What you need to know:
- Tusker will be up against CS Sfaxien at the Nyayo National Stadium from 3pm while Gor Mahia take on AS Otoho d’Oyo at Alphonse Massemba-Debat Stadium in Brazzaville from 5.30pm
- While Tusker's game will be open to 2,000 fans, Gor Sporting Director Lordvick Aduda confirmed that their game will be played behind closed doors
- Tusker have to be at their brilliant best to carry a healthy advantage to the second leg given coach Robert Matano's poor record against North African teams
Tusker and Gor Mahia face an acid test in their quest to make it to the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup when they play CS Sfaxien of Tunisia and AS Otoho d’Oyo of Republic of Congo respectively in the second round on Sunday.
Tusker will be up against CS Sfaxien at the Nyayo National Stadium from 3pm while Gor Mahia take on AS Otoho d’Oyo at Alphonse Massemba-Debat Stadium in Brazzaville from 5.30pm.
While Tusker's game will be open to 2,000 fans, Gor Sporting Director Lordvick Aduda confirmed that their game will be played behind closed doors.
With the Kenyan top tier league expected to resume next weekend after three weeks suspension by FKF Caretaker Committee, Tusker and Gor have been keeping fit through friendly matches.
However, they will be coming up against opponents who are match fit since their respective leagues have been going on as usual.
In their last four league matches, CS Sfaxien have won twice, drawn one and lost another while Gor’ opponents AS Otoho d’Oyo have been a force to reckon with in the Congolese league where they are unbeaten at home.
Tusker have to be at their brilliant best to carry a healthy advantage to the second leg given coach Robert Matano's poor record against North African teams.
However, Matano said his squad has gelled and he will be going all out attack to avoid losing at home like in the Champions League first round match against Zamalek of Egypt on October 16. The veteran coach is expected to start the club's current top scorer Ibrahim Joshua upfront with Shami Kibwana playing behind him and Boniface Muchiri supporting from the flanks.
Joshua, a Tanzanian import who is in his first season with the brewers, is clinical in front of goal and has so far bagged five goals in all competitions.
Speedy Muchiri is expected to support him by supplying crosses inside the box while Kibwana's artistry will be key to unlocking the CS Sfaxien defence.
“We are prepared not to make the same mistakes which made us get punished against Zamelek. The players have gelled and I have instructed each of them to play their roles well. We are going for nothing less than a win,” said Matano.
Gor tactician Mark Harrison admits AS Otoho d’Oyo will be tough to crack at home even as he looks to guide K'Ogalo to the group stage for the first time since 2019.
With only 16 players available, Harrison will most likely field the same squad that thumped Al Ahly Merowe of Sudan in the first round of the competition on October 15 and will only have five players in the bench.
The impressive teenager Benson Omalla, who has four goals to his account this season will most likely start alone upfront or may be paired with either Samuel Onyango or Burundian Jules Ulimwengu.
The combative Ernest Wendo, John Ochieng’ and John Macharia are expected to start in midfield as Gad Mathews mans the posts.
“Since we arrived here, we have prepared well and expect a positive result. It is good if we make it to the group stage where we will have many options in the playing unit,” said Harrison.
While Tusker was relegated to Confederation Cup after the 5-0 aggregate loss to Zamalek, CS Sfaxien beat Nigerian Premier League side Bayelsa 5-0 on aggregate to qualify.
Gor used a lean squad in their 3-1 win over Al Ahly Merowe of Sudan on October 15 in the first leg of the first round of the competition but were awarded a walkover in the second leg.
AS Otoho were relegated to the Confederation Cup after a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Angolan side Petro de Luanda in the first round of Champions League.
Tusker probable line-up
Brian Bwire (GK) , Daniel Sakari, Hillary Wandera, Charles Momanyi, Eugene Asike, Clyde Senaji, Humphrey Mieno, Jackson Macharia, Shami Kibwana, Boniface Muchiri and Joshua Ibrahim
Gor Mahia probable line-up
Gad Mathews (GK), Harun Shakava, Frank Odhiambo, Fred Nkata, Philemon Otieno, Ernest Wendo, John Macharia, Alpha Onyango, John Ochieng’, Samuel Onyango and Benson Omalla.