The Kenyan side has always struggled at home against opponents from Egypt and this will be another test for the Hassan Oktay led side. The last time the two faced each other was in 1998 in the same competition but in the first round.
K’Ogalo went on to win the game by a solitary goal in the first leg, but lost by four goals in the second leg to bow out 4-1 on aggregate. The recent Egyptian side the Kenyan champions have faced is ENPPI about four years ago.
At home they just managed a barren draw, after going down by three goals in the first leg. But things have changed, and the current side is capable of getting a win at home. They have gained the much needed experience in the continent and can definitely do better this time round.
While Zamalek boast of far superior claim continentally, K’Ogalo are appearing at the group stages for the second time in a row. The Egyptian side has won the Caf Champions League five times, as well as the African Cup Winners Cup, once. The team has also won the Caf Super Cup three times.
Last season, Gor Mahia lost just once in the three matches played at home; they recorded one win, a draw and defeat.
But what should Gor Mahia do to ensure they get a win in Group D?
Deny the visitors the ball
On a good day, Gor Mahia can have about seventy percent possession and score vital goals to help them win. They had a good game against Esperance, USM Algers and Yanga in the same stage last season. However, Zamalek has a different approach, they tend to use the wings more. The only thing Gor Mahia can do is to cut the supply to the wings, how? By ensuring the midfielders do not get the balls. Once that happens, the hosts will have a better chance of stopping the visitors from getting something from this match.
Avoid conceding early
Allowing the opponents to score in the first fifteen minutes is inviting pressure to your team. There are teams that cannot be allowed to score and Zamalek is one of them. Chasing a game can lead to many mistakes and a risk of conceding the second goal. Gor Mahia can avoid all this by ensuring that they do not let the visitors hit the back of the net. It is better for a match to end in a barren draw than allowing the opponents leave with maximum points.
Use the home ground advantage
Gor Mahia has been doing well at home against opponents from abroad and this will just be another match for them. They have what it takes to get maximum points. Kasarani, of late, has been a fortress for the Kenyan champions. They have recorded vital wins on that pitch. To do better in the continental games, one has to ensure he takes full advantage of the home matches. Winning in front of your fans is always sweet and instills confidence on the players.