18 August 2018

Africa: Gor Mahia On the Brink of CAF Quarters

It's a date with destiny on Sunday from 7pm as Kenya's Gor Mahia host eight-time Rwandan champions Rayon Sports in a crucial Caf Confederation Cup Group "D" reverse tie at the 60,000-seater Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi.

K'Ogalo, the record 16-time Kenyan champions, need a win in this fifth of their six group fixtures to guarantee qualification to the even more lucrative quarter-final stage where they will earn at least Ksh35 million ($350,000) in prize money.

Tickets for the game are priced at Ksh500 ($5) VIP and Ksh200 ($2) regular and can be purchased at Kenya Cinema, Safari Park and at MISC Gate 12 and Gate Three located.

Gor will finish their preliminary assignment away to group favourites USM Alger in a week's time.

The Kenyan giants, are joint top of the group with Algerian outfit on eight points, five better than third-placed Rayon who held the Kenyan side 1-1 in the first leg tie in Kigali on May 6 and must win in Nairobi to stand a chance of advancing to the knock-outs.

The two sides - both founded in 1968, faced off again at the Cecafa Kagame Cup on July 1 in Dar es Salaam battling to a thrilling two-all draw.

Jacques Tuyisenge and Humphrey Mieno fired Gor into a 2-0 at the break before Malian striker Ismail Diarra and Captain Pierre Kwizera equalised with a goal apiece in the final stanza.

Since then, a lot has gone wrong in the Rayon camp. Three of their players namely goalkeeper Kassim Ndayisenga, midfielder Yannick Mukunzi and Cameroonian striker Chris Mbondi were slapped with a two-match ban by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) disciplinary committee for misconduct in the fiercely contested 1-1 draw away to USM Alger on July 29 and the teams fined $20,000 (about Sh2 million).

The club has since lost three players in dependable striker Ismail Diarra who joined Algerian side CA Bord Bou last month, captain Pierre Kwizera and striker Hussein "Tshabalala" Shaban have moved to Oman and South Africa's Baroka respectively.

On the other hand, Gor have lost reliable Rwandese forward Meddie Kagere and left back Godfrey Walusimbi to Tanzanian outfit Simba and South African giants Kaizer Chiefs in that period.

Gor coach Dylan Kerr, set to miss veteran custodian Boniface Oluoch and injured striker Ephrem Guikan, will hope Rwandese forward Jacques Tuyisenge shakes off a slight back injury to complete his favourite 4-4-2 formation alongside Kevin "Ade" Omondi.

Captain Harun Shakava will command the backline partnering Joash Onyango as Wesley Onguso and Philemon Otieno provide ammunition from the left and right back positions respectively.

"We need three points to guarantee qualification therefore we are going for nothing short of a win irrespective of the result in Dar es Salaam," said Kerr, whilst optimistic of already eliminated Yanga surprising Algerian side USM Alger in the other encounter.

Captain Shakava rallied Gor fans to fill the Kasarani Stadium to the brim and cheer on the boys who are enduring a congested fixture this month.

While Gor has won three, drawn and lost once in the past five fixtures in all competitions, Rayon have a single win, two draws and as many defeats.

Rayon Brazilian coach Roberto Oliveira, whose 17 players had to endure a six-hour travel by bus to Entebbe, Uganda before flying to Nairobi on Saturday afternoon, will miss defender Eric Irambona who is suspended for accumulation of two yellow cards.

A loss in Sunday's match will end the blues' continental journey having lost the domestic cup 3-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in extra time to Mukura Victory Sports last Sunday.

Mukura and champions APR thus will fly Rwanda's blue-yellow and green stripped flag in next year's Confederation and Champions League competitions.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean referee Norman Matemera will run rings assisted by compatriots Thomas Kusosa and Luckson Mhara.

Gor Mahia probable lineup: Shaban Odhoji (GK), Harun Shakava, Joash Onyango, Wesley Onguso, Philemon Otieno, Ernest Wendo, Humphrey Mieno, Francis Kahata, George "Blackberry" Odhiambo, Kevin "Ade" Omondi, Jacques Tuyisenge.

Coach: Dylan Kerr

Rayon Sports squad: Bashunga Abouba, Mutsinzi Ange, Nyandwi Saddam, Rutanga Eric, Rwatubyaye Abdul, Manzi Thierry, Mugabo Gabriel, Mugisha François Master, Niyonzima Olivier Sefu, Manishimwe Djabel, Muhire Kevin, Yassin Mugume, Nova Bayama, Mugisha Gilbert, Bimenyimana Bonfils Caleb, Donkor Prosper Kuka, Kouame Brou Gerard Stephane

Coach: Roberto Oliveira

FIXTURE

Gor Mahia v Rayon Sports (MISC Kasarani, 7pm)

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