We were cursed, Gor’s Kerr says after Cup stalemate
- We were cursed, that was the summation of Gor Mahia FC head coach Dylan Kerr following his side's fruitless search for a goal during their barren stalemate with Algeria's USM Algers at the MISC Kasarani on Wednesday
- Despite playing one man less for the better part of second half after defender Joash Onyango was shown red card, the 16-time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions showed no sign they were outnumbered on the pitch
We were cursed, that was the summation of Gor Mahia FC head coach Dylan Kerr following his side’s fruitless search for a goal during their barren stalemate with Algeria’s USM Algers at the MISC Kasarani on Wednesday.
Despite playing one man less for the better part of second half after defender Joash Onyango was shown red card, the 16-time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions showed no sign they were outnumbered on the pitch.
Instead, they heightened the intensity of play, forcing the visitors on the backfoot with Rwandese Jacques Tuyisenge leading the relentless onslaught.
While the curse Kerr talked about may need the sleeping legendary Mahia son of Ogalo to turn with a smile in his eternal house at the heart of Homaby County to avert, a proper reflection of the events preceding the CAF Confederations Cup clash shows just how Gor was poorly prepared for the day.
Even before elimination from the CAF Champions League, Kerr is on record complaining about congested fixtures. He repeated it with an agonising tone after two days to the Algers match, saying his players were tired and “if the trend continues, they will be exposed to a period of losses.”
This was after playing English Championship side Hull City in an international friendly whose gains, only their shirt sponsor counts with a big smile.
It was an energy sucking match, and a platform to show Algers who to deal with cautiously in the urguably their most tricky away Group D match.
No wonder, Tuyisenge was closely marked by one Mahommed Benyayhya throughout the match.
“I think when we were reduced to 10 men, the pressure to defend our goal was much, that’s why I told Tuyisenge to be double his effort, striking from middle and we created several chances.
“I’m happy we held a big team despite the setback and we got a point from them. My players are doing better every day, but there is more room for wonders. Knowing the kind of tight schedule we have had recently, they gave it all the field,” said Kerr after the match.
Thus, though good for a sponsor-club relationship, the Hull City match only helped Algers to hold Gor.
As the South Africa’s Supersport United coach Kaitano Tembo said after sinking 1-0 to Gor in Machakos during first leg playoffs, “playing a determined side like Gor requires hundred percent preparation and hundred percent output in the field.
A vital lesson was offered by the Zimbabwean tactician, that playing well is not enough if preparations are not emphasized. The result is already negative before the first whistle.
Simple logistics like what time the team leaves their hotel to the playing venue, as Kerr exposed in the post match remarks, were still hard to nail.
“We had to stay for a long time in the traffic jam coming to the stadium, this is not what you want in a match day,” added the Mata born Briton tactician.
Yet, Algers was lucky again to face K’Ogalo without Meddie Kagere, the man who conspicuously missed the line up with Ivorian Ephrem Guikan struggling to match his goal poaching tactics.
“It is a relieve to us that he (Medie) will not be playing. We have seen what he is capable of doing. He is experienced and such players count much in such a level,” Algers coach Miloud Hamdi observed before the match.
On the flip side, Algers had to do without dependable striker Oussama Darfaloum, who like Kagere was suspended.
“My players fought hard, although we were not as clinical as we should have been in the attack. Darfaloum should have done better, maybe, but a point away from home is a gain,” Hamdi declared.
Going to Tanzania, Dar es Salaam for the Yanga SC match in July, K’Ogalo will need to redeem the away points lost in Wednesday’s match, to remain in realistic contention of a quarter final berth.
Algers next opponent is Rwanda’s Rayon Sport, who shared spoils with Yanga to keep their march level with Gor at two points, behind the former who lead with four.
Yanga lies fourth with a point as they lost 4-0 to the North Africans away to Algiers in the group openers.
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