Gor Mahia's destiny in their hands

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Aug 15, 2014
  • Gor Mahia striker Dan Sserunkuma will be one of the key players today against APR. (SNA File Photo)

It is the business end in Pool B of the Cecafa Kagame Cup club championship with two matches on the cards.

Of big interest to Kenyans will be the match between Gor Mahia and Rwanda 14-time Rwanda champions APR. The first match is between Atletico (Burundi) and Telecom (Djibouti) paving way for a formality Pool C match between Police (Rwanda) and Somalia's Benadir.

The arithmetic is simple, Gor Mahia need a win which will see them collect the first points after losing their opening two matches against KCCA and Atletico. Any other result will see the doors shut and bags packed.

On Thursday, the matches played in pouring rain at the regional Nyamirambo Stadium saw Ayele Benyam score a goal for Adama City in the 82nd minute as the Ethiopian side shared the spoils with Atlabara from South Sudan.

Atlabara who held Tanzania Mainland champions Azam to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday led 1-0 at halftime from a goal in added time of the first half by Ajak Sebit. They have three points from three matches and a glimmer of hope for a quarter final berth.

It is still a tough call for the Leo Adraa-coached side whose last match is against Rayon Sport on Saturday in their last match. They have raised eyebrows by holding the big guns, Azam and KMKM.

As South Sudan’s champions, Atlabara made a 2014 Africa Champions League debut against Berekum Chelsea of Ghana who reached the Group stage in 2012. They were beaten on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate.

Influential players

Atlabara has two influential players namely goalkeeper Jecko Mpenzi Mpenzi from DR Congo and miedfielder Hamza Arachi Olema from Uganda. John Nelson Mandela is the baby of the team at 17.

Atlabara is the second South Sudan side t0 play in the Cecafa Kagame Cup after Wau Salaam in 2011.

Adama City lost their opening match 1-2 to Rayon Sport and drew 1-1 with Zanzibar’s Kikosi Maalum cha Kuzuia Magendo (KMKM) on Tuesday.

Their second draw with Atlabara makes it impossible to qualify even if they beat Tanzania Mainland’s Azam in their last match on Saturday.  But, Adama City showed a good touch of the ball in their opening matches.

The Ethiopian side has two of the youngest players in the tournament one of whom is star midfielder Tekele Alemayehu Legese 18 and reserve goalkeeper Jafar Delil Seid, also 18.

They are a middle-of-the-table side in Ethiopia and replaced Coffee FC. Some of the top Ethiopian sides are St. Georges, Coffee, Dedebit and Defence. Despite their high profile, Ethiopian sides have never won the Cecafa Club Cup or even reached the final.

Adama City play their home matches at a 4,000 capacity stadium, Abebe Bikila Stadium named after the 1960 Olympic champion Abebe Bikila.

Rayon Sport leads Pool A with seven points with Azam on five. The Tanzania Mainland outfit need to win their last match to be assured of qualification to the quarter final.

Rayon Sport who won the Cecafa Kagame Cup in 1998 is the most popularly-supported club in Rwanda and have won the championship seven times, half the number won by the current champions APR.

They have five foreign players two each from DR Congo and Togo. Other foreigners are from Cameroon and Burundi. Eight of the players in this team were in the squad of the 2013 Kagame Cup in North Darfur, Sudan.