NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 10 – Gor Mahia head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira ‘Ze Maria’ has expressed disappointment with the absence of Ugandan midfielder Khalid Aucho just less than two days before they face Tusker FC in a crucial KPL Top 8 semi-final first leg on Sunday.
Since helping his national team beat Botswana 2-1 in a 2017 African Cup of Nations Qualifier last weekend where he scored the winning goal, Aucho is yet to return to his club and the coach has subsequently ruled him out of the Tusker match.
“Aucho, no, he will not play on Sunday. Since he played for his national team, he has not reported for training. This is not the first time it is happening in the club and I don’t know whether it happens in other teams as well. It is not good for him, not good for me, not good for the team and not good for the league,” a dejected Marcelo said.
The Brazilian tactician had nine of his players out on international duty over the weekend and only Aucho is yet to return with Rwandan Abouba Sibomana having returned on Thursday.
Aucho’s absence further raises speculation over his future at the club with rumours that he is headed to the Scottish Premier League with Rangers FC.
However, Marcelo maintains the midfielder is still a Gor Mahia player.
“No, there is nothing and I have talked to the office as well, Aucho remains our player. That is a speculation and a rumour from the media,” the tactician offered.
If Aucho leaves, then it will relieve the coach’s headache of choosing who to drop between the five foreign players after the arrival of Brazilian striker Thiago da Silva.
The coach has admitted the tough choices he has to make is giving him sleepless nights but affirmed he will make a decision when the time is right.
Meanwhile, the coach has disclosed the reason why he picked the Brazilian forward instead of Meddie Kagere who had been highly touted for a return to the club.
“I know Thiago for a long time and he is a good player. He is young and wants to grow everyday and so for me, I thought he was the better pick. Of course I looked at Meddie and everything he did for the club last season and I must appreciate it was good.”
“But it’s not always guaranteed that a player will do the same when he returns to a club. Look at for example Kaka, Schevchenko (Andriy) and how they performed when they returned to their former clubs. It is not the same. So for me I thought I would be better with Thiago because we also want new things in the team,” Marcelo offered.
Apart from Da Silva, the club has also signed youngsters Baron Oketch from Western Stima as well as defender Wellington Ochieng from Muhoroni Youth and the coach believes they will be positive additions to the team.
He has however ruled out any more additions to the squad despite being heavily linked with Tusker FC play maker Humphrey Mieno.
Speaking to Capital Sport, Welling Ochieng, who has had a superb first half of the season with Muhoroni, said he was elated at joining the record15-time champions and his immediate focus will be winning his way into the coach’s starting team.
“They have been trailing me for the past one year but this time, I believed it was the right time to move. I am looking forward to a bigger challenge and hopefully, get some playing time. So far, I have enjoyed being with them,” the defender opined.
He will hope to find his way into the team that will face Tusker when, a match Marcelo wants his side to collect maximum points.
“We played them before and they were a tough team. But this time, I expect us to play better because I have been with the team for two months and they have had time to play like how I want them to play.”