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Kerr loves underdog tag ahead of Esperance tie

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Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr giving out instructions to his players during their Kenyan Premier League clash against Bandari on March 3, 2018. Photo/RAYMOND MAKAHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5- Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr says his side is motivated by the ‘underdog tag’ ahead of Wednesday’s CAF Champions League showdown against Tunisian giants Esperance in Machakos.

The last meeting between these two sides ended in an 8-2 drubbing with the two-time African champs leaving Nairobi with a 3-2 result and topping up the cake with a healthy 5-0 win in the return tie in Tunis.

“I have received so many calls and people in Tunis think that this is going to be a very easy win for Esperance. Well everyone has their own opinion and we respect them but for me and my team we are going in to win,” the tactician said.

Gor Mahia will hand themselves a massive advantage if they win the first leg tie and Kerr is confident his side has what it takes to ensure they pick up the massive advantage from Machakos.

“I think I have a good squad which can score goals and the best thing we can do from the first leg is ensure that we don’t concede an away goal because that will make things difficult for us. I have a feeling that we can always go away and score a goal,” the tactician offered.

-Esperance arrive in Nairobi-

Esperance FC players and officials arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on March 5, 2018 ahead of their CAF Champions League clash against Gor Mahia. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Esperance have already arrived in the country and will be training at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Tuesday evening ahead of the duel.

Kerr insists that they are not afraid of the Tunisians and will be hoping to appease the spirits of the 1987 team that delivered a masterstroke of a performance to beat the Tunisians to the Mandela Cup.

“What happened in 2014 remains in the past and now the players have to look at what is ahead of us and the opportunity that they have to create history. They should grab this opportunity because to some, it might never happen again,” he says.

“We are mentally prepared and I trust the boys and their abilities,” the tactician further added.

Gor Mahia are enjoying some good form in the Kenyan Premier League, having amassed 12 points out of four matches, a record that has come even as the tactician has been tinkling with his squad to manage the effects of fatigue with a tight calendar.

Gor Mahia defender Wellington Ochieng in action against Equatorial Guinean side Leones Vegetarinos in a CAF Champions League preliminary round tie in Machakos. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Kerr will however miss the services of right-back Wellington Ochieng who suffered a twisted ankle during their tie against Bandari on Saturday, but he should have a huge squad to select his team from with no other injury.

“It is such a shame that Wellington will not be part of the team because he was one of the players who were very excited about the Champions League. It was heartbreaking to see him in tears over the prospect of missing the game but I hope this will offer a motivation to his teammates on just how much this means to everyone,” the coach noted.

Gor Mahia will still have a chance to make it into a continental group stage even if they lose to Esperance. They will drop down to the CAF Confederations Cup play-off with the pairings set to be done after this round of matches.

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