For a minute there, after a goalless draw between K’ogalo and Aigle Noir in the first round of the preliminary stages, I was a bit worried about their chances of moving on to the next round. Honestly, I was a lot worried, not just a bit.
But, yes! They did it, and they did it so emphatically that now they are looking like a major threat in this premier African soccer tournament.
5 goals to 1 read the scoresheet once the final whistle was blown.
5 goals to 1!
It feels so good writing that, I had to do it twice.
K’ogalo and Kenyan fans, in general, have a lot to thank Nicholas Kipkirui for. His hattrick on this special day has propelled us a step closer to the group stages of the CAF tournament. He was a threat to the Burundian opponents from the first minute of the game, and his sustained attacks earned him a place on the scoresheet twice.
Now that we have done away with Aigle Noir, we move on to our next opponent, USM Alger. The last time that Gor played against this team was during the group stages of last season’s CAF Confederation Cup. Gor lost to the Algerians 2-1 on aggregate and were subsequently knocked out of the competition.
If the Kenyans can manage to beat this Algerian team this time around, Gor would have earned its place in the group stages of the CAF championship for the first time in the tournament’s history.
Their chances might improve significantly as reports have emerged that the Algerian team might not be able to continue with their CAF Championship journey due to financial constraints.
However, this does not mean that Gor should rest easy. If the matches proceed, then the Kenyan side needs to be ready as ever to exact revenge on the Algerians for last season’s thumping in the CAF Confederation.
- Threat at goal
Gor was impressive at goal in the second round of the preliminary stages, and I hope they can show the same excellence going forward.
I’m praying that Kipkirui can replicate his performance against the Burundians when playing against USM Alger in their upcoming CAF first-round match. Now, that will be a pleasure to watch!
There is also the brilliant new signing, Dickson Ambundo, who managed to add his name to the scoresheet during his full debut as a Gor player. He also provided the assist to Omondi’s goal.
Boniface Omondi who was lethal as a midfielder against Aigle Noir, providing an assist as well as scoring the fifth goal for his team, should also be in excellent form to put the much-needed pressure on the Algerian defense.
He did have a chance to open the scoring at the beginning of the game and give his team the earliest of leads, but, he squandered the opportunity. I hope he will not be as wasteful in the upcoming match against the Algerians.
Hopefully, Francis Afiriye will be better at threatening goal than what we witnessed during the match against Bandari.
Areas to Be Concerned About
Aigle Noir were finally able to score a consolation game in the 77th minute mainly because of a miscommunication between the defense. This can prove quite catastrophic against a strong team such as USM Alger, which is bound to take swift advantages of such opportunities whenever they present themselves.
The defense, under the capable leadership of Joash Onyango, needs to bring its A-game against the Algerians. Any porosity on this end and Gor’s goose is cooked for sure!
Gor Mahia have just recently signed their new goalkeeper, David Mapigano, and he has been playing well as witnessed in his performance against Aigle Noir in the CAF preliminaries, and against Bandari in the Super Cup final.
We’ll just have to wait and see if he has the mettle to withstand Alger’s threatening forwards including the likes of Aymen Mahious, and Oualid Ardji. These two were critical to their team’s defeat over Sonidep of Nigeria in the 2nd round of the CAF preliminary match.
Not too much to worry about here as the new defensive midfielder, Tobias Otieno, impressed in the Super Cup final. He has the speed that Ernest Wendo lacks, which is a good thing, as it helps temper the opponent’s counter-attack, as well as helps on the break.
The only issue with the former Sony Sugar midfielder is that his timing when it comes to tackles is a problem, and as seen in their match against Bandari, this will result in several bookings if he does not improve on his timing.
He and Muguna should also work on improving their communication, and perfecting their passes for a more effective midfield collaboration.
With those few remarks, it’s going to be an entertaining round of matches to watch as September unfolds. Good luck to Gor Mahia.
we are yet to determine if the Algerians will be able to make it to their match with Gor, so, K’ogalo fans can breathe easy for the moment, and just focus on the KPL.