NAIROBI, August 11- Gor Mahia’s chances of progression into the quarterfinals of the Cecafa Club Championships hang by a thread after they went down 1-0 to Burundi’s Atletico Olympic at Nyamirambo Stadium in Rwanda on Monday for their second successive group stage defeat.
Alexis Hakizimana scored the all important goal in the 73rd minute to leave Kenyan league champions K’Ogalo with the mammoth task of winning their remaining two Group B fixtures against hosts APR and Djibouti’s Telcom provided other results go their way.
“We had enough chances to win the game but we never utilized them. I’m disappointed on my guys who reacted negatively after conceding the goal.
“Players need to motivate and believe in themselves. If they don’t then it’s going to be a struggle to proceed to the quarters, but the team is in transition since it’s new with only four who won the league last season,” a disappointed Gor head coach, Bobby Williamson said after the match.
His opposite number Cedrick Kaze was confident his charges will win their remaining fixtures and book a berth in the quarters.
“We have improved from our first game since we defended and attacked at the same time, Gor were a better side in the first-half where they got chances but never utilized. I’m happy with my boys who made good use of the few chances they created and with that I have confidence we will win our remaining matches,” he added.
Williamson made four changes from the squad that lost 2-1 to KCCA with Kennedy Opiyo replacing defender Godfrey Walusimbi who was sidelined due to illness as Bruno Charles benched Musa Mohammed at right back.
Joseph Kariuki and Simon Mburu were also drafted in place of Eric Ochieng and George ‘Black Berry’ Odhiambo.
K’Ogalo once again had the better of the first-half but Atletico custodian Kandolo Akimana stood tall between the sticks.
Gor almost caught Atletico cold 10 minutes into the match Timothy Otieno attempted to lob the ball over Akimana who had strayed off the line only for the custodian to claw away the effort.
Kariku then hammered the rebound from range into the crossbar.
Dan Sserunkuma missed an open chance in the 29th when Otieno made a good run from the right to find the Uganda Cranes forward who beat his defender only to see Akimana thwart him twice from point blank range.
Sserunkuma wasted another opportunity that could have seen him net his second goal of the tournament three minutes to the breather when he went for glory but once again the Atletico keeper repelled him for a fruitless corner as Otieno, who was unmarked for the tap in, watched on in dismay.
After the break, Geoffrey Kizito’s long range cracker was forced out by the busy Akimana before Sserunkuma shot directly to him as another gilt edged chance went begging as Williamson brought on Odhiambo for Kariuki.
Against the run of play, Hakizimana delivered the sucker punch after K’Ogalo lost the ball in midfield for the Burundian to place the ball into the far post beyond Harambee Stars keeper Jerim Onyango’s reach.
The Scotsman immediately did a double substitution bringing in Mohammed for Bruno before Simon Mburu paved way for Ugandan Arthur Ssemazi but they could not force the equaliser.
Atletico now join Telcom, APR and KCCA on three points apiece in Group B.
In the early kick-off, former AFC Leopards forward Allan Wanga was on target as Sudanese champions El-Mereikh thrashed Somalia’s Banadir 4-0 to rekindle their hopes of sailing to the quarters.