The day for reckoning has come for Kenyan teams participating in the CAF Club championships. League champions Gor Mahia and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Shield winners AFC Leopards are under immense pressure to exorcise a long-running curse perennially bedeviling Kenyan teams on the continental front as both clubs vie for first round berths away from home.
AFC Leopards’ Confederations Cup return leg tie with FOSA Juniors of Madagascar kicks off at 2.30pm while Gor Mahia’s Champions league clash against Leones Vegetarianos of Equatorial Guinea is slated for 7pm in Malabo.
Leopards must win or record a high scoring draw against the organized Malagasy outfit for a chance to progress to the next level of the competition, after playing to a one-all draw at home 10 days ago. Coach Robert Matano believes their opponents are beatable and Ingwe will throw all they have at their opponents. “We have to fight and that means we have to win.
That is the only way for us to qualify for the next level,”Matano said. He added: “The game is tricky for us because we must score and avoid conceding, while our opponents could pack their backline to shut us out and look for a barren draw which favours them. That means we must be very prepared for whatever tactics they employ and play smart.
“All in all, it’s a game we can win and that is what we are going to try and do.” Gor Mahia on the other hand completely dominated their opponents, Leones Vegetarianos, in the first leg, winning 2-0 at home.
Their task is relatively “easier” than Ingwe’s as they only need to protect the two-goal cushion to make the next round. However, playing at home emboldens even the weakest of teams and K’Ogalo are all too aware that Vegetarianos can aim for the jugular in Malabo.
Coach Dylan Kerr prepared for the match by resting most of his first team players in last Thursday’s comprehensive league victory over Zoo Kericho. The Briton is keen to reach the group stage of CAF Champions League but refused to divulge preferred tactics for the return trip in Malabo.
“The ultimate aim is to go as far as we possibly can in this competition with a minimum target of group stage. We could have had a better standing in this contest but failed to make the most of our chances at home,”Kerr said.