Gor Mahia will be 90 minutes away from pocketing a cool Sh 35 million when they face Rayon Sport of Rwanda in their second-last Africa Confederation Cup group D stage return match at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani on Sunday.
The Kenyan emissaries stand on the threshold of greatness knowing that an outright win over Rayon, which is colloquially known as Gikundiro, will enable them reach the quarter finals to guarantee them the ultimate prize.
Gor have even more reasons to look beyond the impending stage given that the tournament now has rich pickings with Confederation of African Football (CAF) dangling a Sh 66 Million carrot for the winners.
Two weeks ago, Gor fashioned a 4-0 victory over Young Africans (Yanga) of Tanzania in the first leg clash in Nairobi to set the tone of an equally polished display in the reverse fixture in the sweltering heat of Dar-es-Salaam which they won 3-2.
For Gor, easing closer to the fairy-tale quarter final slot to replenish their coffers is not too much to ask especially given the team’s alluring form which has seen them win two SportPesa Premier League ISPL) on a trot against Kakamega Homeboyz (3-1) and Chemelil Sugar (1-0).
To pundits, however, that seems easier said than done considering that Gor are meeting a Rayon side that has been pretty hard to beat with two of the last meetings ending in draws.
After holding Gor to a 1-1 draw in the first CAF Champions League clash at the imposing Nyamirambo Stadium in Kigali, the never-say-die Gikundiro proved obdurate to Gor in the Cecafa/Kagame Cup in Dat-es-Salaam last month when came from two goals down to force the Kenyan champions to a 2-2 draw.
That tells you the enormity of the decisive match and although cautious, Gor coach Dylan Kerr has rallied the team in underlining the significance of achieving its goals.
“I cannot say with certainty that we are going to win the match. The idea here is to play our usual game and the rest shall fall in place. Obviously we envisage a tough match but we have to take advantage of playing at home,” said Kerr.
Gor have been dealt a blow with Jacques Tuyisenge, who would have relished facing his fellow countrymen once more, injured although Kerr has equally reliable players upfront like Ephraim Guikan, George “Blackberry Odhiambo and even enterprising new find Eliud Lokuwam. Rayon coach Ivan Minnaert, himself a former AFC Leopards coach, will be leading his troops who will be angling at defying odds of playing in a different operating environment and more so hostile at that.
Among the players to watch in Rayon include Ismal Diarra, Yassin Mugume and Oliver Niyonzima. Charges for the match are Sh 500 (Terraces) and Sh 200 (Other areas).