Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Gor Mahia FC. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real analytic results as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the club.
As the clock ticks down to K’Ogalo’s highly-anticipated CAF CL opener against Burundi’s Black Eagles, many followers and football fans are left guessing, and probably worried, how the back to back Kenyan champions are likely to line up against the Burundian side.
A couple of days ago, everyone seemed so content with the squad after the release of a 23 man CAF list. However, it is now official that of the 23 players, only 15 will take part in the first leg of the preliminary encounter. This reminds K’Ogalo folklore of the incomplete Rayon Sports that bundled the team out of the CAF CC tourney in August 2018 at the MISC Kasarani.
Despite the setback, Steven Pollack has enough at stake for the tie. He has had a couple of days with the boys and whichever formation he opts for, the gaffer will definitely play an open gain.
In my opinion, a 4-2-3-1 formation is most likely, but this could shift to 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 from time to time.
The experienced and calm Boniface Oluoch has not traveled to Bujumbura. This leaves us with Frederick and new boy Mapigano. Frederick had a taste of continental football with the team last season so that would work to his advantage. However, going by Mapigano’s exemplary preseason performance, I would choose him over Frederick. The former Singida United custodian was a marvel to watch both in the previous CECAFA and Sportpesa Shield tournaments.
Joash Onyango and Charles Momanyi will certainly pair up at the heart of the defense. The defense has got a boost by the return from injury of Shafiq Batambuze. The sensational Ugandan defender will most definitely take up his left back position from youngster Geoffrey Ochieng.
Wellington Ochieng’ is the only natural right back in the Bujumbura-bound squad. He has not had lots of experience on the international platform so Samuel Onyango is a better fit for the right back position. Samuel played a couple of games in this year’s CECAFA tournament under ex coach Hassan Oktay and performed remarkably well. Unfortunately, the Oktay-era is done and dusted.
Tobias and Lawrence Juma will both start in front of the defenders to help in creating the transition. Midfield maestro Kenneth Muguna will captain the team from a more attacking role in the midfield. His creativity will be needed for an endless ball supply to the forwards.
It is almost certain that in the absence of trio consisting of Denis the menace, Afriyie and Gnamien, ex Zoo FC talisman Nicolas Kipkurui will lead the search for goals. He will most probably be flanked by homeboy Boniface Omondi and the Tanzanian Ambundo.
Maurice Ojwang, Ivorian Gnamien Yikpei and Ghanian Francis Afriyie will miss due to late registration. Celebrated striker Dennis Oliech, Curtis Wekesa and Philemon Otieno are all nursing injuries with Philemon having sustained a knock in the forgettable Kenya vs Tanzania fixture.
Hard-tackling defensive midfielder Ernest Wendo will also miss out due to bookings from previous CC ties.