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By VINCENT OPIYO
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It’s 21 years since Kenyan champions Gor Mahia played Egyptian giants Zamalek in a Confederation of African Football (Caf) Confederation Cup fixture.

K’Ogalo won 1-0 in the first leg courtesy of a goal by the late Steve Okumu, brother to Dennis Oliech, but lost 4-0 in the second leg in Cairo to bow out at the first round.

Zamalek has won the previous three ties including the controversial 1984 encounter.

The two sides renew rivalry on Sunday afternoon in the opening group “D” game of this second-tier club championship at the 60,000-seater Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Tickets for the 4pm kick-off retail at Sh500 VIP and Sh200 regular to go on sale from 9am at Kenya Cinema, Safari Park bus stop, Gates 2 and 12, Roysambu round about and Ngomongo police station.

Mozambican Celso Armindo Alvacao will be the centre referee assisted by compatriots Arsenio Chadreque and Zacarias Horacio Baloi, who will serve as the first and second assistant referees respectively.

Sudanese Mamoun Bushara Nasir will be the match commissioner while Madagascan Helly Zafinimanga the General Coordinator.

Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay – who has registered one draw, two wins and as many defeats in five continental games – is wary of threat posed by the five-time Caf Champions League winners.

“I know it will be a tough challenge but I’ve done my homework about them,” the 42-year-old Turkish-Cypriot said after taking his charges through their paces at Kasarani stadium on Saturday.

“They’ve good players who are regulars in their national team and that shows their quality but we’ve analysed their strengths and weaknesses that we shall capitalize on,” added Oktay who will welcome back the duo of Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango from suspension.

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The pair had been suspended by Caf in the two-leg playoff against Cameroon side New Stars de Douala.

Oktay will however miss midfielder Ernest Wendo and Burundian forward Francis Mustafa who are ineligible for accumulation of two yellow cards in the 2-1 aggregate win against New Stars in the playoff.

Oktay is likely to retain the team that beat Sony Sugar 2-0 in a midweek league match.

Midfielder Kenneth Muguna could marshall the midfield alongside Cercidy Okeyo as veteran Boniface Oluoch mans the post.

Legendary striker Dennis Oliech is available for selection alongside striker Nicholas Kipkirui and defender Geoffrey Ochieng who were registered in the secondary registration window last month.

Zamalek coach, Swiss Christian Gross, has warned his players against complacency.

“We’ve to be 100% focused from the start to the end,” said Gross, 64, whose arsenals opened a six-point gap in the Egyptian Premier League with a 4-1 win over Misr Makasa on Tuesday.

“It’s always good to start the group stage with a victory,” added the tactician who jetted into the country with a 21-man squad on Friday.

The White Knights strolled past Chad’s AS Coton Sport 7-2 on aggregate in the first round before seeing off Moroccan side Ittihad Tanger 3-1 on aggregate in the first round to reach the group stage of this competition for the first time since 2015.

Algerian side Nasr Hussein Day hosts Petro Atletico in Algiers in the other Group “D” game.

Caf Confederation Cup fixture

Gor Mahia v Zamalek (MISC Kasarani, 4pm)



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