Gor Mahia vs Hussein Day. Gor Mahia will now be forced to play without five important contributors to their success so far in the competition.

They have been exceptional in their entire CAF Confederations Cup campaign winning all home matches whether with 11 men or 9 men. What Gor Mahia has achieved so far in the competition has already made it to the history books of Kenyan football.

After being the first Kenyan team to qualify for the quarter-finals, the odds seem to continuously add up against the 17-time Kenyan Champions. Gor Mahia has been pitted against Moroccan club RS Berkane in the quarterfinals. The first leg of the quarterfinals is scheduled for April 7 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani while the second leg is only a week after the Stade Municipal de Berkane in Berkane, Morrocco.

In their last CAF Confed match, Gor gave their all. Players, as well as the coach, were emotionally focused on getting to the quarterfinals but this is now costing them a lot.

The match witnessed two red cards and three yellow cards as the players knew all was at stake against the Angolan giants. Gor coach Hassan Oktay was also a victim as he was sent off in the 54th minute by Moroccan referee Rédouane Jiyed for protesting too much against the match officials.

In their defence, Gor had to do what they had to do to ensure that Petro de Luanda did not win because a loss meant K’Ogalo’s exit from the continental tournament. As a result of that K’Ogalo have been punished heavily by CAF reducing their chances of making it to the semi-finals. Four first squad players will miss their first quarter-final fixture.

K’Ogalo has received yet another blow as CAF has banned Oktay for one match. In a statement released by the African football governing body, the Turkish-Cypriot is barred giving his technical advises to players during the first quarter-final fixture.

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“The coach is automatically suspended for the next match (against RS Berkane)…he is banned from sitting on the technical bench and accessing the dressing rooms,” the statement read in part.

Gor Mahia will now be forced to play without five important contributors to their success so far in the competition. Players who will be out for the first leg are Harun Shakava, Sheffik Batambuze, Jacques Tuyisenge and Ernest Wendo.

Captain Harun Shakava is leading the list of the expected absentees but will only miss the first leg of the fixture as he is clear to play in Berkane. Tuyisenge and Batambuze will be unavailable in the two-leg quarterfinal fixture after receiving two cautions in two different matches in the frame of this competition preceded by two cautions in two other different matches. Goalie Frederick Odhiambo had been feared to miss the match but Gor Mahia confirmed on Thursday that he will be available for selection against RS Berkane.

Ernest Wendo received the biggest blow as he is out for three matches for receiving two cautions in two different games followed by a one-match suspension and a send-off in the last game. If Gor will qualify for the semi-final Wendo will be out for the first leg of the semis but If Gor is eliminated from the competition then the midfielder will have to miss next season’s first game should Gor return to the continental tourney.

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K’Ogalo’s strength in the competition has been playing on home turf as they are yet to lose or even draw at Kasarani. This time round, Gor will be playing at Kasarani without five key squad members. Will they maintain their home form?

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Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected]

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