have to be clinical on the formalities this time round.
An outright win or a goal-scoring draw of any sort will see the Kenyan Premier League champions advance into the group stage, while a defeat will condemn the East Africans out of the continental tournament.
Gor Mahia is Kenya’s only representative on the continental front, after AFC Leopards fell at the first hurdle in the CAF Confederation Cup – the second tier cup competition. Ingwe were eliminated from the preliminary qualifying round by Fosa Juniors after the Malagasy side advanced following a 1-1 draw on their trip to Kenya.
Sirkal’s commitment to their continental cause will provide Leopards with a timid opportunity to narrow the gap on the reigning champions, momentarily drawing them level on 16 points from seven matches – nonetheless with an extra game played.
Gor are however displeased by the fact that the encounter, initially scheduled for Saturday, has been moved to Sunday by the Tunisian FA without seeking their audience; forcing the Mayienga camp to make extensive changes in their traveling and accommodation plans.
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The concerns initially echoed by Gor Mahia Chief Executive Officer Lordvick Aduda and seconded by Secretary General Ben Omondi, have now been taken up by the Football Kenya Federation.
The football governing body in Kenya has contacted the Confederation of African Football decrying the unsanctioned decision to move the match. CAF has remained mum on the matter but retrospective action, if any, may be taken on the Tunisian champions once the tie is settled.
CAF had Saturday as the designated date for the second leg, but Esperance tweeted that the match had been rescheduled to both Friday and Sunday; one which forced K’Ogalo, clearly incensed by the mind games, to send an advance party to Tunis for clarification.
Dylan Kerr hasn’t given much attention to the happenings off the pitch, but still fancies his side’s chances for the encounter. The Englishman will however miss the services of defender Wellington Ochieng, who has been sidelined for the remaining first half of the season after sustaining a leg injury during the 2-0 win over Bandari a fortnight ago.
Ugandan international Godfrey Walusimbi however slots back into the team after recovering from an injury.
Full Gor Mahia travelling squad:
Meddie Kagere, Boniface Omondi, Charles Momanyi, Jacques Tuyisenge, Boniface Oluoch, Wesley Onguso, Francis Kahata, Samuel Onyango, Joakim Oluoch, Haron Shakava, Shaban Odhonji, Bernard Ochieng, Philemon Otieno, Earnest Wendo, Lawrence Juma, George Odhiambo, Humphrey Mieno, Cercidy Okeyo, Joash Onyango and Godfrey Walusimbi.
ES Tunis vs. Gor Mahia match predictions
Gor Mahia has over the ages been the most dominant force in Kenyan football, but Dylan Kerr has proven to be something special. The KPL champions lead the standings unbeaten despite fielding four different squads in the six opening League matches.
Esperance have scored five unanswered goals in their last two matches in the Tunisian top division, but Dylan Kerr’s tinkering and tottering could very well see Gor Mahia register a historic result in Tunis.
Prediction: Gor Mahia to advance
Gor Mahia vs. Esperance recent results
Gor 0-0 Esperance (March 7, 2017)
Esperance 5-0 Gor (March 10, 2014)
Heithem Jouini 44′
Heithem Jouini 48′
Harrison Afful 54′
Heithem Jouini 56′
Idriss Mhrisi 74′
Gor 2-3 Esperance (March 1, 2014)
Dan Sserunkuma 13′ (P)
Harun Shakava 77′
Ahned Akaichi 25′
Yannick Ndjeng 62′
Haithen Jouwi 89′