Caf Confederation Cup: Five reasons why Gor Mahia failed to advance to quarters

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The Kenyan champions were in a pole position to qualify for the last sixteen as they went into the final Group D match at the top but finished third

It was heartbreaking to see Kenyan representative Gor Mahia crushing out of the Caf Confederation Cup after falling to USM Alger.

The Kenyan champions were in a pole position to qualify for the last sixteen as they went into the final Group D match at the top with eight points, but lost 2-1 to USM Alger, who qualified alongside Rayon Sports of Rwanda.

Rayon Sports beat Young Africans (Yanga) by a solitary goal to finish second in the Group. Goal analyses some of the key reasons why the team failed to make it to the last sixteen of the competition.

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    #1 Fatigue

    Since June, Gor Mahia has played a total of twenty-nine matches in all competitions, averaging ten games every month, a game after every three days. Players are not robots, they need time to heal and relax their muscles. This month alone, the team has played ten league matches. The club had requested the Kenyan Premier League Limited to consider postponing their games and allow them time to prepare adequately for the matches against Rayon Sports and USM Alger. Coach Dylan Kerr also had no time to work on a few shortcomings especially in his defense and that cost the team big time.

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    #2 Departure of key players

    No one can hide the fact that striker Meddie Kagere and defender Godfrey Walusimbi have been an integral part of the seventeen-time league champions. The left back position has been excellent for the Green Army and the attacking has also been good. Football is a lucrative business, it is all about investing on your asset with an eye on a bigger reward, prize money. Gor Mahia office did not see this; Kagere is an excellent player, why did the management refuse to revise his terms? Was Walusimbi asking for too much? When the two left, K’Ogalo quality went down literally and the coach could not provide an immediate solution to that problem.

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    #3 Defeat against Rayon Sports

    Gor Mahia had a perfect chance to set their feet in the quarter-finals when they played Rayon Sports in Nairobi. All they needed was a point against the Rwandan giants and book a quarter final berth. It is obvious that the home team underrated the opponents, who were at that time facing problems on and off the pitch. Their three key players were suspended by Caf and they arrived in Kenya with only 15 players. A low start from the home team allowed the opponents to settle early and at the end of the day they walked away with maximum points.

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    #4 Goalkeeping/Defensive frailties

    Gor Mahia has not kept a single clean sheet in their last three matches owing to their defensive lapses from the keepers to defenders. Against Yanga FC, Boniface Oluoch made two costly mistakes that gave the opponents a lifeline and the match ended 3-2. Fast forward to August 19th in Nairobi; Wellington Ochieng’, who had a really bad day in office, was responsible for the first goal against Rayon Sports. With the match tied 1-1, Rayon Sports were awarded a free-kick and it was Shaban Odhoji's responsibility to ensure his end is covered well. However, he concentrated so much on the opposing strikers and forgot to cover the goal well and ended up conceding what turned out to be the winner.

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    #5 Financial and logistical issues

    For any team to do well in continental competitions, logistics have to be taken care of early enough. It was not the case with Gor Mahia especially in their last match in Algeria. President Uhuru Kenyatta had to intervene to help the team get the tickets. The team had only fifteen minutes to prepare for the match that was to decide their destiny and as fate may have had it, they failed in the last hurdle. Gor Mahia is a big team, one of the oldest in the East and Central African region. Does it mean the club cannot have its own means of getting revenue instead, of depending on handouts year in year out? When will they ever learn?