Gor Mahia FC skipper Kenneth Muguna believes they will go far with self belief, after seeing the team sail to the first round of the CAF Champions League preliminary stages courtesy of a dominant 5-1 thrashing of Burundian champions Aigle Noir on Sunday 25 September.
Steven Pollack’s men, initially held to a barren draw in Bujumbura by the Black Eagles, produced a stellar showing at a stage, many thought the current youthful side would struggle.
Muguna set the ball rolling in just the seventh minute; a cross intended for Nicholas Kipkurui was deflected into Aigle Noir’s net by a defender. This was the much-needed start, he says.
“We needed a good start and I’m happy it started with me. Playing the second leg at home sometimes has demerits in terms of pressure so we needed to start well and get our feet firmly on the ground,” he tells Soka.
With last season’s Champions League regulars having made moves away from the club, Pollack stuck to his eleven that edged Bandari FC in the Kenyan Premier League Super Cup a week ago, Tobias Otieno, Lawrence Juma and Muguna charged with everything that would happen in the midfield.
Upfront was Nicholas Kipkurui, hoping to fit into Jacques Tuyisenge’s boots- and maybe he has. Two goals from the former Zoo FC man gave Gor Mahia the edge heading into the break. There was little in the game for the visitors, so says the captain.
”In football, you make use of your chances because you never know what the opponent will do with theirs. So even at 3-0, we still told ourselves that all the other chances that would come should be converted,” he continues.
Dickson Ambundo’s first goal for the club came in the second half- one that made it 4-0, and later on, Boniface Omondi for 5-0.
Aigle Noir knew the tie was well out of reach by the time they pulled one back- a 75th-minute goal, that pointed more to Gor’s complacency than to the visitor’s urge to nick something out of the tie.
The 5-1 win takes Gor Mahia to yet another clash against Algerian side USM Alger in the final round before teams head into the group stages.
On Gor’s return to the CAF competitions’ group stages two years back, USM Alger were coach Dylan Kerr’s opposition alongside Rayon Sport of Rwanda and Young Africans SC of Tanzania.
USM Alger edged Niger side AS SONIDEP 5-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round.