Gor Mahia new coach Steven Pollack will be going into the new Kenya Premier League with positive vibes after they qualified for the first round of the CAF Champions League.
K’Ogalo striker Nicholas Kipkurui was the mastermind in Gor’s 5-1 thrashing Burundi’s Aigle Noir in the preliminaries of this season’s Caf Champions League at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Kipkurui scored a first-half brace to lead set the pace for K’Ogalo to finish the match with a win.
Nicholas Kipkurui netted in the eighth and 16th minutes and contributed to an own-goal in the 37th. Dickson Ambundo added to K’Ogalo’s course with a 66th-minute strike off a Boniface Omondi cross. The diminutive Omondi completed the rout but Benjamin Gasongo scored a consolation for the visitors in the 77th minute to deny Gor a clean sheet.
This win gives Pollack confidence going into his first KPL match in charge of Gor Mahia this weekend. Gor Mahia have a tough fixture in the first round of matches as they are poised to play 11-time KPL champions Tusker. The brewers have been busy during the transfer window and have made 7 signings including former Gor Mahia duo George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo and Humphrey Mieno.
Gor Mahia will be looking to defend its title for the third consecutive season. K’Ogalo, however, face stiff competition from other KPL teams that have prepared well ahead of the new season.
New league entrants Wazito FC have been termed potential league title contenders. Other contenders are AFC Leopards, Mathare FC, Tusker FC, Bandari FC, and Kariobangi Sharks. However, the title race could go either way and any other team still has a chance of making an impact this coming season.
Gor Mahia new coach is currently facing an injury crisis but has managed to work with what he has and win. Polack had 16 players at his disposal for yesterday’s match and was dealt another blow after Ugandan left-back Shafiq Batambuze, who has been away for months, picked a knee injury.
With Gor likely to renew rivalry with USM Alger of Algeria in the first round, Polack isn’t afraid of the injury crisis in his camp and the North Africans, who denied the Kenyan champions a chance to advance to the CAF Confederations Cup last year.
The Sunday result for K’ogalo also ensured a double victory for team Kenya in the first stage of the continental championship after Bandari earlier scrapped through on away goals rule following an aggregate 1-1 away to Sudan’s Al Ahli Shendy on Friday night.