Gor Mahia amazed many with their perfect display that ensured a 4-2 victory against Zamalek in a Group D opener of the Caf Confederation Cup.
The Egyptian champions came into the match as favourites and after scoring early, many doubted whether K’Ogalo will bounce back; they sure did and at the end, bagged maximum points to go top of the group.
On the other hand, Petro Atletico fell away to NA Hussein Dey 2-1 despite putting a brave fight. As it stands, Hussein Dey and Gor Mahia have three points and will be facing stern tests when they visit the already wounded sides in Egypt and Angola.
Ten points will be enough for the Kenyan champions to progress to the quarter-finals, and now that they won their opening match, they need seven points from the remaining five matches to make it to the last sixteen of the competition for the first time in club’s history.
However, the team has travelled to Angola minus dependable players – Dennis Oliech (injury), Ernest Wendo (knock), Wellington Ochieng (malaria), Philemon Otieno and Jacques Tuyisenge (suspension).
The absence of the five players coupled with the team’s poor away form in the Caf competitions could hinder their good start this season. K’Ogalo has not been doing well in away games, and in their last eight matches in both the Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup matches, they have won just once - the 3-2 win against Yanga last year.
With that in mind, what should Gor Mahia do to get at least a point away from home?
Avoid costly mistakes
Petro Atletico have been enjoying a good run at home in the competition and have won four of their last five matches, with the other one against South African side SuperSport United ending in a barren draw. A fact worth noting is that the Angolan side has also scored twelve goals in the aforementioned games. Gor Mahia has to ensure that they do not leak at the back; that calls for unity in the way the team plays, starting from defense all the way to the attack. Something as simple as a miss-pass can lead to a goal and K'Ogalo has to ensure that does not happen.
Tactical approach should be scripted
All that matters in this type of competition is results. It does not matter whether you have 80% possession or the slickness of your game; the end justifies it all. In short, defensive approach might be the best method to be used here. If Gor Mahia gets a point, it will be massive. This has to be made clear by the coach, he has to explain this to the playing unit; from the strikers all the way to the defenders. That point be what the team needs later on to progress to the next stage of the competition.
It is expected to be tough and Gor Mahia might be limited from getting into the danger zone of their hosts. But with wingers like Nicholas Kipkirui, Boniface Omondi and Francis Kahata, expect chances to be created. It does not matter how many scoring opportunities will be at Gor Mahia’s disposal, what will matter is the number of goals scored. Without Jacques Tuyisenge and Denis Oliech, things might be a little tougher for the Hassan Oktay led side, but that does not mean they cannot score. Francis Mustafa should rise for the occasion and show what he is made of.