Kenya’s representatives in the Caf Confederation Cup, Gor Mahia and Bandari have crucial hurdles to overcome as they take on DC Motema Pembe and Horoya AC in play-off return matches in Kinshasa and Nairobi respectively on Sunday.
Gor Mahia drew 1-1 with DC Motema Pembe last Sunday while Bandari succumbed to a 4-2 loss in Conakry with experienced striker Aristide Bance grabbing a hat-trick.
It sounds a tall order for both Bandari and Gor Mahia who are guaranteed $275,000 (approximately Sh27.5 million) should they qualify for the group stage.
The two clubs face an acid test this weekend with Gor Mahia facing away the dreaded DC Motema Pembe on Sunday while Bandari have announced an all –out war against Horoya Conakry of Guinea at the 60,000 seater Moi International Sports center Kasarani.
To accomodate the 12th man,Bandari have announced gate charges will be free of charge. Security has also been heightened with the presence of four platoons of General Service Unit (GSU) officers, 50 police officers as well as stewards who have been deployed at the match venue.
To get to the play-off stage, Bandari knocked out Tunisian side US Ben Guerdane while Horoya dropped down to the Confederation Cup from the Champions League after losing out to Algerian side JS Kabylie.
K’Ogalo too dropped to the Confederation Cup after an embarrassing 6-1 aggregate loss to USM Alger of Algeria while Motema Pembe eliminated Sudanese giants Al Khartoum on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
It’s a fact, Central and West African teams have invariably outsmarted their Kenyan counterpart in continental club football competition is not in doubt.
Gor Mahia trip to DRC Congo that appeared in doubt were bailed out by the Government yet again after their Air ticket issues were sorted out by the Ministry of Sports.
K’Ogalo will be walking on egg-shells in the return match against gritty Motema Pembe who forced the Kenyan Champions to a 1-1 draw at Kasarani last week.
Motema Pembe are historically known for eliminating Kenya Breweries(now-Tusker) in the finals of the Africa Cup winners Cup in 1994,seven years after another Congolese team FC Kalamu bundled out AFC Leopards 4-2 on goal aggregate in the second round.Ingwe chairman by that time was Alfred Sambu.
Bandari too,were also eliminated by another central African side St.Eloi Lupopo of DRC Congo in the preliminary round of CAF confederation three years ago lends credence to the fact that Kenyan teams have a lot to do to break the jinx.
Gor Mahia will need to win 1-0 away in Kinshasa to advance while Motema Pembe have an easy task as they can afford a barren draw and make it to the next lucrative round on the strength of the away goal they earned in Nairobi. Gor Mahia match will be played on Sunday from 5:30pm at the Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecote.
Bandari will need to post a 2-0 win over the Guinea side in Nairobi to eject out their visitors.
Bandari coach Bernard Mwalala believes they can overturn the loss.Nevertheless, he is confident his team will sail through should his players utilise all their chances.
“Nothing is impossible. They boast of very dangerous strikers and the first thing we have to do is to ensure we contain them. We have to be very resolute in our defending. In the first leg we proved we could score and I am therefore confident we can overturn the loss,I’m just urging soccer fans to turn up in large numbers and cheer us” he told Kurunzi news during their training session at the Nyayo National Stadium.
“We need that extra push.We are representing the country and it will be wonderful to have fans rallying behind us.We have prepared well and I am optimistic we will do well,” he added.
Gates will be opened at 11am for the match that is scheduled to kick off at 3pm at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.