Gor Mahia confront Algeria's CR Belouizdad in first round - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 25 December 2020

Gor Mahia confront Algeria's CR Belouizdad in first round


Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia have declared an all-out war against Algerian club CR Belouizdad in their Caf Champions League first round game to be played on Saturday.

Gor left the country Thursday night for the first leg match which will be played at the August 20, 1955 Stadium in Algiers. The reverse fixture will be staged in Nairobi on January 5.

The games had been scheduled to be played on Wednesday,  but Gor Mahia failed to travel to Algiers citing inability to secure a flight to Algiers as the Algerian air space is still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team’s playing unit had also gone on strike.

However, CAF not only rescheduled the match to Boxing Day, but also got an assurance from the Algerian authorities that an evacuation flight was available for K'Ogalo to access the locked Algerian air space.

Gor’s 25-man contingent featuring 18 players and members of technical bench and officials left Nairobi at 12.55am Friday. The team was expected to arrive in Doha at 6.45am Friday morning.

After a two-hour layover, the squad is expected to leave Doha at 8.35am on a seven-hour flight which would touch down in Algiers at 3.20pm.

Gor will play the seven-time Algerian champions on Saturday at 10.45pm, and leave the North African country at 5.10am on December 28 on another evacuation flight to Doha.

Gor are expected back on December 29 and will have a week to prepare for the reverse fixture in Nairobi.

Resumed training

The record Kenyan champions got a reprieve after all the players who had been on strike turned out for training for the last two days at Camp Toyoyo grounds.

Some of the players told Nation Sport that they resumed training after the club promised to pay them two months of salary arrears.

"Even though such promises have never been fulfilled, we had agreed to resume training after the club said it doesn't have money at the moment. We have just have to play for the badge amid the sufferings. It is not easy but we will fight to get a good result in Algeria," the player who sought anonymity said.

Will not be available

However, most of the players have indicated that they will not be available for the return fixture until their dues are paid in full.

"We have rescinded our decision to go on strike because we have been prevailed upon by many people. What is affecting us at Gor is politics in the club’s leadership, which shouldn’t concern us since our job is to win games and get our salaries in return. As players, we have decided that we will not honour the return leg match unless we are paid our arrears full," said another player.

Posta Rangers coach Sammy 'Pamzo' Omollo will be on the touchline for ‘K'Ogalo’ after doing the same in the preliminary stage against APR of Rwanda.

Gor beat the Rwandan champions 4-3 on aggregate to qualify for the first round stage.

"It will be a tough game but we are sure of getting a good result away. In football everything is decided on the pitch and that is what we shall do. I loved the fighting spirit we showed against APR and that is what we shall replicate against CR Belouizdad," said Omollo.

Assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo, who has taken charge of the team’s training sessions for the past two days, said they are sure of upsetting CR Belouizdad despite problems off the pitch.

"Things have been very frosty at our camp but I know what our players can do. We have put a side all the issues and we are fully focused on the game. In everything, there are better days," said the former SoNy Sugar tactician.

Gor Mahia have a poor a way record against North African opposition. The team has not won an away game in the past three season it has played against clubs from Morocco, Algeria and Egypt in either Caf Confederation Cup or Caf Champions League.

In the 2019/20 season, Gor failed to qualify for the group stage of Caf Champions League after being thrashed by Algerian giants USM Algier 4-1 a way before losing 2-0 at home.

In the 2018/19 season, Gor beat 10-man NA Hussein Dey 2-0 at Kasarani Stadium in Group D of Caf Confederation Cup but lost the reverse fixture 1-0 in Algeria.

The same season and in the same group, Gor beat Zamalek of Egypt 4-2 at home but lost 4-0 in Alexandria in the same competition to finish runners-up in the group.

Angolan giants Petro de Atletico were also in the same group.

Gor were later knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Caf Confederation Cup by RS Berkane of Morocco. Gor lost 2-0 at home and 5-1 a way.

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