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Gor Mahia to host TP Mazembe, Rayon Sports, Vipers in pre-season friendlies

Kenyan champions Gor Mahia have lined up a series of big friendlies matches in early August to prepare for their continental assignment.

Having won a record 20th Football Kenya Federation Premier League title last season, Gor Mahia will represent the country in the Caf Champions League next season. Kakamega Homeboyz on the other hand won the MozzartBet Cup and will carry the country’s flag in the Caf Confederation Cup.

Both Gor and Homeboyz will know their opponents when the draw for both competitions will be held on a date yet to be communicated by Caf.

The first leg of the Caf Champions League preliminary round of matches will be on the weekend of August 19/20 while the second leg will be on August 26/27.

According to Gor Mahia Secretary General Sam Ochola, K’Ogalo will play friendly matches against Congolese giants TP Mazembe, Rayon Sports of Rwanda and Vipers SC of Uganda.

“We have communicated with the management of the three teams and what remains is just confirmation of the dates. However, it will be early next month because the first leg of the Caf games will be on the weekend of August 19/20,” said Ochola.

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“The three friendlies will be in the country and the clubs have accepted to join us. We however wouldn’t travel for a friendly match outside the country as we had thought but intensify our preparations with a number of local friendlies,” he added.

Gor Mahia players are expected to report to start pre-season on Saturday after a one-month break.

According to Ochola, the team has signed about eight new players who will be officially unveiled next week. K’Ogalo is expected to also to release a number of players who are deemed surplus to the squad.

“I can assure our supporters that we will have a competitive and formidable squad for the Caf competition. We wouldn’t want to be just participants but real contenders,” Ochola said.

With Kenya currently having no stadium which meets Fifa standards, Ochola said they will play their home matches in Tanzania or Rwanda.

“For Tanzania it may be tricky because Yanga, Azam and Simba SC are also in continental competitions as well and if they have fixtures which falls on the same date as ours, we will have to get another venue,” he explained.

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“Rwanda would be a better option for us and we have started engaging them because Nyayo and Kasarani Stadiums will still be under renovation by then,” said Ochola.

The government has already closed the two stadiums for renovations in anticipation that Kenya and her neighbours Tanzania and Uganda will win their joint bid to host the 2027 African Cup of Nations.

Tanzania has Benjamin Mkapa Stadium as the only one accredited by Caf while Rwanda has Nyamirambo Stadium in Kigali.

Meanwhile, Kakamega Homeboyz Chairman Cleophas Shimanyula has said the team is awaiting communication from FKF on the venue for their matches even if it is outside the country.

“We will be representing Kenya and the federation has the role to source for a venue for us if the country has no stadium which befits Fifa standards. So I can’t say we have will play in Tanzania or Uganda or Rwanda. FKF will tell us where to host the game,” Shimanyula said.

Since its formation 2010, this will be the first time Kakamega Homeboyz will be competing continental football.

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