Gor Mahia travelled to Limbe, Cameroon for their CAF Confederation Cup playoff second leg match against New Stars de Doula at Omnisport Stadium on Sunday.
The squad of 18 players and officials arrived in the beach town located in western Cameroon off Atlantic Ocean on Friday at around 3.00pm Kenyan time after covering about 80KM on road from Douala.
They managed to train twice, a light session on Friday to shake off jet lag and on the eve of the game when they managed to have a feel of the match venue.
They also found time to sample Seme beach, just next to their hotel, and enjoy its black sand beaches.
The team has been under tight security with army and police officers guarding them round the clock. Cameroon is politically unstable due to conflict in the English speaking regions. This has posed security challenge in the country dominated by French speakers.
K’Ogalo edged out New Stars 2-1 in the first leg and will need at least a draw to sail through to the group stage of the second tier continental championship for the second time on the trot.
The coach Hasan Oktay’s side made the trip without skipper Harun Shakava and his defense partner Joash Onyango who are both serving two-match bans over misconduct.
Also out of the tie is midfielder Kenneth Muguna, who is having disciplinary issues with the club.
Charles Momanyi and Joachim Oluoch are expected to be relied upon to seal the gap at the back. The duo were solid in the first leg of the tie played last week at the Kasarani Stadium.
Oktay has reiterated the importance of the game for both Gor Mahia and the country. Speaking to Kahawa Tungu from Limbe, the Cypriot said they are committed to making it to the round of 16.
“The game is very important not just for Gor Mahia fans but also for Kenyan football and the aim and focus is to reach the group stage and we are working hard to achieve this.”
He is hopeful that the hot and humid weather in Limbe will not affect the players.
New Stars, who are angling to reach the round of 16 for the first time in their history and become the first Cameroon club to do so in five years after Coton Sport, will be without goalkeeper Kibyen Patrick and defender Orian Jores, who are both suspended with two yellow cards each.
The coach Gerald Mbimbi outfit will however welcome back defender Medjo Aristide from injury.
The players have been promised additional bonus if they beat Gor Mahia after Cameroon’s new sports minister Narcisse Moulle Kombi gave the club $51,000.
New Stars are winless at home in their last three games and are yet to score; they will thus need to dig deep to upset a Gor Mahia side that has started to pick form after a slow start to the season.
K’Ogalo thumped Mt. Kenya United 4-1 in a league match on Wednesday with Ugandan import Erisa Ssekisambu hitting a hat-trick.
The game will kick-off at 6.00pm Kenyan time and may be broadcasted live on state broadcaster CRTV, according to unconfirmed reports.
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