Gor Mahia hope to assuage their hurting fans by trouncing Young Africans (Yanga) of Tanzania when they meet in a CAF Confederation Cup Group D tie at Kasarani Stadium tonight.
Tension has built up at the club in the past few days following a player revolt that saw the team boycott Cecafa medal ceremony last Friday and threatened not to show up for the Yanga assignment. Club chairman Ambrose Rachier, however, ended the standoff in a late Monday meeting with the players.
The team trained at Kasarani yesterday without some key players like George “Blackberry” Odhiambo, whose whereabouts is unknown, while Joash Onyango (suspended) and Ernest Wendo (injured) also missed out.
Club captain Harun Shakava apologised for their conduct in Dar es Salaam and promised to make up to the fans by giving their best tonight. “What happened was unfortunate and we apologise as the playing unit. The team felt they needed extra motivation owing to the numerous fixtures we are engaged in and reacted when we were informed otherwise,” Shakava said while declaring that the club had met all its contractual obligations to the players.
“We just needed something extra since life is difficult. It was not an issue of contracts.
We just wanted motivation because we have given our all and are still unbeaten,” he added.
Tension was borne out of the fact that the team face consecutive high profile matches, against Yanga tonight then AFC Leopards on Sunday.
Having dominated the local scene, Gor fans crave success on the continent therefore highly regard the Yanga tie and also want to keep their bragging rights over bitter rivals Leopards.
K’Ogalo lie second in the CAF Confederation Cup Group D with two points from two matches and victory over Yanga would take them towards the competition’s quarter-finals and the truce between players and management could not have come at a better time.
Yanga are equally afflicted internally as two first team players refused to come to Nairobi owing to contractual disputes with the club while three new signings also stayed away due to late registration and disputes over impending signing fees.
Gor Mahia tactician Dylan Kerr rallied his players to show their strong characters and keep their progress in the Confederation Cup alive. “As a coach, you are either built or killed by the players. The moment they cross the white line what they do determines your fate and my players have played so well over the past year and we have prepared well for this game,” said Kerr.