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It is my fault, says Ze Maria as Gor drop points

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Gor Mahia coach Jose Marcelo ferreira watches from the touchline during a past Kenyan Premier League match. He took responsibility for his side's 0-0 draw with Sofapaka on Sunday September 25 2016. PHOTO/TIMOTHY OLOBULU
Gor Mahia coach Jose Marcelo ferreira watches from the touchline during a past Kenyan Premier League match. He took responsibility for his side’s 0-0 draw with Sofapaka on Sunday September 25 2016. PHOTO/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26- Gor Mahia’s head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira has chosen to shoulder the burden of blame after his side failed to close in on league leaders Tusker FC following a 0-0 draw with relegation threatened Sofapaka on Sunday evening.

The Brazilian coach, nicknamed ‘Ze Maria’ from his playing days with the Brazil national team says Gor failed to play their trademark passing game, instead choosing to hit long balls and made it easy for Sofapaka to defend.

“Everything did not work out today and we didn’t play well. We know we can do much better because we showed in the last two matches what we can do and so I am very disappointed with me, not with my team. It is my fault when the team does not play well. It is the coach’s problem,” ‘Ze Maria’ told Capital Sport.

 “It is a frustrating result because if you want to win a league, you can’t gift opponents an opportunity. Today, we gifted two points to Tusker and the other opponents.”

Searching a historic 16th Premier League title and the fourth in succession, Sofapaka put speed bumps on the defending champions’ hunt for the title as they now trail Tusker by four points, with five matches remaining before the season wraps.

‘Ze Maria’ is not losing hope as yet and reckons the two week break his side will have gives them an opportunity to right the wrongs from the Sunday match and return for their next assignment against outside title contenders Western Stima more rejuvenated.

“We hope we don’t’ play like that again. We should start again and work during this time in training. Against Sofapaka, the old mentality of long passes and long shots came back. It was the best thing for the opponents. For the keeper the defenders, they can see the ball and it is easy to defend,”

The tactician is also concerned that his side is not firing from all cylinders like they did before and the goals have suddenly dried up for the team.

Among the things he hopes to work on is how his side uses the midfielder, saying they have to play the ball more on the floor for them to create scoring opportunities.

-Western Stima warn-

Western Stima coach Henry Omino gestures during a past match/PHOTO-Raymond Makhaya
Western Stima coach Henry Omino gestures during a past match/PHOTO-Raymond Makhaya

Meanwhile, Western Stima’s head coach Henry Omino has warned Tusker and Gor that his boys are ready to pounce and become surprise league winners if the two continue dropping points.

Stima consolidated third spot on the log with their 1-0 victory on Saturday against AFC Leopards and Omino says if an opportunity presents itself, then they will pounce with both hands.

“I watched Tusker play Muhoroni and to be honest, they didn’t play like a team which wants to become champions. If these two teams continue dropping points, then we are here and ready to pounce on it and become champions at the end of the season,” Omino offered.

Stima’s ride to the end of the season is bumpy though as they face Gor, Ulinzi Stars, Chemelil Sugar, Bandari and Kakamega Homeboyz. Omino though is not cowed by the imminent tough ride and reckons his side is ready for the showdown.

-Ulinzi chances ‘slim’-

Ulinzi Stars midfielder John Mark Makwatta leads team-mates in celebration after scoring the opener against AFC Leopards.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Ulinzi Stars midfielder John Mark Makwatta leads team-mates in celebration after scoring the opener against AFC Leopards.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Elsewhere, soldiers Ulinzi Stars have more or less given up on their chase for a first league title since 2010 after losing 1-0 away to Chemelil on Saturday, a result that leaves them 11 points off the pace.

“To be honest, after losing to Chemeli, the chances are now slim. We have to fight harder and probably look at finishing in a better position. Right now, we need to focus more on the GOtv Shield because we are in the semi-finals and have a chance of playing continental football next season,” stand-in coach Benjamin Nyangweso offered.

The league takes a break this weekend with Ulinzi Stars taking on Kariobangi Sharks in the Shield semis on Saturday.

Posta Rangers and Tusker FC face off on Wednesday in a belated quarter final match with the winner taking on KCB on Saturday in the penultimate stage of the tournament.

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