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Bandari off to Tunisia with eyes on history

Bandari FC players hurdle together for prayer before their CAF Confederations Cup first leg first round tie against Tunisia’s US Ben Guerdane. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 25 – Carrying a 2-0 victory from the first leg in Nairobi a fortnight ago, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Shield champion Bandari FC can make history if they get a favorable result in Tunisia this weekend in their CAF Confederations Cup first round, second leg tie against US Ben Guerdane.

The dockers have never gone into the play-off phase of continental football. In their debut in 2016, they exited in the first round after a 3-1 aggregate loss to DR Congo’s St. Elloi Lupopo.

Heading to Tunisia wheeled by goals from Yema Mwamba and Abdallah Hassan, a draw will be all Bandari will need to progress to the next round where they will be paired against teams that will be relegated from the CAF Champions League first round.

“The job is not yet done. We still have so much to do and we cannot afford to rest because of the 2-0 advantage. We are just halfway there and we have 90 more minutes to work and make history for ourselves,” head coach Bernard Mwalala stated.

A 1-0 defeat will still see them through while a 2-0 loss will force the game to penalties. However, any goal Bandari score will complicate issues for Guerdane as they will be forced to score at least three more.

Bandari FC head coach Bernard Mwalala during his side’s CAF Confederations Cup first leg first round tie against Tunisia’s US Ben Guerdane. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

This is the secret weapon Bandari hopes to exploit in Tunisia.

“We have to defend well and if we score, then we will be on the advantage. We need to go and get an early goal and give ourselves an advantage,” Mwalala further stated.

Striker Mwamba reiterated his coach’s sentiments ahead of the tie, saying he is confident they will get a result.

“I believe in this squad and I believe in our ability. We did it at home and now we are going away we have to work even harder to get a good result. Our first aim going there is to score an early goal and from there, we can manage the game,” stated the Congolese forward.

The dockers travel to Tunisia with a fully fit squad and two encouraging results off the Kenyan Premier League. Last week, they came from two goals down to beat Zoo Kericho 3-2 before conjuring a 1-0 victory away to SoNy Sugar in Awendo.

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Guerdane meanwhile warmed up for the tie with a 1-0 win away to Tataouine to move to third in the Tunisian top tier with six points off two wins.

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