Dar es Salaam — Kenyan champions Gor Mahia head into Thursday's Cecafa Kagame Cup match against AS Ports of Djibouti knowing nothing short of victory will guarantee them a place in the quarter-finals.
Gor's lacklustre performance in this tournament has left them with their backs against the wall after sharing spoils of a two-all draw against Rwandan giants Rayon Sports and Burundi's Lydia Ludic.
They sit second in Group B, two points adrift of leaders AS Ports who need a single point to advance.
Rayon Sports on the other side are in a similar scenario, as they face a must-win tie against Lydia Ludic if they harbour any ambitions of progressing but a win for the Burundians will take their points tally to four, leaving an interesting end to the group stage matches.
Only the top two teams from each of the three groups automatically advance to the quarter-finals set for Sunday and Monday. Two teams will however qualify for the last eight as best losers.
Gor needed a late penalty from Jacques Tuyisenge to salvage a point in their 2-2 draw with Lydia Ludic on Tuesday. Former AFC Leopards striker Alexis Kitenge shot Ludic ahead two minutes into the game but the lead lasted only five minutes before Philemon Otieno struck the equaliser.
Dan Wagaluka, another ex-Leopards player, restored Lydia Ludic's lead before Tuyisenge levelled matter from the spot late on.
Tanzanian sides Simba and Singida United already booked tickets to the last eight after winning their opening two matches.
Gor coach Dylan Kerr wants nothing short of a win against a hard-fighting Ports.
"Ports have to win the game and we definitely have to as well. We shall be ready to win this game and I am going to pick a team that wants to play and win," said Kerr.
"I can't take excuses of congested fixtures anymore because I asked players before the Ludic game if they are ready to play and they said 'yes.'" the Englishman said.
"We are lacking that winning mentality on the pitch and in the dressing room but hopefully, things will change soon."
Ports coach Miad Nour predicted a tough encounter against the Kenyan champions who reached the final the last time this competition was held here in 2015.
"It's going to be a very difficult match but we will give our best, they are the champions so we are," Nour said.
Ports v Gor Mahia (National Stadium, 4pm)
Lydia Ludic v Rayon Sports (Chamazi Sports Complex, 4pm)