Lack of midfield presence costs Gor in Kagame Cup opener against Red Arrows

10th July 2024

Gor succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against the reigning Zambian champions.

  • K'Ogalo are in Group B alongside Red Arrows, Sudanese giants Al Hilal and Djibouti outfit Djibouti Telkom FC
  • James Chamanga scored the all-important goal for the Zambians.
  • K'Ogalo face Djibouti Telecom in their second Group B match on Saturday.

Record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia had the undesired start to the CECAFA Kagame Cup 2024 as they succumbed to a 0-1 defeat against Zambian opposition Red Arrows in their Group B opener.

In the match staged at the Azam Complex in Chamazi, Tanzania on Wednesday night, K'Ogalo's lack of midfield presence proved to be a huge stumbling block as James Chamanga bagged the all-important goal for the Zambians.

"It was a tough game for us, especially in the opening 25 minutes where Red Arrows controlled proceedings. We managed to fix some issues and regained balance but they played better than us.

Play here and stand a chance of winning the over 12 Million SportPesa Midweek Jackpot

At half-time, we rectified some issues and we came out much better in terms of our ball circulation and ball possession.

Unfortunately, we were defeated but it was my first game. We still need time for the players to understand me and for us to work on a wide range of things," Gor Mahia head coach Leo Neiva, who oversaw his first match since joining the club at the start of July, remarked after the game.

The Brazilian tactician handed new signing Samuel Kapen his first start at the club with the 23/24 Golden Boot winner Benson Omalla leading the line.

The game got off to a slow start with both sides failing to produce any substantial attempt up until the 18th minute when Omalla's header, from a Musa Masika corner, provided the game's first half chance.

ALSO READ: Firat touts former Gor Mahia defender as the next Harambee Stars breakthrough talent

However, it was Red Arrows who had territorial advantage as they forced Gor Mahia to camp deep in their half as they struggled to get their midfield trio of Lawrence Juma, Masika and Alpha Onyango to effect the game.

With Red Arrows ramping up the pressure, Gor were lucky not to go behind just minutes before the break as Geoffrey 'Simiti' Ochieng made a goal-line clearance following a Kevin Omondi save.

The Kenyan outfit then had a chance to take a smash-and-grab lead at the halfway interval but Omalla missed badly his free header at the back post.

K'Ogalo came out for the second half a much better side especially with the introduction of new boy Chris Akena who replaced Masika in the middle of the park.

ALSO READ: Harambee Stars should easily qualify for 2025 AFCON, says former Kenyan international

The Ugandan almost made an instant impact just two minutes later after latching on a loose ball in the area but his tame shot was comfortably gobbled up by the Red Arrows custodian.

The Zambians soon regained control of proceedings and were unlucky not to break the deadlock in the 66th minute as Ackim Mumba's shot just cannoned off the upright after the winger easily dispatched Philemon Otieno with some silky foot work.

Their hard work finally bore fruit in the 73rd minute when Chamanga found himself at the right place to tap the ball home after Gor failed to make a proper clearance.

That proved to be the goal that would separate the two sides at the full time whistle.

ALSO READ: Athletics coaches championing change in Iten win 500,000 through Tujiamini Gold Award by SportPesa