Gor Mahia’s yesteryear great Peter Dawo has urged the team not to press the panic button in the face of the anticipated tough Africa Champions League encounter against Tunisian giants Esperance in Tunis Sunday.
Dawo, who almost single-handedly steered Gor to the Africa Cup Winners title in 1987 when they blitzed Esperance in the final did not mince words, saying that the work is cut out for K’Ogalo in the Tunisian capital following the uninspiring goalless draw in the first leg in Machakos.
“A goalless draw at home is not good, going into the return match away. I watched the match in Machakos and was disappointed with the number of scoring chances Gor squandered. Had they converted them it would be a different story altogether going into the reverse fixture,” said Dawo.
Dubbed as the man with the magic head during his hey day-he scored eight goals through headers and one with his foot-Dawo also expressed concern with the absence of injured defence kingpin Karim Nizigiyimana.
“You see, Nizigiyimana is a roving defender who can sometimes score goals and I bet he could have made a difference in both legs. Gor needs such quality to prevail over strong teams like Esperance,” he said. However, Dawo advised Gor to take this weekend’s match with a positive mid-set, adding that the current players are capable of helping the team to defy the odds in Tunis.
“We need to appreciate the route Gor has taken and especially the quality that appreciate the quality that is thriving in the squad. Esperance like any other club have their own weaknesses and this is what Gor should take advantage of,” In the meantime, Gor skipper Haroun Shakava has said they are determined to leave no stone unturned in the decider in Tunis.
“We would have won the first leg but these guys (Esperance) were a tad too much in time wasting. We don’t care whether they will be at home and our target is to beat them before their own faithful,” said Shakava before Gor departed for Tunis.
Shakava who was a handful to Esperance in the first leg is expected to partner Joachim Oluoch, Godftrey Walusimbi, Joash Onyango and Ernest Wendo in foiling Esperance attacks. Gor coach Dylan Kerr is likely to deploy Philemon Otieno to lead the midfield with Jacques Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere running errands in attack.
His Esperance counterpart Khaled Ben Yahya is expected to give starting roles to players like Youcef Betaili, Mohammed Ali Monsen, Saad Beguir and Taha Yassine Knenissi.