23 December 2018

Africa: Sharks, Gor Mahia Knocked Out of Africa

Photo: Chris Omollo/Daily Nation
Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay gestures during their training session at Camp Toyoyo grounds, Nairobi on December 11, 2018.

Kenyan clubs' quest to conquer the continental football scene has again been placed on the back-burner in the wake of Gor Mahia and Kariobangi Sharks elimination from their respective competitions.

Gor Mahia midfielder Humphrey Mieno aired his disappointment after the team failed to progress to the group stages of the prestigious Caf Africa Champions League following a painful exit on away goals against Nigeria's Lobi Stars. The team tied 3-3 on aggregate.

Similarly, Kariobangi Sharks were beaten 2-1 by Ghana's Asante Kotoko in Kumasi to summarise a difficult trip by Kenyan teams to the dreaded West African region.

The results suggest both games were closely contested and give hope to local fanatics heading into the future. Kenyan clubs should, however, look to professionalise, plan better and seek more financial streams to eventually stand a chance.

The experienced Mieno rued what he says were up to three clear-cut chances missed by his team, while also pointing his finer at the officiating in Enugu saying it 'would have been better'.

"At this level, we have to convert our chances, we didn't, and now we are out. The referee should have done better on some decisions but this is not about him. It is about the chances we missed." " a frustrated Mieno said.

A brace from Sikiru Alimi helped Nigerian club Lobi Stars defeat the Kenyan champions 2-0 in a tense encounter at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu State.

The Nigerians progressed to the group phase after a 3-3 aggregate score following their 3-1 loss in Nairobi a week ago. The benefitted from the valuable away goal they scored at Kasarani stadium.

The defeat means that K'ogalo will miss out on a Sh54 million purse that the cash-strapped club badly needed to help shore up it's financial state.

But their quest for continental football is not over yet. They now drop to Caf Confederation Cup where they will play another round of matches against a yet to be named opponent to qualify for the group phase.

In Ghana, Sharks debut campaign in the Confederation Cup came to an agonising halt following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of hosts Asante Kotoko at the Baba Yara stadium.

The Kenyans were undone by a penalty given by the Ugandan match referee Mashood Ssali after Kotoko's Burkinabe forward Sogne Yacouba tumbled down in the box from the slightest of touches from a Sharks defender. Amos Frimpong tucked away the penalty to send a packed stadium into frenzy.

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