James Magayi @magayijim
“They have come to our home and they will leave with nothing.” Those were the sentiments of Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr ahead of tonight’s historic Group D duel against USM Alger of Algeria in the CAF Confederation Cup at Kasarani Stadium.
On-form Gor host their first continental club championship group stage since 1989 as they bid to outdo USM Alger, Young Africans of Tanzania and Rwanda’s Rayon Sports to reach quarter-finals.
K’Ogalo are second in Group D with one point courtesy of a draw earned against Rayon Sports in Kigali 10 days ago while the Algerian club leads with three points having hammered Yanga 4-0.
Carthage clubs have often tormented Kenyan teams at continental level but a confident Gor is threatening to exorcise those ghosts with victory tonight.
Kerr further declared that Gor’s continental campaign begins anew and the Briton wants his charges to move top of the table and secure progress into quarter-finals before they play the final group tie against USM Algers later in the year.
“Victory will take us on top and I’ve told my players to ensure we head to Algiers for the last group game not needing any point. It will be very difficult to get a point out there so we must collect the ones at home and ensure we are not under pressure to qualify on the final day of group stage,” said tactician.
Tonight’s line-up will feature the squad that started against Hull City last Sunday with Ivorian striker Ephrem Guikan partnering Jacques Tuyisenge upfront as Meddie Kagere serves a one-match ban for accumulated yellow cards.
“I wanted Ephrem and Jacques to get used to playing together hence the selection for Sunday and he’s a goal scorer so I expect him to give his best. It has been difficult for him adapting to the Kenyan game having come here four months ago but he is good and will deliver,” added Kerr.
His USM Alger counterpart Miloud Hamdi promised an attacking game despite his top two strikers missing due to injury and suspension. “We have a lot of respect for Gor Mahia but we have come here for victory and we shall attack from onset,” he added.
K’Ogalo skipper Haron Shakava downplayed fatigue fears in the wake of fixture congestions and urged fans to turn up in large numbers to cheer the team.