NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19- When the draw of the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup will be conducted on Saturday afternoon in Cairo, Gor Mahia’s name will be in one of the 16 balls dipped in the four pots for the first time in their history.
Despite all the pre-match drama that surrounded their travel to South Africa for their playoff return leg clash against SuperSport United, Gor defied all odds and ensured they secured a group stage slot on the away goal rule after a 2-2 aggregate.
Two of Gor’s key players were denied visas, one was suspended, another is on a go slow, arrived in Pretoria 17 hours to the match due to visa and ticket problems, but still fought like gallant soldiers.
“I am so proud of the team because we created history. It was a tough match but we had the belief, we had the drive and we had the desire to do something for the club and Kenyan football. It was long overdue because we had tried and failed before but this time we fought,” Shakava told Capital Sport from Pretoria.
“As a leader, I am proud of this team and this is a huge historic part of my career,” added the defender.
Shakava was unfortunate to turn a cross into his own net for the opener, but Francis Kahata wiped his blushes with a sublime goal almost immediately. Despite Thabo Mnyamane’s second goal for Matsatsantsa, Gor defended well and secured the ticket.
“It was an unfortunate deflection but I am happy we defended well till the end. As a leader I still pushed the team ahead and character made us winners at the end. I still believe this is the start of better things for us,” the defender who looks up to Real Madrid serial winner Sergio Ramos as a role model added.
Congratulatory messages flew all over social media Wednesday night with all sundry wanting a beat off the K’Ogalo victory tune.
The team is expected to return home to a heroic welcome on Thursday night and will immediately embark on plans to ensure a positive performance in the group stages.
They will also have their Kenyan Premier League title defense to think about with a league fixture against Thika United beckoning on Sunday in Machakos.