Gor Mahia away and Bandari at home as continental club action returns

The ultimate and penultimate qualifying rounds for the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup group stages will kick off from Friday 13 September with the first leg fixtures that will run through the weekend.

Kenya’s representatives Gor Mahia and Bandari FC will be in action as the race to grace the two tournament’s group stages heats up.

Gor, in the Champions League, will be away to Algeria’s USM Alger on Sunday while Bandari, in the Confed Cup, will play host to Tunisia’s Ben Guerdane on Saturday.

USM 2018 loss

Gor played the Algerian’s in the groups stages of the 2018 Confed Cup and drew 0-0 in Nairobi before suffering a 2-1 loss in Algiers, a loss that was detrimental as it denied them the chance to qualify for the knockout round for the first time in the team’s history, though they would attain that fete a year later.

The two matches are of historical importance for both sides. Having become the first Kenyan team to reach the group stages of the Confed Cup and doing it twice in succession for the last two seasons, Gor are aiming to replicate the same and become the first team from the country to play in the Champions League proper.

USM Alger’s Amir Sayoud (L) and Gor Mahia’s Joash Onyango (R) vie for the ball during the two teams’ CAF Confederation Cup group stage fixture played at the 5 Juillet Stadium in Algeria on 29 July 2018.

Bandari on their part have already made a piece of history as they have never been this far in continental football and they will be hoping to add on to that after the round concludes.

Gor defeated Burundi’s Aigle Noir over two-legs in the previous round while Bandari progressed past Sudan’s Al Ahli Shandi.

Poor run

Gor’s numbers while playing away in the CL do not make for particular good reading as Kenya’s most successful club has not won away in 10 matches, since their return to Africa’s premier club competition back in 2014.

In those 10 matches, Gor have suffered defeat eight times with their worst loss being a 5-0 drubbing by Esperance in March of 2014.

North Africa in particular has not been a good hunting ground for K’Ogalo who in their last three trips there, both in the CL and CC, have conceded 10 goals while scoring just one in return.

Bandari’s Yema Mwana (Centre) is challenged for the ball by Al Ahli Shandi players in the two teams’ CAF CC, first-round – first-leg tie that ended 0-0 at the MISC Kasarani on 10th August 2019 (PIC: Bandari)

The Green Army will be hoping this poor return changes starting with the game against USM.

For Bandari, a first ever win in continental football awaits them as in their four matches thus far since their 2016 debut, the coastal outfit have only managed three draws.

Bernard Mwalala’s men qualified for this round on away goals after holding Al Shandi to a 1-1 draw away in Sudan after the two sides had played out a drub 0-0 stalemate in Nairobi.

A win for them against the Tunisian’s in both legs will see them qualify for the 3rd and final round of the qualifiers to reach the group stages.

2016

In 2016, Bandari, then under legendary tactician Twahir Muhiddin, exited the Confed Cup in the first round at the hands of Congolese outfit Saint Eloi Lupopo who claimed a 2-0 home win before holding The Dockers to a 0-0 draw in Nairobi.

The return-leg fixtures for both Bandari and Gor will be played in two-weeks’ time.