NAIROBI, Kenya, February 17 – Gor Mahia head coach Frank Nuttall is confident new signing Michael Olunga will soon find his range after the former Tusker FC forward spurned opportunities to open his K’Ogalo account at last weekend’s CAF Champions League clash against CNaPS.
Olunga was also wasteful in their DSTv/SuperSport Cup win over Sofapaka three days before the continental preliminary round first-leg opener with the 21 year-old Technical University of Kenya student yet to score in six matches he’s featured following his move from the Brewers.
However, he has been instrumental upfront, setting up all three goals netted by Tusker teammate and the returning midfielder, Ali Abondo in their 2-1 win over Sofapaka and 1-0 victory over CNaPS.
“The job of a striker is not only to score but to create opportunities for other players. I’m really impressed with Olunga’s focus of running through off the ball and support he offers to the team.
“I’m a believer the more chances a striker get the more experience they gain and they make some evaluation from that. I’m sure that’s what Olunga and other strikers are going,” Nuttall told Capital Sport.
“He has the ability to get in scoring positions and as well as that, he is young and fairly inexperienced and has played well. He is one of the players that we can look upon to in our squad selection,” the coach added.
After narrowly beating visitors Madagascar’s champions, Gor find themselves in a similar position they were last year when a 76th minute penalty from former forward Dan Sserunkuma helped them prevail against Gabonese side US Bitam before eliminating them 4-2 on penalties in the return leg.
K’Ogalo who had not had a competitive match until Wednesday’s encounter against Sofapaka, looked heavy laden especially in the second half where CNaPS returned strongly but new keeper Boniface Oluoch was on top of his game to deny the Madagascans an away goal.
Nuttall who started with nine new signings will be hoping his charges adopt quickly before the second leg as he redeployed Godfrey Walusimbi to his left back position while Kevin Oluoch who has been playing in the central defence, was pushed to the right to swap with Musa Mohammed.
The Scotsman did not have a lone striker as last season when Sserunkuma was tasked in the role as he went with Timothy Otieno and Olunga.
Nuttall will likely make changes in the midfield where Jerry Santos was ineffective before he was substituted as he has Collins Okoth and Eric Ochieng at his disposal.
“All players are equally in competition in the squad, Ochieng is a tough boy and is coming from a slight injury but Okoth missed a number of training sessions and as a result he is not fit to start.
“Oluoch he played his part well as a keeper and defender to make sure our opponents did not score but we have to give credit to CNaPS who played decent football,” Nuttall stated.
“The return leg will be tough but we are advantaged since we will be away. Our focus now is on the season opener against Mathare United on Sunday and that match will help us a lot as we prepare for the return leg.”
The second leg will be played February 27 in Antananarivo.