Rachier backs struggling Oktay to reignite Gor


Gor Mahia FC Turkish coach Hassan Oktay instructs his charges against Zoo Kericho FC during ...
Gor Mahia FC Turkish coach Hassan Oktay instructs his charges against Zoo Kericho FC during their SportPesa Premier League match at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on December 12, 2018. Photo/Stafford ondego/Sportpicha

In Summary

  • Gor Mahia FC Chairman Dr.Ambrose Rachier has thrown his weight behind head coach Hassan Oktay despite the club's recent uninspiring run under the stewardship of the Turk
  • Gor are nowhere near their best ahead of Sunday's CAF Confederation Cup group stage clash against Egyptian giants Zamalek but Rachier is backing Oktay to reignite the Kenyan Premier League champions

Gor Mahia FC Chairman Dr.Ambrose Rachier has thrown his weight behind head coach Hassan Oktay despite the club’s recent uninspiring run under the stewardship of the Turk.

Gor are nowhere near their best ahead of Sunday’s CAF Confederation Cup group stage clash against Egyptian giants Zamalek but Rachier is backing Oktay to help the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions find their spark.

Gor will host the five time CAF Champions League winners in Kasarani, coming off the back of unsuccessful Super Cup title defence bids as well as a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of newly promoted KPL side KCB FC.

Gor defeated Sony Sugar 2-0 on Wednesday but the side that swaggered into a 17th KPL title last year has already suffered league defeats against Bandari FC and Kariobangi Sharks and yet their wins have hardly been achieved in convincing manner.

While his predecessor Dylan Kerr has hit the ground running in the quite competitive South African Premier League and even bagged the coach of the month accolade, Oktay appears far from settling at Gor.

The sharp contrasts of the two has caused complaints though in low tones among a section of the ever demanding Gor fans, and the Zamalek match should be yet another platform for Oktay to either light or dumpen further, hearts of K’Ogalo faithfuls.

However, Rachier has exuded confidence in the coach saying he cannot be judged after only two months in office, adding Gor has what it takes to floor the Egyptian giants.

“Everything is in order for Sunday’s match. We are going for a win, because no team cannot be defeated in football. Zamalek are beatable.

“The fact that we have lost some matches does not mean we are not the champions people have seen before. Champions lose, everywhere in the world. The best thing we can do is supporting the coach and the team, having done us proud by firstly, making it to the Confederations Cup group stage,” Rachier said.

Rachier underlined the weight of the fixture that rekindles memories of the bad tempered match between the two sides in 1984, Cairo, which bore the infamous ban of the Kenyan champions.

Then mercurial midfield marshal, Abbas Khamis Magongo was adjudged to foul a Zamalek player in the box, though it was clear the said challenge, a mere body contact was outside the box.

Zamalek would be awarded a penalty, Magongo given his marching orders followed by unprecedented complaint by the centre referee who claimed to have been roughed up by players and part of the technical bench as they protested his decision, to an extent of breaking his hand.

“This is not the first time Zamalek are coming here (Nairobi) since 1984. However, that’s history stands and that makes it an interesting match. We have suffered biased rulings especially against North and West African opponents, but that will never influence our principle of fairplay. That’s why we have accorded the team (Zamalek) warm reception since arrival and will continue till match day.

“We have focused on clean preparation and they can’t expect any intimidation or any other manner of under hand influence. Not even our own coach should be fearing because of the past result going into the match, the point is we all rally against our opponents,” told the authoritative Gor chief.

However, he has called on CAF to be more reasonable in managing matches especially in the group stage.

“I call upon CAF to be more keen on the way matches are handled especially whenever we face the North and West teams away. Sometimes we have done everything right to win matches only to be eliminated forcefully by clearly compromised officials.

“What I saw in Tunis (Tunisia against Esperance in 2018 CAF Champions League) was nowhere near continental club football, even players being confronted by police. It is unfortunate this can happen even in this age, after decades of learning from past mistakes,” he emphasized.

Telling incidences were also reported during this season’s Champions League tie against Nigeria’s Lobi Stars away to Enugu, which saw captain Harun Shakava and compatriot Joash Onyango suspended for subsequent two ties, versus Cameroon’s New Star de Douala.

The two will be a mojor boost as they return on Sunday, with former Harambee Stars captain Dennis Oliech, Nicholas Kipkirui and Geoffrey Ochieng joining the list of players available for Oktay selection.

Gor is keen to make bigger impact this season in the CAF Cup, after missing the quarter finals spot by a whisker in the 2018 season. Despite beating Tanzania’s Yanga SC me and away, drawing Rwanda’s Rayon Sport away and USM Alger at home, a loss to the Rwandese in Nairobi cost the then Dylan Kerr coached side the last eight ticket.

“We are already planning for the return match against them (Zamalek) a week later. That’s why we have written to the Ministry of Sports seeking financial support to facilitate our travel. Last time they took care of our air tickets and we believe this will work as we endeavor to do better this season,” averred Rachier.

Besides Zamalek, Gor will face Angola’s Petro Atletico and AN Hussein Dey of Algeria in battle for the quarters ticket.

Meanwhile, Zamalek  held their firts training session at the Utalii Grounds on Friday, and will on Saturday have a feel of the Moi International Sports Kasarani where the Sunday fiesta will be staged.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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