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USMA thrashing was a tough lesson- Polack

Gor Mahia winger Boniface Omondi tries to put in a cross under pressure from a USM Alger player during their CAF Confederations Cup first round return leg match at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on September 29, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Gor Mahia head coach Steve Polack says their 6-1 aggregate thrashing at the hands of USM Alger last month has given his players tough lessons as they prepare to play Congolese outfit DC Motema Pembe in the play-off round of the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday at Kasarani.

Gor lost the first leg 4-1 against the Algerians and could not overturn the deficit in the return leg in Nairobi, losing 2-0.

“We picked some very hard lessons from that defeat. We know that at this you can’t do mistakes because you will get punished. We gave away cheap goals against USM and that is a mistake we cannot repeat. Sometimes individual mistakes are unavoidable, but it is always good to learn from them,” the tactician stated.

For a third consecutive season, K’Ogalo has dropped down to the Confederation Cup play-off after failing to make it past the first round in the Champions League and they hope to continue playing continental football by progressing to the group stages with victory in this round.

Two seasons ago, they reached the group stage for the first time and last seasons, they went one better and qualified for the quarter finals.

The target this year is to do better and perhaps get to the last four. But Polack is embracing the ‘match-at-a-time attitude ahead of the Motema Pembe tie.

“The most important thing is this game ahead of us and getting to the group stage. That is our primary target and we want to work hard and achieve it. We have a thin squad but again I trust all my players and I know we can work together and do well,”

Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack with his assistant Patrick Odhiambo during the CAF Champions League match against Algeria’s USM Alger at the Kasarani Stadium on September 29, 2019

“The spirit in training has been great and everyone is working hard looking ahead towards the game,” Polack further stated.

On Motema Pembe, the British coach says he expects a tough duel and has asked his charges to put in their 100pc for the game.

“They are a pretty decent side and their play both home and away is similar. But we have done some analysis on their strong areas and where we need to be careful as well as how we can exploit their weak areas,” stated the coach.

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He will be boosted with the return of skipper Kenneth Muguna and defender Joash Onyango who missed last weekend’s 1-0 win over Kariobangi Sharks in a league fixture in Nakuru.

The two were left out of the match day squad after they failed to return to training following international duty.

“We have had a very long conversation with them and they explained why they didn’t get back training. I have told them my thoughts but that is now behind our backs and we focus on what is ahead of us, and that is this weekend’s game,” Polack noted.

The only absentee for the game on Sunday will be defender Maurice Ojwang who has been sidelined for the last two weeks with injury.

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