Drained Gor Land In Dar In Pursuit Of SportPesa Cup Hat Trick

Jan 22 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Two-time champions arrive from Cameroon buoyed at making CAF Confed Cup group stages, promise to defend their trophy to the bitter end

SportPesa Cup Champions arrive at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Saalam, Tanzania on Tuesday, January 21, 2019. PHOTO/SPN

  • The most-awaited team and champions Gor Mahia FC finally arrived in Tanzania in the quest for a SportPesa (SP) Cup hat-trick of titles in the wee hours of Tuesday morning
  • Their touchdown at Julius Nyerere International Airport came hours before action gets underway at the National Main Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam from Tuesday (January 22) to Sunday (27)
  • Gor will take on Mbao- the SP Cup newcomers who are establishing a giant-killing reputation in the Tanzanian top flight- at 2pm

 DAR-ES-SALAAM, Tanzania- The most-awaited team and champions Gor Mahia FC finally arrived in Tanzania in the quest for a SportPesa (SP) Cup hat-trick of titles in the wee hours of Tuesday morning weary from a nine hour journey.

Their touchdown at Julius Nyerere International Airport came hours before action gets underway at the National Main Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam from Tuesday (January 22) to Sunday (27).

Fresh from punching their ticket to the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup, head coach Hassan Oktay and his squad had little time to settle with their first training session scheduled for 9am EAT.

Despite the long journey that saw them arrive in Tanzania after departing Doula, Cameroon and transiting through Nairobi, Oktay guaranteed his players would be ready for their quarterfinal opponents Mbao FC of Tanzania on Wednesday.

“I was expecting an easier match because in Kenya, we dominated the game but the chairman put in a lot money, bonus and the players tried very hard and the referees gave us a hard time.

“We did it because I told the players it was not a normal game, it was tactical. We knew in the last 20 minutes they would go long and I doubled up the defence and we got the result,” an exhausted but high-spirited Oktay recounted on their experience in Cameroon.

Gor forced a 0-0 draw in the away leg of their Confed Cup play-off against New Star de Douala FC at Limbe Stadium that sealed a 2-1 victory on aggregate on Sunday.

The Turkish Cypriot underlined the importance of the eight-team knockout competition to the record 17-time Kenyan league winners.

“We are coming here to win this as well. Every time Gor play, they play to win trophies,” he added.

His captain Harun Shakava echoes his coach noting their desire and motivation to hold on to their trophy was as alive as ever having been part of the teams that carried home the trophy in 2017 and 18.

Most expensive

“We have won this trophy twice already but this time round it will be difficult since every team has prepared well to see whether they can play Everton FC. (However) We have not come here to participate but to win.

“We have made the group stages of the Confed Cup that was a morale boost and we hope it will continue that way for the rest of the tournament,” the second man to lift the SP Cup trophy after his former teammate Musa Mohammed weighed in.

Rwanda international and club most expensive signing, Jacques Tuyisenge, assured Gor fans at home and in the diaspora they would leave nothing on the pitch in their push to win the tournament for a record third time in a row.

The striker talked up the prospect of facing compatriot and ex-Gor star forward, Meddie Kagere who traded the Kenyan giants for Tanzanian heavyweights, Simba SC following last year’s success.

“Meddie is a good player, we know him and he knows us. Most of our defenders knows how he players but if we get Simba, we shall not focus on one man but the entire team,” Tuyisenge who joined Kagere on the score sheet in last year’s 2-0 final win over Simba in Nakuru, Kenya.

His teammate and Kenya record scorer, Dennis Oliech, who is undoubtedly the most high profile player in the tournament and has had a sizzling impact since ending his two-year absence to the game returned to the land he made his name.

Then a talented teenager playing for Mathare United FC, Oliech memorably broke the hearts of Tanzanian fans when he came off the bench to score for Kenya in a 3-2 victory during the final of the 2002 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.

Rewarding career

Returning to the domestic top flight for the first time in 16 years, Oliech has already scored twice and three assists so far after signing for Gor to honour his late mother having had a rewarding career in Qatar and notably France where he played for Nantes, AJ Auxerre and AJ Ajaccio.

Besides Oliech and Tuyisenge, Gor firepower also features Ugandan Erisa Sekisambu who notched the first SPL hat-trick for Gor this term in the 4-1 thumping of Mt. Kenya United FC and Burundi man Francis Mustapha.

Gor will take on Mbao- the SP Cup newcomers who are establishing a giant-killing reputation in the Tanzanian top flight- at 2pm.

They will face the winner of the showpiece last eight clash between Simba and domestic arch rivals, AFC Leopards SC that kicks off on the same afternoon at 4pm.

Gor outclassed Simba 2-0 and Leopards 3-0 in that order to lift the 2017 and 18 SP Cup titles.

Victory saw them become the first side from their region to play Everton FC- the nine-time English champions- on their maiden tour to East Africa and at Goodison Park in each of the years they celebrated SP Cup glory.

They will be aiming to return home with their trophy to get another bite at the Blues who beat them 1-2 in Dar and 0-4 during their meetings.