NAIROBI, February 28 – GOtv Shield champions Bandari were knocked out of the CAF Confederations Cup after visiting side DR Congo’s St. Eloi Lupopo held them to a 1-1 draw in the preliminary round return leg at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Bandari, who were competing in the continental tournament for the first time, found the going tough to surrender 3-1 on aggregate following their 2-0 first-leg defeat away to the Congolese side.
The Dockers’ elimination means there will be no Kenyan representative in the CAF assignments after SportPesa Premier League champions Gor Mahia were bundled out in the Champions League preliminary round by Madagascan side CNaPS.
Playing in front of their home fans, Bandari went down in the 21st minute after Makambo Maolongi netted the important away goal to pile more pressure on Twahir Muhiddin’s charges.
Edwin Lavatsa drew level on stoppage time after converting from the spot but the damage had already been done to see Lupopo advance to the first round.
It was a game that Bandari who had experience in keeper Wilson Obungu, defender Felly Mulumba and midfielder Anthony Kimani could have overturned but they ended up making schoolboy mistakes that later came to haunt them.
Bandari came off the blocks first but they could not get an early goal with George Abege and Shaban Kenga wasting chances from close range.
Lupopo came close at the quarter hour mark but Obungu managed to parry away a free-kick from Pambani Makiadi.
The hosts had a clear-cut chance two minutes later from the set piece, but Kimani saw his effort come off the wall.
On the other end, Maolingi broke the deadlock after the winger raced onto the ball at the far right to beat Obungu and leave Bandari needing three goals to level the aggregate score.
The Dockers mounted pressure with Abege having a shot go over at the edge of the box while Kenga’s cross from the right rolled across the face of goal with no one to tap home.
On the half hour mark, Mulumba almost equalised from Bernard Mang’oli’s free-kick but keeper Tibolia Kilebela managed to thwart the effort for a corner.
Lupopo nearly punished Bandari on the counter attack in the 41st minute with Keta Ilunga running from the right past two defenders, but his eventual shot hit side netting.
Bandari stepped up the pace on the restart but they created limited chances that saw Kimani’s 66th minute effort lack power after Mulumba had set him up.
Muhiddin strengthened his attacking force bringing on Danny Sserunkuma for Abege and in the 70th minute, the Ugandan exchanged passes with Kimani but he was bullied off the ball allowing keeper Kilebela to pick up the ball.
Bandari ensured they broke Lupopo’s clean sheet with Lavatsa scoring a penalty in the third minute of added time after Poso Mayenge had hacked him down inside the box.
Bandari now shift their focus to the Premier League, with a fixture against AFC Leopards on the cards Wednesday, in Nairobi.