NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – Ahead of tonight’s crucial CAF Confederation Cup return leg match pitting Kenyan champions Gor Mahia and hosts RS Berkane of Morocco, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has sent Sh1 million to K’Ogalo players for upkeep.
This is after the players, who have gone months without allowances and winning bonuses reached out to the Governor, following the disarray that they encountered travelling to the North African country.
“I was touched by the plight of Gor Mahia players after they reached out to me for assistance. I wish the team success in their match,” Sonko said.
K’Ogalo nearly missed the flight due to unpaid tickets, but the government came to its intervention on the 11th hour.
The record 17-time Kenyan Premier League champions, was forced to travel in two batches with the last that had most starting X1 players departing on the eve of the Sunday match.
However, the second batch that left for a six-hour flight to Doha from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Saturday, had a nine-hour lay-over in the Qatari capital before departing for Marrakech.
They departed the Hamad International Airport in Doha on Sunday morning at approximately 1am for another 10 hour flight to Marrakech. From Marrakech, they connected to Berkane, 848km away and are expected to arrive minutes to kick-off.
By mid-day, only eight players, head coach Hassan Oktay and his assistant Zedekiah Otieno had arrived in Berkane for the game and if the remaining players will not have arrived by the time the 10pm EAT scheduled kick-off, then Gor will be forced to play with the eight players only.
“It is tough on us as players because of this arrangement. We will not have time to rest well before the game but we will go in and battle. I think there should be better planning next time because this is a crucial match,” one of the players who sought anonymity told Capital Sport.
Gor find themselves with the tide against them as they look to overturn a 2-0 defeat at home last weekend to make the impossible possible and qualify to the semi-finals.
Before the first leg, Gor was similarly embroiled in troubles with the players refusing to train two days to the game due to unpaid allowances and they had to be convinced to come to the stadium in the morning of the match.
With this obstacles now going their way, Gor are psychologically bombarded as they look to go in and score three goals to tilt the tie in their favor.
But, despite that, head coach Hassan Oktay who will be back in the touchline remained confident they can overturn. “We can’t give up. I don’t give up. That’s part of my philosophy. We will go there and fight and see if we can get a good result,” the tactician stated.
While Oktay and skipper Harun Shakava will be returning from their one game suspensions, the side will still be without Jacques Tuyisenge, Ernest Wendo and Shafik Batambuze who are serving one more ban.
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