Gor victims of ‘dark arts’
A section of Gor Mahia players claims the team was the victim of unsportsmanlike conduct by Otoho D’Oyo of Congo Brazzaville in their CAF Confederation Cup play-off 1-0 defeat by the hosts on Sunday.
The players who sought anonymity said they are surprised that CAF can still allow malpractices aimed at giving undue advantage to go unpunished.
One player recounted the events of the day at Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat , saying the hosts barred two members of the squad from playing under the pretext they had tested positive for Covid-19.
That meant that K’Ogalo, who had travelled with a depleted squad of only 15 players as they could not make any new signings during the July-August CAF transfer window for defaulting in settling dues owed to former coaches and players, had only one fit player on the bench - goalkeeper .
The infuriated player who played 90 minutes said it was a miracle K’Ogalo, who played their hearts out, managed to restrict the hosts to a solitary goal.
“With an hour to the kick-off, Covid results came and it was claimed that John Ochieng and Jules Ulimwengu had tested positive, allegations which the technical bench doubted,’’ he said.
Ochieng and Ulimwengu were automatically declared ineligible to play and to make matters worse, right back Philemon Otieno had been ruled out due to a swollen leg sustained in training and had to be replaced by Victor Ayugi.
With Ochieng and Ulimwengu ruled out by the alleged Covid positive tests and Sydney Ochieng left in Nairobi nursing an injury, there was no backup.
That meant goalkeeper Caleb Omondi, an understudy of the regular goalkeeper Gad Matthews, was the only substitute on the bench!
Another player said: “To make matters even worse, left-back Shakava (Harun) pulled a harm-string injury at some point in play but shouldered on to finish the regulation time.”
He added: “At that juncture, we were instructed not to tackle for fear of red cards and sustaining injuries, meaning we only put 100 per cent effort at Otoho backyard where the side has a penchant of beating visiting teams by not less than two goals,”
Gor will host Otoho in the return match on Sunday at Nyayo National Stadium and will need to win 2-0 to advance to the Group stage of the event or win 1-0 and hope to navigate through on post-match penalties.