Gor Mahia will take on New Star in the return leg of the Caf Confederation Cup on Sunday.
The Kenyan champions have a slight advantage following the 2-1 win registered in the first leg played in Nairobi. It is not the first time the East African side has been in this situation. Last year, they faced SuperSport United of South Africa and managed to get that crucial one goal away to advance to the group stages.
This year, things looked even better when Gor Mahia defeated Lobi Stars of Nigeria 3-1 in the Caf Champions League, and just needed a draw or a 1-0 defeat to progress to the group stages and set another milestone. It turned out to be another unfulfilled dream as two late goals denied K’Ogalo that chance.
Here comes a perfect opportunity for the Hassan Oktay led side to show their toughness by making it to the group stages of the Confederation Cup for the second season in row. It is going to be even tougher for the Kenyan side considering the fact that the visitors have that valuable away goal.
The absence of the suspended duo - Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango - and the exit of Humphrey Mieno to St. George of Ethiopia makes it even tougher for the Kenyan side. So what should Gor Mahia do to progress to the next phase?
Make use of created chances
Coach Oktay has severally hit on his players for failing to take their chances. It is something that has affected the team on numerous occasions and this was evident in the first leg. Francis Mustafa, Jacques Tuyisenge and Francis Kahata had great chances to score in the first leg but they both lacked composure and accuracy in front of the goal to hit the target. That has to change away, a goal scored will increase the team's chances of making it to the next stage by 100%.
Put in house problems aside
Saying that there is unity and harmony within the players will be an open lie. There have been murmurs concerning salaries for the playing unit. Players arrears have not been settled, other players feel overlooked and the output is wanting. Despite creating chances, the flair the club was associated with last season has disappeared. Whether it is because of the ‘philosophy’ brought in by the new coach or off pitch issues is yet to be known. But the players have to give absolutely everything on the pitch because they will gain great exposure in this continental assignments.
An ugly win is still a win
This is a game that will have a very great impact on K’Ogalo’s season financially as well as individually, reason the team needs to do everything to progress to the next stage. What is the point of keeping possession and playing a beautiful game but end up conceding and face elimination? Going with a defensive mentality and hitting the opponent with counter attack has always worked magic. It is a game that Gor Mahia can win but only if the players give absolutely everything on the pitch and avoid silly mistakes.