Can Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards end their worst run in continental football?

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K'Ogalo and Ingwe have yet another chance to prove their worth in continental assignments when they play at home

Kenya's top clubs in Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards have another opportunity to prove their worth in continental assignments this weekend.

By virtue of winning the Kenyan Premier League last year, K'Ogalo clinched the rights to represent the nation in Caf Champions League while their bitter rivals Ingwe got the ticket for Caf Confederation Cup after winning GOtv Shield.

Unlike past years, this time every pundit is hoping that the two giants will go past the preliminary round. Gor Mahia will face Leones Vegetarianos from Equatorial Guinea in the two-legged affair while AFC Leopards have been drawn against Fosa Juniors from Madagascar.

Gor Mahia under head coach Dylan Kerr has gone ahead to bring the likes of experienced Humphrey Mieno to run the midfield. Ivory Coast man Ephram Guikan is another player, who was brought on board to help the fifteen times league champions to do better in the competition.

Gor Mahia midfielder Humphrey Mieno v Collins Okoth of AFC Leopards.

The striker has not hit greater heights as expected, but his experience in the Caf Champions League might be beneficial to the team.

AFC Leopards have been the most active in the transfer window, strengthening in all departments. Eyes will be on new signings Prince Arko, Henry Uche, Baker Lukooya and Isaac Oduro, who came in to specifically help the team get past the first and second qualification rounds.

The main question is, will the two teams defy the odds and get past the preliminaries? The following are a few major factors that can determine their journey.


FANS FACTOR


Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos and Bukhungu in Kakamega are perfect venues where football loving fans can turn out and cheer their respective teams.

Ingwe took their match closer to the fans and the best thing they can do is to ensure they rally the fans behind the team. That 'home' feeling will definitely spur the team to victory.

Gor Mahia fans have never disappointed when it comes to supporting the team, they have always come out in large numbers. They have to be louder and support the team from the first to the final whistle.


TACTICAL APPROACH 


Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr and Robert Matano of AFC Leopards.

To progress in these types of competitions, the techniques have to be on point considering the fact that away goals do count.

Good defensive display will be important as K’Ogalo coach Dylan Kerr stated in an earlier interview with Goal. “A clean sheet for us will be really important, and that is what I have told my players, but that does not mean we will not play our game.”

The two sides have to play as a unit, attacking and defending at the same time to ensure no gap is created. Blunders at the back might lead to an early exit.


                                           MONETARY REWARDS 


Money motivates even the weakest, and the management of the two teams have to come with ways of ensuring the players give their all.

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Increasing amounts in every stage will increase competitions in the teams and as a result the sides will be in the group or even march to the latter stages of their respective competitions.

AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia have been playing on the surfaces of the two venues, and that will be an added advantage for them. The first fifteen minutes might determine the outcome of the matches.

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