NAIROBI, Kenya, February 16- They turned up at Nyayo National Stadium with zeal to rouse their side but in the end, the Green Army trooped back to their barracks a deflated after Seychellois side Anse Re-Union forced Gor Mahia to a tepid 0-0 draw in a CAF Confederation Cup preliminary clash.
On the other end of the spectrum, league champions Tusker enjoyed CAF Champions League sunshine in Seychelles, blanking St. Michel 4-1 after coming from a goal down to keep them perfectly poised to welcome seven-time competition winners, Al Ahly in the first round of the lucrative continental showpiece.
All is not lost on Zdravko Logarusic’s side since there is still the second away leg in their preliminary round Confederations Cup to come but there is no denying the visitors were thrilled with their Saturday afternoon’s work that left the vociferous Gor support muted as they returned home.
But the tough talking Croat knew exactly where to lay the blame after his team ambled around the stadium in a daze- his players- claiming that they failed to heed his instructions in their first competitive match of the season.
“We played a very disjointed game and failed to capitalise on easy chances as the players were very uneasy at goal and my strikers failed to calm down.”
“I acknowledge the expectations were too much with many fans coming to the stadium with already set minds that we would win by a big margin,” Logarusic told SuperSport.com falling just short of sending his players to the court martial.
And he was not done: “I am personally affected with the loss but we did not prepare well only managing to play a few games before this day. We have to go back to the drawing board and make amends before the second leg away which will be very difficult.”
The 1987 CAF Cup Winners Cup winners, the only Kenyan side to taste continental success, left themselves with a mountain to climb in two weeks although on the bright side, any goal they score will compel the Islanders to net twice.
At stake, is a first round clash with Egyptian giants ENNPI, the kind of matches Gor feel entitled to feature in owing to their rich history.
In contrast, the league champions had little fuss dismissing their opponents with a brace from David Ochieng and a goal each from substitutes Michael Olunga and Andrew Sekayombya lifting the Brewers to a commanding first leg win.
Ochieng cancelled an early goal from the hosts with an equalizer on 32 minutes for a 1-1 halftime score.
Olunga made it 2-1 on 67 minutes before Ugandan import Sekayombya scored his debut goal 12 minutes from time to extend the advantage for Robert Matano’s side who are returning to the elite competition after a first round exit last year to Rwanda’s APR.
Ochieng completed his brace on 85 minutes to complete a Tusker rout.
Matano who remained coy about his team’s chances before departure is hoping to make an impact in the competition he was bundled out in the first round when in charge of 2009 domestic league winners, Sofapaka in an outcome that hastened his exit from the club.
The return leg will be played in Nairobi in two weeks’ time with the winner of the tie set to face titleholders Al Ahly in the next round.