Lethargic Kenyan champions Gor Mahia left a lot to be desired in their laboured 1-0 CAF Champions League win over Nyasa Big Bullets of Malawi on Wednesday night at Kasarani.
Their display was a far cry from the swashbuckling K’Ogalo side that overwhelmed opponents at will last season, raising questions if they had a poor pre-season preparation or the players are still fatigued from the congested fixtures of last season. Gor looked casual in the tie as their lively visitors easily thwarted their feeble attacks but acting coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno pointed out the timing of the fixture as a major factor of the lackluster show.
“It is the first game of the season and even though it may not have been the most beautiful game, the team is good and will improve as time goes by,” said the club legend who captained Gor to a league victory in 1995.
But time is something Zico does not have as he needs his team in cruising speed lest they get dumped out of continental club football. K’Ogalo face Kariobangi Sharks in SPL Super Cup this weekend before flying to Malawi for the return leg.
Injury prone lead striker Jacques Tuyisenge limped out of the game after collision with opposition defender and was replaced by Samuel Onyango. Instead of sympathy, Tuyisenge who has always divide opinion at K’Ogalo was met with indifference as he took his place on the bench barely 15 minutes into the game.
New signing Erisa Ssekisambu was underwhelming and barely threatened the visitors. He slipped numerous times on the meticulously manicured Kasarani lawns leaving fans frustrated. “He’s been here for less that a month but he is a quality player. He’ll get into the grove when he settles,” Zico said in his defence.
Offensive midfielder Kenneth Muguna also failed to make impact and finally walked off the pitch injured in the second half to be replaced by eventual match winner Bernard Ondiek. Gor Mahia lacked speed on transition and must work on their reflexes. For a team bubbling with attacking talent to struggle in the final third as they did can be catastrophic.