Nine years ago, Gor Mahia who were Kenya’s representatives in the Confederation Cup suffered an ignominious 6-0 loss on aggregate to Rwanda Patriotic Army (APR) in the Confederation Cup which sent tongues wagging amongst their faithful.
This is a spell Gor would wish to cast away and although they have never met the Rwandese army side since then to settle scores, the Kenyan champions would only be too eager to vent their anger on another Rwandese outfit Rayon Sport in the first match of the 2018 CAF Cup group stage in Kigali on Sunday.
En-route to the group stage which also incorporates Young Africans (Yanga) of Tanzania and USM Algers of Algeria, Gor eliminated Supersport of South Africa on the away goals rule.
Gor had beaten SuperSport 1-0 in the first leg held at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos and despite losing 2-1 in the return duel in Pretoria, Francis Kahata’s strike was enough for the Kenyan champions to advance on the strength of the Fifa rule on away goals.
Matches between Kenyan clubs and their Rwandese counterparts have always been explosive and Sunday’s action is not expected to be an exception.
Another interesting bit is that Gor’s Rwandan duo Meddie Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge will be out to put love for their fellow countrymen aside to lead K’ogalo to a perfect start in the group phase where each of the participating teams will rake in Sh 27 million.
During their Mashemeji Derby against AFC Leopards last Monday which Gor won 5-4 to book a date with English side Hull City in a friendly on May 13, the Green Army showed an insatiable hunger for success to the appreciation of their fans.
Gor played with a sense of purpose and Coach Dylan Kerr will be hoping that the team will replicate the same outside Kenyan borders and especially now that defender Godfrey Walusimbi, who snubbed the Supersport game over unpaid sign-on fee, is back for continental duties.
“The victory proved that I’m one of the best coaches locally. We now focus on the Rayon game and hopefully, we should make a dream start and then see what happens in the remaining fixtures,” said Kerr.
However, Gor are up against a Rayon side that is one of the most dreaded teams in East Africa and which is a marvel to watch with their beautiful, passing game.
Coached by ex-AFC Leopards trainer Ivan Minnaert, Rayon boasts of polished players like Burundian play-maker Pierrot Kwizera, Thierry Manzi, Shassir Nahimana, and Eric Rutanga.