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Muguna confident

Gor Mahia captain tips Gor to break North African jinx

The club was also on the receiving end of Zamalek’s wrath as they went down 4-0 in Egypt.

In Summary

• Last season, Gor controversially fell 1-0 to NA Hussein Dey of Algeria in a Confederations Cup Group stage match and suffered a blistering 5-1 loss to beaten finalist RS Berkane of Morocco

• Meanwhile, the club chairman Ambrose Rachier is banking on today’s funds drive to raise money for the air tickets.

Harambee stars’ Kenneth Muguna reacts against Uganda Cranes during their friendly match at Moi,Kasarani on September 8,2019.
Harambee stars’ Kenneth Muguna reacts against Uganda Cranes during their friendly match at Moi,Kasarani on September 8,2019.
Image: ERICK BARASA

Gor Mahia captain Kenneth Muguna has tipped the club to bring to an end their win-less North African jinx when they renew their rivalry with Algeria’s USM Alger on Sunday in a Caf Champions League first-round match.

Gor have struggled to register wins away to North African opponents, succumbing to their intimidation and theatrics but Muguna has predicted new dawn against the cash-strapped Algerians who have been threatening to pull out of the competition.

K’Ogalo’s trips to the North, which are always occasioned by long connection flights and last-minute rush for air tickets, have in the past ended miserably, limiting their chances of scaling higher in continental ranking and advancing to the later stages of the two tournaments.

Last season, Gor controversially fell 1-0 to NA Hussein Dey of Algeria in a Confederations Cup Group stage match and suffered a blistering 5-1 loss to beaten finalist RS Berkane of Morocco. The club was also on the receiving end of Zamalek’s wrath as they went down 4-0 in Egypt.

The Kenyan champions watched their quest to qualify to the quarter-finals of the 2018 Confederations Cup end in the hands of Alger, who reaped a 2-1 win at home to qualify alongside Rayon Sport of Rwanda at the expense of the Kenyan club who needed a point from the final two group stage matches which they lost.

Muguna, who was voted as the new skipper to replace Haroun Shakava, has pledged to lead his teammates in overturning their misfortune in the hostile environment in Algiers and seek to be on the advantage before hosting them at home.

“We have struggled to play well in North Africa leave alone getting results but this time around, we are going for a win. We have in the past fallen to their theatrics and intimidation but we have come of age. A good number of the current crop of players have been there before and we are aware of what is expected of them. The past experience gives us an advantage and better planning ahead of the match.”

The creative midfielder who was on target when Harambee Stars played Uganda to a one-all draw in an international friendly last weekend at the Moi Stadium Kasarani cautioned his teammates against falling for the Alger’s narrative of struggling financially.

“We do not take such reports seriously as they could be playing games. Our focus is to achieve our objective on the pitch and have an advantage before the return leg. Whether they are struggling or not it will be a case of eleven players against a similar number on the pitch.”

Meanwhile, the club chairman Ambrose Rachier is banking on today’s funds drive to raise money for the air tickets. Gor are set to host a fundraiser in the evening after parting ways with their shirt sponsors who initially catered for the playing unit’s salaries.

Rachier revealed that Francis Afriyie and Maurice Ojwang’ were cleared for the match after recovering from injuries and will join the 15 who were in action against Aigle Noir of Burundi in the preliminary round.

“ We are not certain when the government will give us air tickets which we had applied in advance. It is my hope that we will raise a tidy amount to cater for the tickets and other logistics. In the meantime, two players have been cleared to take part in the match which is a boost to us considering that we did not have depth in the past round.