Gor Mahia captain Harun Shakava has rued the absence of lead strikers Jacques Tuyisenge and Dennis Oliech during Wednesday’s Caf Confederation Cup’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Petro Atletico.
Tuyisenge and Oliech starred as the Kenyan champions easily defeated Egypt’s Zamalek 4-2 in their opening Group ‘D’ match of this competition in Nairobi last week.
This duo was – however – missing in action during Wednesday’s game in Luanda owing to suspension and a foot injury respectively.
“Every team has got dependable players and so yes, we missed them. They (Tuyisenge and Oliech) are currently on form and I am certain they would have made a difference here,” explained the burly Shakava.
At the Estadio 11 de Novembro, Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay replaced Tuyisenge and Oliech with Francis Mustafa and Erissa Ssekisambu.
But the two foreign strikers appeared to struggle to break down a resolute Angolan rear-guard which was manned by the agile Elber in goal.Infact, it is only after the introduction of rookie Kenyan forward Nicholas Kipkirui that Gor suddenly looked dangerous.
The former Zoo Kericho player ended up scoring a last-gasp consolation for the visitors, a strike that ensures the Kenyan side occupy second place in this four-team group.
With trips to Cairo and Algiers looming for K’Ogalo, Shakava believes it is the home form which will ultimately determine the team’s chances of making it to the quarter-finals of this money-spinning tournament.
“Firstly, we have to cut out the mistakes at the back because at this level you are promptly punished. Next, we need to win all our home games, if you look at the other results keenly, everybody seemed to have won at home.”
“We also have to reduce the mistakes at the back because at this level, you are promptly punished for giving the ball away in your own half.”
Gor’s loss, coupled with that one-all draw between hosts Zamalek and Algeria’s NA Hussein Dey in Cairo, leaves the Kenyan champions second in this group with three points from two games, a point behind the Algerians.
The Angolan club is third with a similar number of points as Gor Mahia, but with an inferior goal difference, whilst the Egyptian club is surprisingly ranked last.
In other selected results of this competition, Zambia’s Nkana FC, which is home to Kenya internationals Musa Mohammed and Duncan Otieno, defeated Sudan’s Al Hilal Omudurman 2-1 in Kitwe.
But then, another Zambian team Zesco United, which is home to the Kenyan trio Jesse Were, David Owino and Anthony Okumu wasn’t as lucky. It lost 2-1 to Asante Kotoko in Kumasi.
Gor Mahia will hope to have Oliech and Tuyisenge available ahead of the next assignment away to NA Hussein Day in Algeria on February 24.