Gor Mahia will face AS Otoho d’Oyo in the return leg of their Caf Confederation Cup play-off without two players – striker Jules Ulimwengu and defender John Ochieng – who remained in Congo to quarantine after allegedly testing positive for Covid-19.
The two players missed the first leg meeting at the Alphonse Massamba-Debat Stadium in Brazzaville which the Congolese outfit won 1-0 courtesy of a 63rd-minute strike from Roland Okouri.
Gor Mahia have confirmed the two players have been forced to self-quarantine in Congo for the next eight days, meaning they will not be available for the return leg slated for Nyayo Stadium on December 5.
'Isolation for eight days'
“Our two players [Jules and John], who 'tested' positive for Covid-19 in Congo will be in quarantine for eight days before being allowed to travel back to Nairobi,” Gor Mahia Sporting Director Omondi Aduda said as quoted by the club’s social media pages.
Aduda has further told GOAL they are reading malice into the whole saga because the two players were Covid-19 negative when the team left Nairobi for Brazzaville last Friday.
“These guys claimed that Ulimwengu and John [Ochieng’] tested positive for Covid-19 just to deny them the opportunity to play,” Aduda told GOAL from Brazzaville where he is taking care of the players.
“Jules and Ochieng have been vaccinated twice and had their negative test results from Kemri done on Thursday in Nairobi which enabled them to travel on Friday and then the test done here on Friday came back positive can you believe that?
“At first, the Otoho management was not ready to give us the results but they only told us, two of your players have tested positive, and we could not field them in the first leg, they were told to isolate immediately.
“Now we have been told they must isolate for the next eight days before being released to travel back, so I have stayed back to give them support and take care of them, it means by the time the eight days elapse, we will have played the return leg in Nairobi.
'Players to miss return leg in Nairobi'
“So it simply means, they will not be available for the return leg and the coach will have to plan minus them.”
On whether Gor Mahia have lodged an official complaint with Caf, Aduda said: “We will do so, today [Tuesday], we will write to Caf and explain what we have gone through here.”
The absence of the players will be a huge blow to K’Ogalo, who will be keen to overturn 1-0 defeat suffered in the first leg.
In a previous interview with GOAL, Gor Mahia assistant coach Sammy Omollo explained how the absence of the players affected their plans in the first leg.
“We had our plan with the players we travelled with to play Otoho,” Omollo told GOAL. “For instance, Ulimwengu’s impact would have been vital for us in the attacking department.
“He is an experienced player who is a danger to opponents at any given time. So locking him out affected our plan, as well as Ochieng.
“But we are not out, we have the second leg coming and we know what to do to advance.
"The only good thing is that we will be at home, and it is familiar territory. For our fans, we will give our best and ensure we stand a chance of making it to the next phase.”