by MESHACK KISENGE
Gor Mahia forward Nicholas Kipkirui has tipped the club to replicate their last year’s triumph over Algeria’s NA Hussein Dey when they face champions CR Belouizdad in the first leg of the CAF Champions League’s first round this Wednesday in Algiers.
Gor beat Hussein Dey 2-1 on aggregate during last year’s CAF Confederations Group ‘D’ encounter and Kipkirui believes the current crop of players are capable of beating the highly-rated North African opponents and book a place in the group stages.
The forward called upon his teammates to work as a unit in a bid to reap a positive result in Algiers before completing the job in Nairobi in the return match set for January 5.
Kipkurui’s goal against Rwanda’s APR in the return leg of the preliminary round played at the Nyayo Stadium last month saw Gor past the first hurdle.
“Playing in North Africa has always been difficult but we are able to get a positive result there. We did it last year against Hussein Dey and we have the ability to do it again on Wednesday. If we play as a unit, we will no doubt frustrate them at their backyard and eliminate them in the return leg in Nairobi,” said the former national U23 player.
Despite missing the services of their skipper Kenneth Muguna,Kipkirui expressed confidence with his replacements whom he challenged to seize the moment and prove themselves at the big stage.
The creative midfielder will miss the trip to Algeria due to a rib injury borne during the APR game and escalated during their last week’s midweek league clash against Tusker at the Moi Stadium,Kasarani.
The former Most Valuable Player was withdrawn at halftime against the brewers after he felt uncomfortable and was consequently expunged from the traveling party.
“He is arguably the most creative player in the squad and a leader too but we have able replacements whom I believe will rise to the occasion during the match and give the technical bench selection headache going forward,” said the former Zoo Kericho FC player
Gor were scheduled to jet out to Tunis last night amid an hour stop over in Cairo, Egypt. They will connect from Tunis to Algiers by train due to the existing airspace closure by the Algerian government to contain the spread of coronavirus.
“The Algerian airspace is still closed which means we can not fly in. Instead we will fly to Cairo then connect to Tunis by air before leaving for Algiers by train,” said the club’s treasurer Dolfina Odhiambo.