NAIROBI, January 4 – GOtv Shield champions Bandari have shifted their training camp to Nairobi as they began pre-season ahead of their CAF Confederations Cup first-leg preliminary round where they face DRC’s FC Saint Eloi Lupopo away on February 13.
The coast-based side will this season hold some of their training at their alternative Nyayo National Stadium home ground after their preferred Mbaraki Sports Club was closed down for renovations.
Club spokesman Ernest Mbalanya told KPL official website they opted to begin pre-season early in Nairobi to acclimatize with the high altitude as they will host the Congolese side in the return-leg on the weekend of February 27 at the same venue.
“Our home ground will not be able to host the Confederations Cup because the pitch has not been approved by CAF. In fact, it has been shut down temporarily for renovations.
The coach (Twahir Muhiddin) also suggested the team travel to Nairobi where the altitude is higher than Mombasa so that the players won’t struggle much during the continental showdown,” Mbalanya declared.
Bandari bundled out Football Kenya Federation Premier League side, Nakumatt FC 4-2 to make their maiden appearance in the continental scene and Muhiddin outlined they are up to the task.
“I started featuring in CAF competitions in 1989, don’t you think I’m ready?” he posed immediately after the GOtv Shield finals at a rain-lashed Nyayo National Stadium. We have a young good squad and I will be looking to bring on an experienced defender and striker to strengthen the team,” Muhiddin, a former Harambee Stars head coach, underscored.
The Dockers who surprised many by their stellar 2015 season performance that saw them finish fourth in SportPesa Premier League (SPL), have signed defender, Felly Mulumba from Sofapaka and Chemelil Sugar forward, Meshack Karani who both were included in the 20-man provisional squad submitted to CAF.
Mulumba, keeper Wilson Obungu and midfielder Anthony Kimani will be inspirational to the team as they have played against Lupopo when they eliminated the Lubumbashi based side on away goal rule to reach the play-off round in 2011 when they were at Sofapaka.
Bandari will warm-up for the continental assignment with a clash against SPL champions Gor Mahia when the two lock horns February 6 in the DSTVSuper Cup.
Muhiddin’s team will then open their SPL campaign two weeks later when they travel to Nairobi City Stars.
The winner between Bandari and Lupopo will progress to the first round to meet Sudan’s Al-Ahly Shendi.
Bandari Confederation Cup squad:
Islam Omar Islam, Karani Makokha Meshack, Oluoch Alfred Ochieng, Owira John Otieno, Opiyo George Abege, Mudde Musa, Shariff Mohamed, Khamis Tole Seif, Menza Shaban Kenga, Alfred Maningi Opiyo, Wilson Oduor Obungu, Juma Masud Choka, Abdullatif Omar Said, Anthony Kimani Njenga, Joseph Okoth Ochuka, Atsali Humphrey Okoti, Felly Mulumba Tshiyoyo, King’atua David, Almasi Farid Juma Mohamed, Victor Reuben Ndinya