CAF CL: Pollack keeps faith in youthful starting eleven away to USMA

Champions Gor Mahia Football Club will take on USM Alger of Algeria on Sunday 15 September, starting 10.45pm EAT in their second round of the CAF Champions League encounter set to be played at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida.

Coach Steven Pollack faces a North African opposition for the first time since taking over the reins at Gor but it will not be the champions’ first encounter with USMA. The two sides have locked horns before in the CAF Confederations Cup Group stages with Alger winning 2-1 at home and forcing a barren draw in Nairobi.

Pollack – 5-1 round one winner over Burundian champions Aigle Noir, has kept faith in the first eleven that has been doing duty for him over the past three matches and has in fact stuck to the one that gave him a 5-2 win over local rivals Tusker FC in Week One of the Kenyan Premier League.

David Mapigano maintains his place in goal and will be guarded by Charles Momanyi and Joash Onyango in central defense. Geoffrey Ochieng and Wellington Ochieng offer protection at the flanks.

Tobias Omondi in a past action [IMAGE- Fabian Odhiambo]

Youngster Tobias Omondi will be charged with thwarting threats just ahead of the back four and will have Captain Muguna Kenneth and Lawrence Juma aiding the task.

Upfront, Dickson Ambundo and Boniface Omondi are expected to keep USMA’s defensive flanks busy while Nicholas Kipkurui prods the center-halves for a goal.

Pollack has more ammunition in on the bench for the encounter should he require any. Defensive wise, he has Ojwang Maurice and Joachim Oluoch. Midfield kingpin Ernest Wendo also starts on the five-man bench that also has Boniface Oluoch and Samuel Onyango.

Starting XI: David Mapigano (GK), Wellington Ochieng, Geoffrey Ochieng, Charles Momanyi, Joash Onyango, Tobias Omondi, Kenneth Muguna (C), Lawrence Juma, Dickson Ambundo, Boniface Omondi, Nicholas Kipkurui.

Bench: Boniface Oluoch (GK), Joachim Oluoch Maurice Ojwang, Ernest Wendo, Samuel Onyango.