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K’Ogalo’s Wendo faces up to six weeks out

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Gor Mahia’s Ernest Wendo vies for the ball against Esperance du Tunis’s players during a CAF Champions League tie at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on March 7, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11- Gor Mahia midfield workhorse Ernest Wendo will miss Wednesday afternoon’s CECAFA Kagame Cup semi-final match against Azam in Dar es Salaam and faces up to six weeks out with a groin injury after limping off the quarter final game against Vipers on Sunday.

The injury looks to keep him out Gor’s CAF Confederation Cup campaign as well as a good chunk of their league assignments and will also miss K’Ogalo’s trip to England for a friendly match with Everton FC.

“We have lost Wendo, we don’t know for how long. We need a proper physio to assess him and the extent of the injury, but it could be a minimum of six weeks because it’s a groin injury and that usually requires a lot of time,” head coach Dylan Kerr said.

While Kerr will patch up with Philemon Otieno moving to midfield and Innocent Wafula slotting at right back at the Kagame Cup and local assignments, he might have to think of a solution for the Confederation Cup as Wafula is not registered to play.

Gor will face Tanzania’s Yanga at home on July 18 and away in Dar es Salaam 10 days later, games that will be crucial in their aspiration to make it to the quarter finals of the continental championship.

Gor Mahia’s George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo vies for the ball with Vipers’ Milton Karisa during the CECAFA Kagame Cup Quarter Finals at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on July 8, 2018.

But before all that, the Kenyan champions will have their eyes fixed on a maiden Kagame Cup title in 23 years when they face Tanzania’s Yanga in the semis on Wednesday, a repeat of the 2015 final at the same venue.

Kerr notes that Gor will not be going into the tie breathing revenge having lost that game 2-0, but notes his side will have their focus on getting the job done and qualifying for Sunday’s final.

“I don’t really like the stories of revenge because sometimes the players lose focus. What I want us to do is go there and get the job done, do what we do best. I was here in 2015 and I watched the game; I think they were unlucky then,” the tactician says.

Gor have grown into the tournament after a lackluster start dominated by off the field issues, but the tactician notes that everything is now settled and they are looking to make the best of their Kagame Cup campaign.

Gor Mahia forward Ephraim Guikan controls the ball under pressure from a Rayon Sport defender during their CECAFA Kagame Cup game at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on July 1, 2018

“The morale when we came here was low but the players have picked themselves up and it was evident in the game against Vipers especially in the second half. We have played six games in 12 days and that is definitely tough but my players have been phenomenal so far,” the coach noted.

He now hopes that having had an extra day to rest compared to Azam will give them an edge and his charges will bulldoze their way into the final.

While Gor came from behind to beat Vipers 2-1 in their quarter final tie, Azam made easy work of Rwanda’s Rayon Sport beating them 4-2, striker Shabaan Iddi scoring all four.

In the other quarter final, Simba SC will face off with Zanzibar’s JKU who beat Singida United on penalties to progress.

Potentially, Simba and Gor will meet in another final, barely a month after facing each other in the SportPesa Super Cup.

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