Kenya Premier League giants Gor Mahia could get a boost upfront in their Champions League campaign if they go past Burundians Aigle Noir next Sunday in their return match at Kasarani.
Club secretary general Ronald Ngala says they have received communication from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) allowing strikers Ghanian Francis Afriyie and Ivorian Gislein Yikpe to feature in the subsequent CAF matches after being sidelined earlier due to late registrations.
“According to the latest communication we have received from CAF, the two strikers may be allowed to play after the Sunday match ahead of us. This will be a big boost to us,’’ explained Ngala.
The two strikers who replaced Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge and Burundian Francis Mustapha did not play against Burundian side Aigle Noir last weekend in Bujumbura in the first leg preliminary tie that ended in a barren draw.
Club administration attributes the scenario to late registration and CAF, according to Ngala, seems to have loosened the string giving the players the nod to play should the team go past their Burundian opponents.
This even as it emerged that Gor Mahia’s next probable opponents USM Alger could pull out due to financial constraints paving way for Gor to cruise to the first round, if only they manage to edge out this weekend’s opponents.
The Algerians beat Niger’s SONIDEP 2-1 away in the first leg and could easily beat them in the return leg at home to face the winner between Gor Mahia and Aigle Noir.
Should Algeria’s USM pull out, Gor Mahia will easily move to the first round of the Champions League.
“We are ready for the Burundians and our plans started yesterday with our first trophy of the season, we are building on the players dedication and determination to go places this season,’’ Ngala enthused.
K’Ógalo silenced their coastal rivals Bandari with a 65th Minute strike by Lawrence Juma in the Super Cup clash to give them their first trophy of the season and Ngala says much more is expected of the boys.
Ngala says despite the departure of their dependable players in the run up to the new season, the team is steady and will pull shockers both locally and internationally.
The introduction of the two little known strikers in the local scene could be a big challenge to KPL clubs with Bandari manager Bernard Mwalala admitting after losing the Super Cup that the current Gor Mahia squad is a riddle hence planning against them becomes a challenge.
Last season they cruised to the quarter finals of the CAF Confederations Cup, for the first time in history under the leadership of coach Hassan Oktay who resigned citing family challenges back home.
What remains to be seen is whether their new coach and former Asante Kotoko boss Steven Pollack will make an impact having started with a draw away to Aigle Noir last weekend and clinching a trophy yesterday at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
They play the Burundians on Sunday August 25 at Kasarani beginning 4pm.
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