After a self-inflicted 2-0 home loss a week before, Gor Mahia succumbed to a 5-1 rout in Berkane to tragically exit a competition they have looked capable of winning for two straight seasons.
A cocktail of errors and mishaps by the Kenyan club robbed Africa what ought to have been a wonderful sporting spectacle and replaced it with a painful procession in which the Moroccan club gleefully trod to the semi-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup as a once mighty Gor helplessly and shamefully embraced their fate.
All Gor players who started the game in Morocco arrived in Berkane exactly two hours to kick-off. They had just completed a 618km road trip from Casablanca, bringing to an end a journey that started three days earlier.
Eight players who had arrived 15 hours prior to the game continued to rest on the bench as the first team stars took to the pitch, tired from the journey nonetheless.
They started well, matching Berkane stride for stride only to concede a freakish goal in the 22nd minute from Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba. A harmless looking cross from the left somehow evaded skipper Haron Shakava at the near post. The striker was surprised by the ball and a resultant clumsy touch squirmed past Fredrick Odhiambo for Berkane opener.
Lawrence Juma levelled almost immediately after sloppy defending, but Berkane took control to lead 3-1 at half-time thanks to goals from captain Mohammed Aziz and Badr el Helali.
Burkina Faso defender Issoufou Dayo notched the fourth goal and the romp was completed four minutes from time when unmarked substitute Youssef Essaiydy poked the ball into the net.
The dramatic capitulation of Gor mirrors last season’s when they needed a draw from the last two group matches to reach the quarter-final but ended up with twin losses.
K’Ogalo return home to concentrate on lifting their 18th league title but with a divided house, questions are still lingering about their real potential.