Two-time African champions Esperance from Tunisia arrived in the country Thursday beaming with confidence ahead of the first leg of their Caf Champions League first round match against Kenyan champions Gor Mahia Saturday.
And Esperance coach Ruud Krol says he will be content if his charges avoid defeat against Gor, saying his team is up to the task ahead.
“The weather in Nairobi seems perfect. My players are in good shape and ready for this tie. I have only watched Gor on YouTube. They have a good left back and central striker, so we will exercise caution but I still target a positive result,” the Dutchman who won last year’s Caf Confederation Cup title with another Tunisian club, CS Sfaxien, said Thursday after the team’s arrival at the JKIA.
The team touched minutes after 3pm from Doha aboard a Qatar Airways flight after a 36-hour trip from the Tunisian capital. Tired after long flight.
“We are tired but happy to be here, I am looking forward to the game but I can’t comment much about it because I have never seen them (Gor) play,” Ghanian forward Harrison Afful, the only member of the playing squad who can communicate in English, added.
Among the star players in the traveling party are Tunisian international midfielders Iheb Msakni and Mejdi Traoui. Others are first-choice Carthage Eagles goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia, attacking midfielder Ousamma Daragi, Ghanian Emmanuel Atukwei and Cameroonian Yannick Djeng.
The team’s arrival was not without some talking points as the team’s advance party that arrived on Sunday came up with last-minute ‘key demands’. Gor’s deputy secretary general Amina Oketch said the advance party requested for a S-class Mercedees Benz for the club president who was the head of delegation. The team also politely declined to use a 44-seater bus availed to them because the air conditioner was not operational.
“It is a learning lesson for us as far as we are concerned and where we want to be. Our visitors have promised to reciprocate when we travel for the return leg and we have no reason to doubt them,” Oketch insisted.
The team was received by Gor officials Oketch, John Pesa (vice chairman) and David Killo (organizing secretary).
The return leg clash is set to be played in Tunis in a week.
Source: Daily Nation