James Magayi @magayijim
Kenyan champions Gor Mahia may be in pole position after two inspiring feats in the CAF Confederation Cup pool but the tricky permutations render K’Ogalo’s qualifying chances precarious.
Gor won their second game to hit six points, two clear of a chasing pack comprising Petro Atletico of Angola and NA Hussein Dey of Algeria with all the teams having played three games each. A once mighty Zamalek of Egypt is languishing at the bottom of the group with a paltry two points secured at home.
Competition rules stipulate that in the event of a tie on points between two or more teams, head to head meetings take precedence.
Whilst Gor are basking on the group summit, the two teams tied on four points are digging in for the home run having accomplished what has eluded K’Ogalo so far – getting a result away from home. NA Hussein Dey secured a draw away to Zamalek and Petro Atletico came to within two minutes of victory in Egypt but settled for one point after Zamalek scored in added time to snatch a draw.
Both Petro Atletico and NA Hussein Dey have two home games left while Gor have one game at home and two on the road. With the group members winning all their home matches with the exception of Zamalek, the points picked in Alexandria could come in handy for Petro Atletico and Hussein Dey.
Gor must therefore grind results on the road and emerge better on head to head meeting with each group member.
Coach Hassan Oktay hinted at a different approach when K’Ogalo travel to Algeria next Sunday for their return leg with Hussein Dey.
“I know we need to get points home and away for us to progress. Our style has been to dominate the game and dictate the pace. Unfortunately, it didn’t work well in our last game in Angola and we’ll play differently in the next game,” said the Turkish tactician who is experiencing African football for the first time.
Oktay also hinted at incorporating sulking striker Dennis Oliech back in the team for the Algerian trip.
“I have 30 players in my team and each of them has a role to play. They are all in my plans and if you did not see one or two in the team today they will be there for the next one,” he said.