Gor in date with destiny as Azam lurks in CECAFA litmus test


Gor Mahia FC head coach Dylan Kerr and his players applaud the home fans following ...
(FILE)Gor Mahia FC head coach Dylan Kerr and his players applaud the home fans following their 3-0 win over JKU SC of Zanzibar on Sunday, June 3 2018 in Nakuru. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • For Gor Mahia, the wounds inflicted on them by Azam in the final of the Cecafa Kagame Cup in 2015 are as fresh as yesterday.
  • Poignantly, when they renew rivalries at the imposing 60,000 seater National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday in a semi-final match, Gor will be gunning for nothing short of revenge.
  • In the 2015 match, Gor came agonizingly close only to lose the title under their nose.

Isaac Swila in Dar, Tanzania

For Gor Mahia, the wounds inflicted on them by Azam in the final of the Cecafa Kagame Cup in 2015 are as fresh as yesterday.

Poignantly, when they renew rivalries at the imposing 60,000 seater National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday in a semi-final match, Gor will be gunning for nothing short of revenge.

In the 2015 match, Gor came agonizingly close only to lose the title under their nose.

Flash-back, Ugandan Khalid Aucho was the midfield kingpin in Gor’s roster, duly supported by an equally combative Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth.

The two formed a solid and dynamic midfied that was difficult to penetrate, offering a strong shield to the back-four, while upfront K’Ogalo had powerful attackers in the frame of Michael Olunga and Meddie Kagere.

That was then.First forward, a lot of water has passed under the bridge with the aforementioned no longer at K’Ogalo.

At Azam, their then danger-man John Bocco has since left the club while the defensive steel in Ivorian Pascal Wawa is at Simba.

The departure of these stellar cast however takes nothing away from the game that is expected to a be a tantalising end-to-end fixture, played before an attentive crowd.

For Gor, the stakes couldn’t have been much higher. They have waited for 33 years to lift this crown and they are now just a match away from the final!

However, in Azam, they face a tricky side that can sting when least expected.

Iddi Shaban, the marauding winger who notched four past Rayon Sports in the quarters is a live-wire whom they’ll have to particularly have to watch with hawk eyes.

Ahead of this meeting, lanky Gor midfielder Humphrey Mieno who featured for Azam in a brief spell in 2013 said: ” We are not under pressure. We just want to win the game and we’re asking for support(from the fans).

Though he turned for the club five years back, Mieno maintains that a lot has changed in the team. ” I cannot really say that I know them because several players have left, they have a new coach and a new playing pattern, “the soft spoken midfielder, key in Gor’s plans here, said.

On his part, speaking in the wake of the 2-1 victory over Vipers, Kerr said they were ready to meet any opposition.

“It is a knockout tournament and it becomes difficult at this stage because everyone wants to get to the final and to win, but we are ready to meet any team.”

Gor will be motivated by the prospect of reaching the grand finale and having a bite at the cherry.

Gor Mahia FC head coach Dylan Kerr and his assistant Zedekiah Otieno congratulate George Odhiambo after scoring against Nakumatt FC during their Kenyan Premier League match at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on July 30, 2017. Gor Mahia FC won 2-0. (PHOTO/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha)
Gor Mahia FC head coach Dylan Kerr and his assistant Zedekiah Otieno congratulate George Odhiambo after scoring against Nakumatt FC during their Kenyan Premier League match at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on July 30, 2017. Gor Mahia FC won 2-0. (PHOTO/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha)

Francis Kahata who began the last game on the bench is expected to walk straight into the starting eleven, while Joash Onyango who sat out of the last game with a minor discomfort is also likely to be recalled.

In a second second semi-final match at the same venue, home clubs Simba SC and Jeshi La Kujenga Uchumi will also collide from 4pm,with an eye on the final.

Semis Fixtures

Azam v Gor Mahia- 2pm, National Stadium

Simba SC v JKU- 4pm, National Stadium

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Story By Isaac Swila
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