Gor Mahia will be hoping to ride on their magic of winning the 1987 Mandela Cup to do well in this year’s Confederations Cup tournament where they start against Anse Re Union of Seychelles at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.
In between the years after winning Nelson Mandela Cup, the club has struggled in a major way in all their attempts to repeat the magic of 1987.
Their attempts to return back to continental football have been a total fiasco in the last two occasions . First in 2009, the team was edged out 5-0 by APR of Rwanda on their return to continental football after almost a decade and marked their early exit in the Confederations Cup.
Then last year, the team went down 4-0 to Mozambican club Ferroviario de Maputo who eliminated them from the first round of the Confederations Cup.
Backed by such poor results, Gor Mahia coach Zradvko Logarusic insists they cannot have high expectations and a second round qualification will be a major achievement.
Speaking in his usual straight talking manner, Logarusic said: “While we have succeeded in trying to build a good squad for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), we still do not have the kind of players who can compete at the continental level."
“We have a long way to go and expecting too much from our boys is unrealistic.” Gor should use their home-ground advantage to easily win on Saturday especially because their legion of fans are expected to turn up in large numbers.
The club enjoys the most passionate support in the country and this always has the advantage of pushing players to do their best on the pitch. They particularly need it on Saturday.
Also going for Gor is the fact that Seychelles sides have never proved tough opposition to Kenyan teams.
It may be easier for Gor to get through the preliminary round but the real competition will only start in the first round where Egyptian opposition ENNPI awaits.
Gor have the experience to make a positive start to the continental campaign with team captain and goalkeeper Jerim Onyango starting in goal. The team will miss new Ugandan recruit Israel Emuge who is ineligible for their continental fixture but the defense should remain firm with Musa Mohammed, Ivan Anguyo and Daniel Mosoti in charge.
Upfront, Logarusic is spoilt for choice. He has newly signed Paul Kiongera, Rama Salim and Dan Ssrenukuma to pick from.