Nyasa Big Bullets’ Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League opponents, Gor Mahia of Kenya were in England for training where they played English Premier League side Everton in the SportPesa Trophy match at Goodison Park on Tuesday night as one way of preparing for their preliminary round match.
According to Kenya’s online publication, Standard, the perrenual Kenyan league champions were thashed 0-4 but their British coach Dylan Kerr, who gave all his 24 players some minutes, told his charges “to hold their heads high and take positives from the once-in-a-lifetime fixture”.
He is quoted as saying: “We got a lot of positives out of it; it’s a great experience to everybody. The whole experience was something that we can learn from and take to the next stage.”
The team’s captain Harun Shakava is quouted as saying: “Of course, it was not all about results. We created a few chances, but we failed to convert them. All the same we’ve gained a lot in terms of training as well as experience. We need to take football as a serious profession.”
The Standard reported that the team returned to Kenya on Saturday and will immediately embark on serious training ahead of the preliminary round matches whose first leg is slated for the weekend of on November 27/28 in Kenya before the return leg a week later December 4/5 at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The winner between the two take on winners between Lobi Stars of Nigeria and US Louam of Cameroon for the next round for a chance to reach the group stages.
Just this week, Bullets coach Calisto Pasuwa said though the People’s Team have won the TNM Super League with matches to spare, they need to really be fully prepared for the CAF assignments.
This was before the team had known whom they will be up against. The former Zimbabwe national team coach was engaged solely to strengthen the side ahead of the CAF Champions League.
Bullets once reached the group stages during the 2004 edition when it was being sponsored by the then State President Bakili Muluzi and coached by their former international star, Kinnah Phiri.
According to Goal.com, the last time Gor Mahia faced a side from Malawi in the Champions League was back in 1977 in which they beat Yamaha Wanderers (nw Be Forward Wanderers).