NAIROBI, Kenya, July 27- Gor Mahia head coach Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ has hinted he will field a different team when his side takes on National Super League side Nairobi Stima in the second round of the GOtv Shield at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.
The Brazilian will hope to give playing time to players who have found it hard cracking the first team.
“We have a big group and everyday in training, they work very hard. It will only be fair to give them this chance because they don’t normally get it in the league. It will also help us build on our depth as a team,” Ze Maria told Capital Sport.
Among the players likely to be called in for the Cup match is midfielder Crispin Odula, who finally got his work permit on Wednesday.
Defender Bernard Odhiambo might also be called in after recovering from a calf injury while winger Ronald Omino is a doubt.
Among the players in line to be handed a rest include goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch, right-back Karim Nizigiyimana and captain Musa Mohammed who have played the most matches for Gor so far this season.
Gor, the 10-time winners of the domestic cup last won the title in 2012 and will hope to do better this year with Ze Maria demanding his boys to give their best to beat Stima who are placed 10th on the National Super League standings.
Defending champions Bandari will face Nakumatt FC on Friday evening in a repeat of last year’s final and the Coastal based side believes their form in the league will not have an effect on them.
The Dockers have won only one of their last five matches and currently stand 11th on the league.
“One of our objectives when the season started was defending our GOtv title and that is what is pushing us. We know it is a tough match because Nakumatt might come with a revenge mentality. We need to be focused and give our best,” Bandari skipper Wilson Obungu noted.
-AFC wants the Cup back-
Meanwhile, arch rivals AFC Leopards, winners of the tournament in 2013 have vowed to give their all in the tournament as they aim to get back to continental football next season.
They will be facing Kakamega Homeboyz in a tough duel at the Mumias Sports Complex, preceded by a mouth watering clash between second tier sides Wazito FC and Bidco United.
“This is not an easy match and for us, this is an opportunity to play in CAF matches next year. We should be able to give our best for this match and progress to the next round,” head coach Ivan Minnaert said.
The availability of defender Jackson Saleh and striker Mungai Kiongera is uncertain with Saleh having landed awkwardly on his knee last weekend while Kiongera is only returning from an ankle injury.
In Kisumu, Muhoroni Youth will host Ulinzi Stars, a side they eliminated from the KPL Top 8 last month. Ulinzi will be playing Muhoroni for the first time in a span of three days as they will face them on Wednesday next week in a league clash.
Ulinzi picked up a morale boosting 3-2 win over Ushuru last weekend after losing their first three matches of the second-leg. Head coach Robert Matano will be hoping his side put in their best as he aims to give a shot for the Shield which has eluded them since the team was formed.
GOtv Shield Round of 32 fixtures:
Friday: Kariobangi Sharks v Palos FC, Nakumatt FC v Bandari ( Kasarani Stadium).
Saturday: Zetech University v Butterfly FC, Tusker FC v Uprising Youth (Ruaraka Complex), Chemelil Sugar v City Stars (Chemelil Complex), Modern Coast FC v Tiki FC (Mbaraki Complex), Agro Chemical v Vihiga United, Muhoroni Youth v Ulinzi Stars (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Gor Mahia v Nairobi Stima (Nyayo Stadium).
Sunday: Thika United v MOSCA (Ruaraka), Nzoia United v Vihiga All Stars (Sudi), Wazito FC v Bidco United, Kakamega Homeboyz v AFC Leopards (Mumias Complex), GFE 105 v KCB FC (Kip Keino Stadium Eldoret), Western Stima v Fresha (Moi Stadium Kisumu).