We take on Algerian side CR Belouizdad on Saturday, December 26 for a place in the group stages of the 2021 CAF Champions League.
We dismissed Rwanda’s APR 4-3 on aggregate on the preliminary round to book a date with the Algerians.
Though Algeria has not been a good hunting ground for K’Ogalo, losing all three of the matches they have played there, they will be hoping a positive result will set them up for a good home return fixture where our form has generally been good against North African opposition.
Belouizdad will only be the third Algerian side Gor Mahia has faced, previously facing USM Algers (drawn 1, lost 3) and NA Hussein Day (won 1 lost 1), and we are hoping to get first positive result in North Africa since holding Esperance Sportive de Tunis 2-2 way back in 1987.
Founded in 1962, CR Belouizdad has played in the Algerian top league for 55 seasons and won the Algerian league six times. Their best campaign in the Champions League saw them play in the group stages in 2001 while previously in 1996 they managed to reach the semi-finals of the Africa Cup Winners Cup, a trophy previously won by Gor Mahia in 1987.
Coincidentally, they lost in the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup to Horoya in 1979, who were then eliminated by Gor Mahia in the semi-finals.
Gor Mahia will be banking on Nicholas’ Kipkirui’s knack for scoring in continental competitions. Only Peter Dawo, Jacques Tuyisenge, Andrew Obunga and Allan Thigo have score more goals for the club in continental competitions.
Three players will be missing the trip to Algeria – Captain Kenneth Muguna is out with a rib injury, midfielder Bernard Ondiek is out and John Ochieng too is still recovering.