Gor Mahia leave with only 16 players for crucial must-win Cofederation Cup return leg against Motema Pembe
Kenyan league champions Gor Mahia will be keeping their hopes alive as they leave the country this morning to the stadium of Martyrs in Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of Congo for the CAF Confederation Cup group stage clash against DC Motema Pembe on Sunday.
Gor Mahia not only failed to win the first leg fixture at home but gave Motema Pembe an away goal which could prove costly in the return leg. Nonetheless, the club is hopeful of giving a good account of themselves and still hold ambitions of reaching the money-minting group stage.
Coach Steven Polack was confident of his team’s chances on the eve of their departure with full conviction that his charges can defy odds and upset the celebrated Congolese side.
A team of 16 players and six technical bench members were set to leave this morning without central defender Charles Momanyi whose transgression last weekend got him sent off and suspended for this weekend’s return leg.
“The players have prepared well the entire week and are all focused on completing the job away from home. We have the personnel, skill and will to beat Motema Pembe and qualify for the group stage. I must admit that we did not fully take our chances at home but that does not condemn us from the tie. We are in it and I’m confident we will prevail,” the Englishman said.
Gor Mahia uncharacteristically committed so many defensive errors at home but Polack says the mistakes would not be witnessed in the return leg. With Momanyi unavailable for the fixture and Joash Onyango having showed rustiness, Polack does not rule out a Maurice Ojwang and Joachim Oluoch partnership at the centre of defence.
“I pick the best squad on the matchday. There are no guarantees but I don’t have many options with Confederations Cup. There are only 16 available players and my options are confined there. We had many errors at the back but after a couple of days in training I don’t foresee that happening again,” he said.
K’Ogalo’s goal scorer last weekend Gislain Gnamien Yikpe is fit to start in Kinshasa after coming from the bench to breach Motema Pembe’s back line. With favourite lead striker Nicholas Kipkirui looking off colour at home, Polack may start the lanky Ivorian instead of the former Zoo Kericho man.
Polack has another tough call to make in picking who starts between the sticks, after first choice goalkeeper David Mapigano faulted for Motema Pembe’s equaliser. Boniface Oluoch will be waiting on the wings to take his chance, however, the experienced Oluoch is short of match sharpness having spent most of the season on the bench.
K’Ogalo’s preparations for the fixture was bolstered by a potentially fruitful partnership with Agro Chemical and Food Company on Wednesday. Part of the players’ pending wages was paid and the club management hope they can make the group stage and use part of the proceeds to clear all pending bills.