Gor Mahia captain confident K'Ogalo can take CAF Champions League by storm

Gor Mahia captain confident K'Ogalo can take CAF Champions League by storm

Mark Kinyanjui 15:07 - 06.06.2024

The experienced fullback has revealed why Gor Mahia will not be pushovers in the CAF Champions League next season, having won the league title with some games to spare.

As Gor Mahia FC prepares for their return to the CAF Champions League, captain Philemon Otieno remains confident of a good outing.

Despite a year-long hiatus from the competition due to a FIFA ban, Otieno believes the team is ready to make a significant impact on the continental stage.

Speaking to The Star, Otieno shared his optimism about the club’s prospects in the tournament, which is set to kick off in mid-August. 

"We are the mighty K'Ogalo and nothing scares us. I'd like to thank the entire Gor Mahia fraternity, including the players, the management, and our fans for the concerted efforts directed towards winning the Kenyan Premier League," Otieno remarked.

With 21 Kenyan Premier League titles under their belt, Gor Mahia have a storied history and a reputation to uphold. Otieno is determined to lead his team to a remarkable run in the CAF Champions League.

 "We now have a glorious opportunity to fly the nation's flag on the continental stage and I believe we have everything it takes to perform well," he added.

Addressing concerns from some Kenyan fans about the club's potential struggles in the tournament due to a perceived decline in the local league's standards, Otieno was quick to disagree. 

"I'd like to differ with them because the season was very competitive and at some point, it was difficult to predict the winner as the top three spots kept shifting in favour of various clubs," he stated.

Otieno’s comments came shortly after the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) announced key changes for the 2024–2025 Interclub season. According to CAF, the Champions League and Confederation Cup will begin with the preliminary round scheduled between August 16-18, 2024. 

The group stages will occur between October and December 2024, with the knockout phase and finals taking place between March and May 2025.

CAF also revealed the 12 highest-ranked member associations eligible to enter two clubs in both the Champions League and the Confederation Cup. 

These associations include Algeria, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, DR Congo, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, and Tanzania.

The continental governing body has opened the registration portal on the CAF Competitions Management System (CMS) for member associations to confirm their representatives in the two competitions. 

There are four registration windows: players participating in the preliminary round can be registered from July 1 to July 20, those participating in the second preliminary round from July 21 to August 31, group stage lineups in September, and clubs can add up to seven more players, including four replacements, in January.

Unlike previous years, clubs eliminated in the second round of the CAF Champions League will not be granted a lifeline in the CAF Confederation Cup. Clubs advancing from the second preliminary round of the CAF Confederation Cup will proceed directly to the competition's group stage.

With these updates, Otieno and his team are gearing up to make a significant impact.

 "We are determined and ready to face any challenge that comes our way," Otieno emphasised, highlighting the club's readiness and ambition for the upcoming CAF Champions League season.

As Gor Mahia FC prepare to re-enter the continental competition, the team’s focus and determination are clear. Under Otieno’s leadership, they aim to prove their critics wrong and showcase their capabilities on Africa’s biggest football stage. 

The excitement and anticipation among the players, management, and fans are palpable as they look forward to the journey ahead.

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