Football: African Club competitions-Gor Mahia, Tusker FC recruit heavily, fired up for their continental campaign


Kenyan Tusker league defending champions Tusker FC will play Seychelles Barclays league division one champions St Michel United in the preliminary round of Africa’s ultimate club competition and Gor Mahia will meet Land Marine Cup winners Anse Reunion in the Caf Confederation Cup.

St Michel will play hosts to Tusker FC on Saturday February 16 before travelling to Nairobi for the return leg encounter a fortnight later (March 2).

If they prevail against Kenya Premier League champions Tusker FC, St Michel will earn the right to face Cairo giants and seven-time Caf Champions League winners Al Ahly in the first round of the competition with a prize-money of US $1.5 million.

La Digue-based Anse Reunion, who edged Côte d’Or 3-2 in the Land Marine Cup final, will meet Gor Mahia in the preliminary round of the Caf Confederation Cup.

They will travel to Kenya for the first leg encounter on Saturday February 16 at the City Stadium where they have not lost in one and a half years, before playing the return leg at Stad Linite on Saturday March 2.

A win on aggregate score will see Anse Reunion play Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (Enppi FC) of Egypt, who have been given a bye, in the first round of the competition in mid-March and April.
Winners of the now disbanded Africa Cup Winners' Cup in 1987, Gor Mahia beat Sofapaka 3-0 in post-match penalties after a barren draw at the Nyayo National stadium, Nairobi to lift the FKF Cup and book their tickets to the Caf Confederation Cup tournament.

Gor Mahia fired up for their continental campaign

Gor Mahia, who finished second to Tusker FC last season with only one point separating them, will play Kariobangi Sharks in a build-up match on Saturday February 9 after the Super Cup against Tusker FC was rescheduled.

Gor Mahia

They reached last weekend’s newly introduced Kenya Power Charity Cup final and lost 5-6 on penalties to Sofapaka after the score was locked at 1-1 at the end of normal time.

This weekend, Gor Mahia, who are also the defending champions of the Kenya Football Federation Cup and the Top Eight competition, will play league champions Tusker FC in the DSTV /Supersport Cup at the Moi International Sports Centre.

To bolster his team for a very challenging 2013 season, Gor Mahia’s Croatian coach Zradvko Logarusic has recruited Ugandan defender Israel Egue from Kina Young in Uganda, brought back former player David Otieno (Western Stima), goalkeeper Zachary Onyango (Coffee Board), Innocent Mutiso (Mathare United), Paul Kiongera (KCB) and Nigerian Abbey Natty (Muhoroni Youth).

Nigerian Natty was last season named the young player of the year by the Kenyan Premier League after a great season at Muhoroni. This award made him a top target for several clubs but Gor Mahia eventually won in the bid for his signature.

Gor Mahia are also expected to bring in former fans darling George Odhiambo ‘Blackberry’ and ex-Tusker FC midfielder Chrispin Olando.

Coach Logarusic has said his charges are fired up for their continental campaign that kicks off mid-February against Anse Reunion.

He already sees his team in the first round of the Caf Confederation Cup against Egyptian side ENPPI.

"The Cup may be coming too early for us since we have just started our pre-season but we will go step by step. We will give them (ENPPI) respect but they must also respect Kenyan football and Kenyan players. First, we must pass the Seychelles test and then we go to Egypt and that is where I hope we shall prove that Kenya does not deserve to be position 126 on the Fifa rankings," Logarusic said.

Meanwhile, coach Logarusic has said he doesn’t want to have anything to do with Brazilian striker Giovani Rodriguez signed by the club. He noted that Giovanni, the centre of controversy between the club’s technical bench and management, needs to improve on his fitness before he can be included in the team.

Tusker FC will do well in Champions League says coach

As for Kenyan league defending champions Tusker FC’s tactician Robert Matano, he has been working round the clock to strengthen the squad.

Tusker FC

He has recruited a record 16 players after getting rid of a similar number last season as they get set to defend the league title.

The team first brought in four Ugandan players – Andrew Ssekakyombya, Kiiza Martin, Awuton Khalid and Robert Omunuk – from the Ugandan Super League. All four are said to have impressed in training and during pre-season matches the club have taken part in the Mapinduzi Cup in Tanzania and Zanzibar. The Mapinduzi Cup commemorates Zanzibar’s revolution of January 12, 1964.

Tusker FC have been using the three-week tour of Tanzania to find cohesion of a club with almost a dozen new signings in the run-up to a new Tusker Premier League season and the Caf Champions League fixtures against St Michel.

Other than the four Ugandans, Ruaraka-based Tusker FC have also acquired strikers Jesse Were, Kennedy Opiyo and Andrew Tololwa (Mathare United), Titus Wamalwa and Victor Maji (Karuturi Sports), Edwin Ombasa (relegated Rangers), Justin Monda (Western Stima), Ishmael Dunga (Sony Sugar), Moses Arita (Thika United), Michael Olunga (Liberty), Mark Odhiambo (Mbotela Kamaliza) and Jeremy Bright (Ligi Ndogo).

Tusker FC coach Robert Matano has said his team “will do well in Champions League competition”.

The Kenyan Premier League champions beat fellow league side AFC Leopards 2-1 on Sunday at Nyayo Stadium in a high profile match.

"That was our last build-up match and now we need to concentrate on the upcoming Champions League fixture because of the limited time remaining. It was a good match for us because it felt like being away considering that Leopards are not a push-over and they have many fans behind them," Matano told

Matano further said the match helped him see weaknesses in his side and will embark working on them before they begin their Champions League campaign.

"When you play a team like Leopards you do not consider it as a friendly. It gives you the right competition that you need and your players are forced to show what they are capable of. For us, it has helped us identify weaknesses and areas requiring improvement."

Matano is also impressed with his new signings ahead of the season opener, pointing out that they have already proven themselves.


Compiled by G. G.



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