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Lavatsa exit hits Gor, Leopards risk fine

GOR-VS-AFCNAIROBI, Kenya, January 16 – League champions, Gor Mahia, submitted a squad that is a man less for the CAF Champions League following the sudden departure of winger Edwin Lavatsa.

At the same time, bitter rivals AFC Leopards face possible sanctions including hefty fines for missing the Wednesday deadline to present their Confederations Cup team to the continental governing body.

The Green Army camp was left reeling with the unexpected transfer of Lavatsa to Algerian MC Algier in a switch said to have been engineered by Harambee Stars head coach, Adel Amrouche.

K’Ogalo vice chairman, Faiz Magak, said they were forced to work with a man shot after the Stars winger ditched them hours to the deadline.

“We had included Lavatsa in the team and since he informed us of his departure after we had forwarded the names, we can not replace him, so will work with the 26 players,” Faiz told.

Gor, who are training in Nairobi, have included newly acquired players; Ugandan duo Godfrey Walusimbi and Geoffrey Kizito, returning midfielder Rama Salim, past star winger, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo, and former Kakamega Homeboyz youngster Haron Sakava.

Reports from Ingwe’s den say Leopards will submit their Confederation Cup party by this weekend despite the fact they face sanctions for missing the cut-off.

Leopards acting CEO, Richard Ekhalie, told Capital Sport Thursday they are still finalizing the final list.

“We know the deadline was yesterday (Wednesday), but we can still submit after it and pay a fine, but we don’t intend do so.

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“All the newly signed players will be included since they are experienced,” the CEO told of the side that is in the midst of two-weeks intensive training in Mumias, their second home in Western Kenya.

Stars utility defender James Situma, custodian Wycliffe Kasaya, defender Joseph Shikokoti, Ugandan Musa Mudde and 2013 KPL top scorer, Jacob Keli, have joined James Nandwa’s who joined in the close season are in line for Confed Cup action.

Gor host Gabonese outfit, US Bitam, whilst Leopards welcome Ethiopian side, Defence, in the first legs of the preliminary round of the Champions League and Confed Cup.

The matches in Nairobi will be held on the weekend of February 8 and 9, with the return fixtures a fortnight later.

Meanwhile, CAF has appointed Ugandan referees for the Champions league first leg tie.

Denis Batee will be at the centre assisted by compatriots Musa Ngobi as first assistant and Lee Okello second. Alex Nsulumbi is fourth Official, while, Amir Hassan, from Somalia will be the match commissioner.

Rwandan officials led by centre referee, Gervais Munyanziza, first assistant Honarie Simba, second assistant Raymond Bwiliza and fourth official Abdoul Twagiramukiza as well as Ugandan match commissioner, Abbas Ssendyowa, will take charge of the Leopards match.

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