20 February 2018 09:13
Kenya’s continental representatives, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards jetted out for Wednesday’s return leg ties on Monday morning, beaming with confidence of making the next round of their respective competitions.
Gor Mahia, record 16-time Kenyan champions travelled to Malabo, where they with them a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, against Equatoguinean champions, Leones Vegeteranios in the Total CAF Champions League.
Head coach Dylan Kerr has taken the same squad that did the job in the first leg, hoping to replicate the same performance. Rwandese forward Jack Tuyisenge made returned to the team after missing the first leg, but suffered another setback when he was forced off injured during their midweek Kenyan Premier League match.
“It is unfortunate that Jack will not be able to be part of the return leg because he gives us so much dynamism in attack. But we go there with confidence; I trust the players I have picked and I am confident we will win.
“We are going there to play an attacking game. No packing the bus. We want to win and win well,” the British tactician said.
A draw will even be enough for Gor Mahia, but the demanding Kerr will want them to go for victory to ease into the second round.
On his part, Captain Harun Shakava adds that they are poised for victory.
“For us, the only thing we want is a win. We have played five competitive matches so far this year and the confidence level have risen. Playing away from home is not easy and we have to be tactically and technically alert,” Shakava said.
Meanwhile, AFC Leopards will be in Mahajanga, Madagascar, hoping for an improved performance after being forced to a 1-1 draw by Fosa Juniors in the first leg in Kakamega last week in the Total CAF confederation Cup.
Leopards coach Robert Matano, just like his Gor Mahia counterpart is angling for a win, though a high scoring draw will take them through.
“We’ve had time to work on our mistakes because we haven’t played since the game in Kakamega. We have especially worked on the coordination in our defence and attack, which were a bit shaky and we expect to win,” Matano said.
The club received a huge setback with Ghanaian forward Prince Arkoh suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear in the first leg and is set to be out for six months. Arkoh was arguably AFC’s best performer in the first leg and his absence will be a huge blow to the Kenyan side.
However, they have been boosted with the return of international right back Dennis Sikhayi who has recovered from a groin problem.
Skipper Duncan Otieno has rallied his teammates to ensure they earn a ticket to the first round.
“It will be a tough match because having seen them in the first leg, they are a very good and organized team. We need to go there and be at our best, get a win and progress. Trying to get a draw is dangerous and we have to play all out,” Otieno said.