Bandari’s hopes of progressing into the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup on their debut were smoked off after a 1-1 draw at home to Congolese side St. Elloi Lupopo on Sunday 28 February. Makambo Maolingi who also scored in the first leg in Lubumbashi, scored Lupopo’s goal in the first half with Edwin Lavatsa’s late penalty acting as only a consolation, Lupopo going off winners 3-1 on aggregate.
It was a game that Bandari, with the wealth of experience on their side would have easily handled and won. However, they were too jittery and ended up making many mistakes, misplaced passes and their lack of sharpness in the final third saw them exit the tournament.
Bandari’s exit now means Kenya will have no representative in the preliminary round of both CAF competitions after Gor were ousted by Madagascar champions CNaPS in the Champions League.
Knowing they needed in the least two goals and a clean sheet to boost their chances, Bandari were fast starters off the blocks but they could not get an early goal. George Abege and Shaban Kenga both saw their opening minutes chances go to waste.Lupopo came close in the 15th minute but Wilson Obungu managed to parry away a free kick from Pambani Makiadi with Maolingi running in to have a touch on the ball. The dockers had a perfect chance with a free kick from a good goal scoring position two minutes later, but Anthony Kimani saw his effort come off the wall.
On the other end, Maolingi scored a heart – breaker. The winger managed to race onto the ball at the far right and beat Obungu. The goal now meant Bandari needed to see the back of the net four times to progress.They mounted pressure with Abege having a shot go over from the edge of the box while Kenga’s cross from the right rolled across the face of goal with no one to touch it in. On the half hour mark, Felly Mulumba came closest to scoring against his countrymen but keeper Tibolia Kilebela managed to thwart the effort for a corner. Mulumba had raced into the box to connect to a Bernard Mang’oli free kick.
All this while, Lupopo were sitting, soaking in the pressure and building up play from the back. They almost stabbed Bandari on the counter in the 41st minute with Keta Nday Ilunga running from the right past two defenders, but his eventual shot came off the side netting.
In the second half, it was always expected Bandari would step up the pace, knowing the mountain they had to climb. Nine minutes into the second period, the mountain was almost made steeper but Mousa Mbayi’s header from a Junior Baometu freekick which went inches over the bar.
Bandari were limited in their chances and the pressure in their heads that they needed to score three goals to progress seemed to have caused them a lot of jitters. Kimani had an effort in the 66th minute but he could not get a powerful shot on his left foot after bringing the ball down from a Mulumba long pass.
Coach Twahir Muhiddin brought on Danny Sserunkuma for Abege as he chose to take a stab at a fully attacking pass. In the 70th minute, the Ugandan exchanged passes with Kimani, but he was bullied off the ball allowing keeper Kilebela to race and pick up the ball.
The Ugandan had another chance in the 78th minute going for a long ball with the keeper. He managed to pick up the ball on the second attempt after it fell on his path, but a shot at goal wasn’t accurate going wide.
Bandari ensured they had something to console themselves with, Lavatsa scoring a penalty in the third minute of added time after Poso Mayenge handled inside the box.
Bandari now shift their focus to the Premier League, with a fixture against AFC Leopards on the cards on Wednesday in Nairobi.
courtesy of www.soka.co.ke