Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will both be seeking to cast away the meltdown of early exits in Africa inter-clubs football when they launch their campaigns in their respective assignments at home this weekend.
Gor will be praying to their Gods to give them the magic bullet to gun down Equatorial Guinea side Leones Vegetarinos in the Africa Champions League preliminary round, first leg clash at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos Saturday.
On the other hand, Leopards will be hoping to claw FOSA Juniors of Madagascar in the CAF Cup preliminary first leg encounter at Kakamega’s Bukhungu Stadium Sunday. For a lengthy time, Kenyan clubs who have had the opportunity of attacking Africa have found themselves outmaneuvered by their opponents early in the competition.
Gor have their sad story to tell, having succumbed to CNaPs (Madagascar), Rwanda Patriotic Army, Ferroviario Beira (Mozambique and Esperance Tunis (Tunisia). Gor’s worst beating came in form of Esperance three years ago when the latter eliminated the Kenyan representatives 8-2 on aggregate in the Africa Champions League.
The last time Leopards carried Kenya’s banner in such forums, they succumbed to South Africa’s Supersport United and Coach Robert Matano’s charges have no choice but come armed to the teeth lest the disturbing history repeats itself.
But Gor deputy secretary Ronald Ngala is adamant that such ill-fortunes will not be repeated by his team especially given the quality signings they made made. “We have a strong squad capable of challenging the best in Africa.
Gor proved they are ready for the continental showpiece when they beat Nakumatt 4-0 and if they can score as many goals as they did, then the work will be quite easy in the return match in Malabo” said Ngala.
Vegetarinos are an unknown quantity but Gor coach Dylan Kerr, speaking during K’ogalo’s training session in Jericho on Wednesday, told the visitors to expect life quite difficult on the pitch.
“I actually don’t know much about them (Vegetarinos) but they should understand that we shall be seeking for a big victory to make our work easier to proceed to the next stage,” said Kerr. As Gor go hunting, all eyes will be on players such as Meddie Kagere, George “Blackberry” Odhiambo, Humphrey Mieno and Ivorian Ephraim Guikhan. -CHARLES THUKU