NAIROBI, Kenya, March 7 – Gor Mahia captain Fredrick Onyango, says the team will not be affected by his absence since the two reserve custodians, Joel Bataro and David Juma, are equal to the task for Sunday’s CAF Champions League first round return leg against Esperance Sportive de Tunis.
The skipper who was influential in their preliminary round after rescuing four spot –kicks against Gabonese side US Bitam (two in regulation time and the same in shoot outs), was sidelined after picking a shoulder injury two weeks ago when they played Mathare United in Machakos County.
“The team is capable of beating Esperance since nothing is impossible, if we scored two goals against them in the first leg, we can go ahead and register positive results.
“They will physiologically be affected by my absence since I’m their leader but I gave them morale and told them everything is possible.The return of David Owino, will boost the defence and I think the team is good to go,” Onyango told Capital Sport on Friday.
Juma, the former Western Stima keeper is expected to hold brief for Onyango who was at fault for Esperance’s second goal in their 3-2 home reverse last weekend.
The second batch of Gor players and Officials have already linked up with the rest in Tunis to prepare for their return leg.
“The second batch that was led by chairman Ambrose Rachier, has already arrived in Tunis after transiting Doha and Qatar. Everything was taken care off and I’m sure they will perform well before coming back on Monday,” club’s Secretary General Chris Omondi, confirmed.
Coach Bobby Williamson, earlier on said his charges were not prepared for the tie since six of them were on international duty with national football teams.
Ugandans Dan Sserunkuma, left back Godfrey Walusimbi and midfielder Geoffrey Kizito connected on Thursday to Tunis to link up with the squad after losing 2-1 to former African champions Zambia in their Wednesday’s FIFA international friendly.
Owino who missed the first leg in Nairobi following suspension after picking a red card in their preliminary round against US Bitam, makes a comeback to the team and traveled alongside defender Musa Mohamed, midfielder Anthony Akumu and Timona Wanyonyi, who were left behind since they were in the Harambee Stars squad for the aborted friendly against Sudan.
With Williamson having only Saturday to assemble his full team before the match, he will have to tighten all the lose ends and ensure his forwards led by goal poacher Sserunkuma, strikes two goals and keep a clean sheet to over turn the first leg defeat where they lost 2-3 to progress to the second round.
The two-time champions on the other hand, will miss the services of Cameroonian striker Yannick Ndjeng.
According to their club official website, the forward picked an injury during the team’s Thursday training session and will be out for one month.
Ndjeng was on target in the first leg scoring the visitors’ second goal.