Eighteen-time Kenyan champions Gor Mahia are set for a historic football match with Al Hilal Sports Club in the battered Libyan city of Benghazi on Saturday evening.
The big kick off penciled for Martyrs of Benina stadium at 6pm Kenyan time is epic as K’Ogalo become the first team from outside Libyan borders to play on Libyan soil since a debilitating civil war broke out in 2011 and ravaged a nation once cherished by the entire African continent.
The hosts, Al Hilal, will use the game to gain competition sharpness ahead of their local top-tier league set to kick off on December 7th 2019. K’Ogalo on the other hand make full utility of the current international break to keep the players in session until the Kenyan Premier League resumes next week.
At stake for Al Hilal and probably the entire Libyan football fraternity is an expensive ban on local stadiums. Libyan teams participating in international matches are forced to host their games abroad for security fears, a precedent that leaves huge financial dents on teams and federations.
Ahead of the game Gor Mahia have a contingent of sixteen players to showcase against Al Hilal with Ivorian hit man Gnamien Yikpe hogging most of the limelight due to his derby heroics last weekend.
K’Ogalo tactician Steven Polack said he’s going into the game with utmost seriousness and hopes to see goals from his one time continental cup winners.
“As a football coach you don’t know if you will be there tomorrow so i have to take every game seriously. We will give our best even though we know very little about our opponents,” said the Englisman in a pre match press conference at Tibesti Hotel.
“I hope it will be a good match with lots of goals and my team scoring most of them. We hope this game will foster love and unity which football is about,” added he
Nasr Al Hadari, Al Hilal Manager is looking to sharpen his side with a more accomplished continental team and Gor Mahia fits the mold.
“We have played six games in the build up and so we want to test our strength against Gor Mahia to know exactly where we are. There is not much about tactics that i know about them aside from the statistics from CAF that we have looked at,” he remarked
“They have played big teams from the continent and we hope to get a good game,” added the manager
Gor Mahia will start Boniface Oluoch between the sticks with makeshift right back during last weekend’s derby Bernard Ondiek keeping his spot. Ondiek went through defensive drills in training alongside left back Geoffrey Ochieng and center backs Charles Momanyi and Joachim Oluoch who are skippering the team.