Champs Bandari, Gor keen to avoid GOtv cup-sets
Bandari FC interim coach Kennedy Odhiambo is under pressure as the Dockers kick off their FKF GOtv Shield Cup title defence against little known Tezo Stars, while Gor Mahia entertain Mombasa Mahakama this weekend.
Odhiambo is keen to prove he can match the achievement of his predecessor Twahir Muhiddin who once coached him as a player at National Super League side Oserian FC as he angles to be made the permanent boss of the champions.
“There is always pressure, whether you are a champion or not because everyone wants to win. We have a good blend of experience and youth we have incorporated in the squad that I feel will be difficult to defeat even in the second half of the Kenyan Premier League.
“We have prepared well for them and we played two friendlies against Mombasa Mahakama and Mombasa TTC. We know Tezo like sitting back waiting to hit on counter and that’s what we faced against Mahakama,” the former Harambee Stars left back told Citizen Digital.
Odhiambo’s charges hit Mahakama 3-0 in the match where a host of fresh faces signed from neighbouring coastal clubs featured.
Strikers Darius Msagha from Mwatate FC and Mwanzandi Ramadhan from Super Matuga signed on while Rama Mwanzia was elevated from Bandari Youth.
Issa Ali, a defender from Assad FC and midfielder Sijenge Eric Kibiru of Modern Coast FC have also joined the Dockers.
“I know Bandari very well, it my club. I played there from 1979, before its renaming from Kenya Cargo. My last match was the final of the inaugural Moi Golden Cup which we lost to Gor.
“Despite my affiliation with them on Sunday it we will be an all different affair. They should be ready for a tough outing,” former Bandari ace and Tezo coach Mohammed Kai maintained as he seeks to stun his former employers.
He however decried the short notice issued by the federation ahead of the match.
“It was only one week time for preparation. For us our league had been stopped to observe the Holy Month of Ramadhan so recalling the team for the preparation was an ambush.
“We did not play even a single friendly to avoid last time injuries but it should not be an excuse,” added the former Congo United coach.
Last year’s semi-finalists and 10-times cup champions Gor have already declared they are going for a treble this season but Brazilian boss Marcello ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira is expected to change his regular team against the Mohammed Abdulbasit coached side.
“I will rest some of the players like Musa Mohammed and Karim Nizigiyamana who have played in all matches.
“Gor is a big club and the mentality here is winning every match, every competition,” said the former Inter Milan player after KPL Top 8 second leg semi final win over Tusker on Sunday 19 June.
“We are going to offer our best. No doubt there is incredible talent in coast and in my team. We respect Gor a big club in the country and that’s why we sought a top flight club challenge in our preparation when we played Bandari.
“We lost yes, but learnt a big deal. We have been working on the errors we made in the match and we are prepared now. The team is in high spirit and we want to pull a surprise, our fans in Nairobi especially those from coast should come and see,” he added.
Their opponents are sitting third in the FKF Division Two Northern Zone, losing only twice in five outings against Zambarani and Super Eagles.
Wazito will battle it out with another coast side Taveta Sisal at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium from 2:00pm local time (+3GMT) before Gor and Mahakama’s match two hours later in the same venue on Saturday.
Mombasa’s Mbaraki Stadium will host Modern Coast versus Coast Stima at 2: 00 hrs on Sunday before the Bandari’s duel, among the 64 matches of the competition’s first round.
Additional Reporting by Mkalla Wa Mwambodze
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