Football Football

Gor Mahia set sights on control of Group D

Gor Mahia players join Francis Kahata in celebrating his sumptuous goal against Thika United in a Kenyan Premier League match at the Machakos Stadium on April 22, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, KENYA, May 16- A win for Gor Mahia on Wednesday evening against Algeria’s USM Alger at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani will earn them top spot in Group D of the CAF Confederation Cup if Rayon Sport fails to earn maximum points against Tanzania’s Yanga.

The 16-time Kenyan champions started their campaign with a 1-1 draw away to Rayon Sport and playing their first match at home, the side is confident they have done just but enough to ensure they bag three points.

“It is a very tough match because USM Alger is a good side and we have watched several of their games including their first game against Yanga. They have fast and technical players and they should give us quite a challenge,” Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr said.

Alger kicked-off their campaign in emphatic form, beating Yanga 4-0 at their Algerian backyard and walk into the fixture with confidence.

Head coach Miloud Hamdi expects a tough match from the hosts, having watched several of their games and he knows his boys will be in for a rough challenge.

“Gor Mahia are leading the Kenyan league and they are quite tough at home with fans always behind them so I know it will be very tough for us. The good thing is that they will miss one of their top strikers who would have given us a lot of trouble and I think we stand a chance,” the tactician said pre-match.

Gor Mahia’s Jack Tuyisenge (centre) is congratulated by teammates Meddie Kagere (left) and Francis Kahata (right) after scoring against Mathare United during a Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 29, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Gor will be without Rwandese striker Meddie Kagere who is serving a one match suspension after accumulating yellow cards and his absence will be a point for concern for Kerr who has been a firm believer of the partnership between Kagere and Jacques Tuyisenge.

“It is of course a blow for us because Meddie is an integral part of the team. But we go in there with confidence and I have faith in Ephraim (Guikan) that he can comfortably fill that gap. He has shown his quality before and I hope he can do it against USM,” the British tactician offered.

Kerr will borrow chunks of confidence from their display against English Championship side Hull City, a game they lost 4-3 on penalties after spurning chances in a 0-0 draw in regulation time.

“We dominated the game and that is what I would want to see against the Algerian team. We need to have the confidence in ourselves that we can play better and win. We create so many chances like against Rayon, but our problem is that we can finish them. We need to improve on this,” Kerr further advised.

Skipper Harun Shakava has meanwhile urged his teammates to make the most of the one advantage, noting that beating Alger at home will be a strong indicator of their intention to make it into the quarter finals.

“We had such a great atmosphere when we played against Hull and if we can come close to that on Wednesday night, I am confident we will have good results. It is a very tough match because North African teams are no pushovers. But if we can have the fans behind us, we can do anything,” the tough defender noted.

Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr gestures during his side’s friendly match against Hull City on May 13, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

He added; “We want to win all our home matches to give ourselves a decent chance of qualifying to the next stage and if we can win against Alger, that will be a huge motivator for us.”

Gor will look to borrow a leaf from neighbors Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) who on Tuesday shocked eight-time African Champions Al Ahly beating them 2-0 in Kampala.

They will also fancy their chances against an Alger side that has not had a pretty good run of results. They lost away to JS Kabilye in their last league match five days ago, their third loss in four games.

Alger have not won their last six away matches in all competitions, drawing one and losing all their last five, including in the Confederations Cup against Nigeria’s Plateau United.