NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Gor Mahia forward Jacques Tuyisenge has revealed he could not sleep for four days prior to the club’s CAF Confederations do-or-die Group D tie against Petro Atletico, saying he couldn’t stop thinking of getting the team into the quarters for the first time ever.
Tuyisenge delivered the all important goal, scoring a 56th minute penalty as the nine men of Gor soldiered against the 11 of Petro to sail into the last eight, a historical feat that will forever last in the Rwandese’s memory.
“I couldn’t sleep. Every time I was thinking of this game especially because last year we came close but couldn’t achieve it. I was very anxious about everything and all I wanted was to come to the pitch and fight for the badge, fight to see the team qualify,” Tuyisenge, with a smile brandished all over his face told Capital Sport.
The Rwandese, bought by Gor at the beginning of the 2016 season for a reported record fee of Sh4mn showed nerves of steel to step forward and slam home the penalty in the wake of pressure and a huge numerical disadvantage.
And he showed his passion with a wild celebration, nearly bursting into tears as he wheeled down the left flank to leap in celebration.
“I have played tough games in my life, I have scored goals, but none can compare to this. As a team, our aim was to go there and make history and see the team in the quarter finals. We believed and we ensured it happened,” Tuyisenge added.
He has also lavished praise on the club’s fans who turned out in large numbers, braving the Kasarani cold to cheer the side on as they chased history.
“I want to thank the fans for their support because if they were not there, what we achieved today would not have been possible. They came in handy especially when we were nine men down. Whenever you felt the slightest hint of fatigue and you heard their voice on the stands, you got the energy to play on,” he said.
Adding; “For us strikers, we got the energy to run up and down to defend and try get a goal at all costs and you couldn’t think of giving up because of the fans. You could even say you’d rather leave your all on the pitch than let them down.”
The upbeat Tuyisenge now believes the club can go all the way to the final after earning a ticket into the knockout rounds and says more should be expected from the team.
“The knockout stage is all about keen planning. If we do our homework well we can achieve anything we want. I am telling you, we can even go to the final,” stated the striker.
Gor Mahia will know their quarter final opponent on Wednesday evening when the draw is conducted in Cairo. Group winners (Zamalek, RS Berkane, CS Sfaxien and Al Hilal) have been seeded and will be pooled against second placed teams (Gor, Hassania Agadir, Etoile du Sahel, Nkana).
Teams from the same group cannot be paired against each other meaning Gor cannot draw Zamalek in the quarters. They will either face Berkane from Morocco, Tunisia’s Sfaxien or Sudan’s Hilal.