Why Oktay is taking a ‘sabbatical’ from Gor Mahia


Why Oktay is taking a 'sabbatical' from Gor Mahia
Gor Mahia Head coach Hassan Oktay reacts as his team played against Chemelil Sugar FC during their match Kenya Premier League match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on January 2, 2019. Gor Mahia Won 2-0. Photo/Kelly Ayodi/Sportpicha/Citizen

In Summary

  • Turkish-Cypriot coach Hassan Oktay is heading home to his native country Turkey to take care of his ailing parents and other pressing family matters, leaving the glamour club Gor Mahia starring at an uncertain future.
  • Citizen Digital can authoritatively report that Oktay, 46, jets out today for Istanbul to link up with his family.
  • In his absence, assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo who is barely two months old in the job, is poised to take charge on interim basis, while legendary footballer Dennis 'The Menace' Oliech who is equally sidelined from football with a broken arm will assist the former SoNy Sugar head coach.

Turkish-Cypriot coach Hassan Oktay is heading home to his native country Turkey to take care of his ailing parents and other pressing family matters, leaving the glamour club Gor Mahia starring at an uncertain future.

Citizen Digital can authoritatively report that Oktay, 46, jets out today for Istanbul to link up with his family.

In his absence, assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo who is barely two months old in the job, is poised to take charge on interim basis, while legendary footballer Dennis ‘The Menace’ Oliech who is equally sidelined from football with a broken arm will assist the former SoNy Sugar head coach.

Citizen Digital understands that beneath the aura of invincibility, beneath the bravery on the pitch and theatrics on the touchline, beneath it all… Oktay, an outspoken coach who made a name with the club last term, guiding them to the quarter finals of the Caf Confederations Cup, has been a troubled soul.

In fact this is an understatement. Oktay, in his stint at K’Ogalo has been a deeply broken man following ballooning medical bills accrued by his parents – both his father and mother – who are ailing from cancer, and the doctor’s bills have not been kind either.

Gor Mahia FC coach hassan Oktay gestures to his players after receiving a personalised plaque from Fidelity Insurance Marketing Manager Nicholas Malesi at Camp Toyoyo when he was crowned April Coach of the Month. (PHOTO/SJAK)
Gor Mahia FC coach hassan Oktay gestures to his players after receiving a personalised plaque from Fidelity Insurance Marketing Manager Nicholas Malesi at Camp Toyoyo when he was crowned April Coach of the Month. (PHOTO/SJAK)

And it’s not just about the money, but the mental torture and stress that comes with handling ailing loved ones, thousands of miles away, has taken a toll on him – the concentration has been on the down-slope.

With this kind of scenario, Oktay, even though physically in Kenya, is ever in touch, every moment as he monitors the delicate situation that needs his undivided attention back at home.

Shedding light on the matter, Gor Mahia’s deputy secretary general Ronald Ngala said:” Oktay may or may not come back. He has been having serious family issues for long and we even thought he would not come back from leave. He has told us he will be back in case his parents health improve, otherwise he will write to the chairman to look for an alternative should need arise.

Ngala went on : “Now that Oliech is still not fit to play and owing to his vast experience, we have appointed him on acting capacity to deputise Patrick Odhiambo who is also the acting head coach as we await a word from Oktay.

Gor Mahia FC head coach Hassan Oktay warms up with the team during his first training session with the Kenyan Premier League champions at Camp Toyoyo stadium Jericho in Nairobi on December 07, 2018.. Photo/Kelly Ayodi/Sportpicha.

Gor are in pre season training as they bid to polish the grey areas ahead of a Kenyan Premier League title defence but the statistics in the transfer market do not make for a good read.

Figure out this: Last term’s lead striker Jacques Tuyisenge and his chief supplier, the creative Francis Kahata have all jumped ship joining Petro Atletico and SC Simba of Angola and Tanzania respectively.

And even before the ink could dry on paper, another important cog, skipper and defender Harun Shakava has parted ways with the club on ‘mutual consent’.

Gor Mahia FC captain Harun Shakava (L) celebrates with teammate George Odhiambo after scoring against AFC Leopards during their Super Cup match at Afraha stadium in Nakuru on January 28, 2018. Gor Mahia FC won 1-0. He’s leaving the club after decorated service Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha.

“We are in mutual agreement with Shakava. He requested to be released to pursue his career in a foreign league. But no pen work has been done since he will not go for free because he still had a contract with us.

It remains to be seen how Gor’s leadership with handle the dicey situation, but for Oktay, one word sums him up: bravery in the face of adversity.

Report by Tony Owori, Isaac Swila and Milton Ochieng 

 

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