Lupopo is a side that is no new to Kenyan opposition having played Kenyan champions Sofapaka in the 2011 edition of the same competition. Lupopo won the first leg in Lubumbashi 2-1 but lost 0-1 in Nairobi forcing the game to penalties. Ultimately, Sofapaka won.
“It is not an easy match because being here means they are champions from their country. We are not taking the match lightly and we will want to pick up positive results from our away trip,” Muhiddin told CAFOnline.
“We have trained very well and the tough matches we have played especially the last against Gor Mahia (defeated 1-0 in the Kenyan Super Cup) have given us some good insight of where we need to strengthen and throughout this week, we have worked on our weak areas,” he added.
Interestingly, there are three players from Bandari who were part of the Sofapaka team which played Lupopo in 2011. Midfielder Mudde Musa, goalkeeper Wilson Obungu and midfielder Anthony Kimani were part of the triumphant Batoto ba Mungu squad. They will hope to use that experience to spur a new look Bandari side that has delved deep into the transfer market to reinforce the squad.
“Maybe time has changed and they are different a bit. But one thing that does not change in a team mostly is the philosophy. They are a very hard working team and they play the ball fast. It is not one we should give space to play. But as a team, we are ready for the match and we believe we have superb quality to take us through to the next round,” Obungu remnarked.
Over the last four years, since Sofapaka reached the 1/8th round of the competition, no Kenyan side has made it past the first round. The onus is on Bandari and Gor Mahia, Kenya’s representatives at the Champions’ League to erase the poor history and take Kenyan football back to the top.