Ulinzi Stars have been beaten 1-0 by Libyan giants Al Hilal Benghazi in their first preliminary match of 2017 Caf Confederation Cup tournament played on Friday at Cairo Military Academy Stadium in Egypt.
The Soldiers battled in search of an opening goal from the onset of the game but the hosts kept them at bay going to the breather without a goal from either side.
However, Al Hilal, came from the tunnel more energized with attacks minute after minute towards Ulinzi Stars goal-posts. One of their efforts was rewarded in the 50th minute courtesy of Ahmed Abar, creating a disparity which the Nakuru-based outfit failed to cancel, thereby handing the hosts the first-leg victory.
Prior to the tie, Ulinzi Stars had expressed their discomfort in Egypt citing mistreatment on their arrival and maybe this affected their final preps.
"We were neither given a training facility nor a bus to take us there, no information, no nothing. However we managed to get a training ground on Thursday evening and we will do our best,” head coach Benjamin Nyangweso had told Goal.
Notably, the club also played without their main striker John Mark Makwatta, who was forced not to travel over passport issue. Their vice chairman Major Joe Birgen had registered his disappointment to the situation, and who knows? Maybe the 2016 KPL golden boot winner could have scored for the Soldiers.
“They (SportPesa AllStars team management) had promised the passport would be back on Wednesday but now we hear it is still in South Africa. We are very disappointed because more so, no one has talked to us as a team or apologized to us because of this inconvenience.”
“This is an important game for us and having our best players is a priority. We have incurred costs because we had already purchased tickets and now, Sportpesa have to refund us that money. As a team we are not happy with this and we want an apology. We are contemplating pulling our players out of the trip. ” he told the club’s official website earlier.
The two teams will meet at Kasarani Stadium on Saturday, February 18, for their second leg encounter.
Ulinzi Stars: James Saruni, Brian Birgen, Omar Mbongi, Hassan Mohammed, Geoffrey Kokoyo, Boniface Onyango, Samuel Onyango, John Kago, Evans Amwoka, Daniel Waweru and Baron Oketch.
Subs: Jactone Odhiambo, Cylus Shitote, Benson Sande, Churchill Muloma, Stephen Ocholla, Justin Onwonga and Enosh Ochieng'.