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Caf Champions League: USM Alger feared traffic, it was not our fault – Gor Mahia

07:24 BST 28/09/2019
Gor Mahia defender Joash Onyango v USM Alger away.
The Kenyan champions have denied reports they have neglected their visitors from Algeria ahead of Sunday’s decisive match

Gor Mahia have denied claims they are to blame after visiting USM Alger missed a training session on Friday.

The Algerian champions, who are in Kenya to face K’Ogalo in the return leg of the Caf Champions League on Sunday, did not reach their training venue after they accused their hosts of failing to provide a bus for transport as required by Confederation of African Football (Caf).

USM Alger then opted to hold a light training session outside their hotel and promised to report Gor Mahia to Caf over the incident.

But in a swift rejoinder, the Kenyan champions have refuted the allegations and have blamed the visiting side for cancelling the bus trip due to traffic.

“Our attention has been drawn to a malicious statement by our dear guests USM Alger - falsely claiming we have acted unprofessionally by failing to avail them a transport means in time to aid them to attend a training session last evening [Friday],” Gor Mahia stated in a statement obtained by Goal.

“We would like to categorically state nothing could be further from the truth; since their arrival in the country, we (K'Ogalo) have treated them with utmost brotherly love in the true spirit of our African culture and sportsmanship - we picked them at the airport at 3.25am on Friday and ensured they were well settled in their hotel.

“The team requested us to provide them with a bus at 4.00 pm so they could proceed to Utalii Grounds for a light training session which we duly availed on time, however, after surveying the traffic situation on the ever-busy Thika Super Highway, they [USM Alger] decided to cancel the plans, the decision was purely theirs not ours.

“[USM Alger] feared getting stuck in the traffic jam as it happened to them when they last visited the country in 2018. Gor Mahia will never engage themselves in any unprofessional behaviour towards any guest.”

On Friday, a top official from USM Alger who did not want to be named told Goal they will raise the issue with Caf officials who are already in Kenya on Saturday.

“It was very unfortunate [Gor Mahia] could not give us a team bus as stipulated in Caf rules,” the official told Goal.

“We did not leave our hotel, so our training was conducted inside the hotel. We were scheduled to train at 1700hrs but it was not the case. We treated Gor Mahia very well when they visited us for the first leg in Algeria and we were expecting the same treatment from them.

“It is a very wrong attitude from a professional team like Gor Mahia knowing in Algeria we gave them everything they asked for. The management will follow up the matter with Caf officials on Saturday.”

Gor Mahia will be seeking to overturn a 4-1 defeat suffered in the first leg played in Bilda a fortnight ago.