Gor Mahia defender and Ugandan international Shafik Batambuze will sit out of his side’s 2018/2019 Total CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinal matches as his side seeks a semi-final berth.
The Kenyan giants play Moroccan side, RSB Berkane in the first leg on Sunday at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.
Batambuze was sent off during the last group match against Angolan side, Petro Atletico and having served a suspension earlier during the tournament due to an accumulation of yellow cards, the former Singida United man will miss both quarterfinal matches.
His suspension is definitely a huge blow for the reigning Kenyan champions as the lanky defender is the team’s first choice left-back.
Apart from Batambuze, Gor Mahia will miss three other key players against Berkane in captain Harun Shakava who will miss the first leg through suspension while lead striker and top scorer Jacques Tuyisenge is suspended for both legs.
Midfield enforcer Ernest Wendo will miss both quarterfinal matches, the first semi-final match if Gor progresses or the first match of next season’s competition if Gor is ousted by Berkane.
Coach Hassan Oktay is however adamant that his charges can cope without the quartet.
“Their absence is definitely a huge blow but we have to find a way to play without them. I believe in the ability of all my players,” Oktay told www.football-256.com.
“I am confident that those I will select will rise to the occasion and give a good account of themselves,” he added.
In Batambuze’s absence, youngster Geoffrey Ochieng will slot into the left-back position once again while Charles Momanyi will partner Joash Onyango at the heart of the defense in the absence of Captain Harun Shakava.
Veteran Dennis Oliech will lead the attack line with Tuyisenge unavailable though former SC Villa, URA and Vipers striker Erisa Ssekisambu is another who could get some minutes.