By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Kenyan giants Gor Mahia have reportedly stepped up preparations for their Caf Champions League encounter against Nyasa Big Bullets, describing the Malawian side as a tough team.
The two teams meet on November 27/28 in Nairobi, Kenya, in the first leg of the elite continental competition.
Mahia have been serious in their preparations, with a tour of England—where they lost 4-0 to Premier League side Everton in the Sportpesa Cup at Goodson Park last week— featuring high on their list of recent matches.
Bullets have also stepped up preparations and will be flying to Tanzania Wednesday to face Simba before taking on Zanzibar’s JKU, who they beat 2-0 in a friendly. Both games will be played this weekend.
In his reaction to Friday’s draw that pitted his side against Bullets, Mahia Chief Executive Officer Lordvick Aduda told the club’s official website that the team would switch gears to prepare for the People’s Team after returning from England.
The website reported that Mahia are expecting a tough test against Bullets in the Caf Champions League.
“Caf Champions League draw [results] are out. We know our opponents and the duty ahead is to prepare well for the tournament,” Aduda was quoted as saying.
Mahia have also boosted their squad with striker Nicholas Kipkirui who netted 22 goals in his two-year career with Kenya Premier League side Zoo Kericho.
Kipkirui has scored 13 goals for Mahia this season. Mahia have also signed Pascal Ogweno from Kariobangi Sharks.
But Bullets failed to beef up their squad after failing to beat the November 8 deadline for registration of new players.
The club was planning to get several local players, including Masters Security lethal forward Adeboye Babatunde, on loan.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s departure, Bullets Coach Kalisto Pasuwa said they need to intensify preparations ahead of the clash with the Kenyans.
“The matches in Tanzania and Zanzibar will give us good preparations as we look forward to meeting Gor Mahia,” Pasuwa said.
Gor Mahia have won the Kenyan Premier League 17 times, four more than their rivals AFC Leopards. Former prime minister Raila Odinga is the team’s patron.
Mahia and Bullets last met in the Cecafa Club Championship in 1982. The match ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Bullets have gone three years without taking part in the Champions League.
When they participated in 2015, they exited the tournament in the first round after losing 6-2 on aggregate to Sudanese giants Al Hilal.
Silver Strikers will represent the country in the Confederations Cup as they face Gabonese side Association Omnisport Center Mberi Sport.
The Central Bankers Coach, Lovemore Fazili, said the technical panel was due to meet the club’s executive committee to finalise groundwork for their preparations.
“But we expect to play some friendlies outside the country next week. We are also likely to play more friendlies enroute to Gabon,” Fazili said.
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