NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – Gor Mahia head coach Jose ‘Ze Maria’ Marcelo has promised K’Ogalo fans he will deliver the Kenyan Premier League title despite the defending champions falling seven points off the pace with five matches remaining before the season ends.
The only hope for silverware for the record 15-time champions is the Premier League having been eliminated from the GOtv Shield by second tier side Nzoia United before losing the KPL Top 8 title to Muhoroni Youth in a 1-0 defeat.
However, the Brazilian coach remains optimistic they can chase Tusker to the tape and grab their fourth consecutive title.
“Losing the top 8 was tough because we forced Muhoroni to play in their half. They scored the only opportunity they created because of our mistakes. Winning the league is important for our club and supporters and that’s our principal target,” the coach said.
The tactician is under pressure to ensure Gor defends the league, but has played down the weight on his shoulders instead remaining confident his side will finish the season with a trophy.
“We promise to win the title for our fans. I promise because that’s my mentality. I never play to lose and I put this into the hearts of my players and they think like me, fight like me. We fight for the club,” a confident Ze Maria assured.
Gor face Western Stima on Wednesday at the Nyayo National Stadium as they look to collect maximum points to reduce Tusker’s lead to four points.
Three days after the Western Stima match, K’Ogalo take on their bitter rivals AFC Leopards in the Mashemeji Derby on Sunday at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Third placed Western Stima have a shot at winning the league and they will also come into the fixture with pressure, knowing a loss will extinguish their slimmest hopes.
The Mashemeji Derby will be Ze Maria’s first experience and he is looking forward to overturn the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the first leg.
Meanwhile, the tactician has taken a jibe at the fans for their reaction over the weekend against Muhoroni, rejecting a late substitution to bring on striker Jacob Keli while they wanted Enock Agwanda in.
The discontent caused a 15 minute stoppage to the game as a section of fans threw projectiles.
“The fans have to understand one thing. I know my players, I know what we need. At that moment we needed speed and not power. It is different. Keli is our player and they have to support everyone. I am disappointed with the fans but sometimes they don’t understand some things,” Ze Maria said.
Gor might miss the services of midfielder Ernest Wendo for the home tie against Stima as he is yet to recover from an ankle injury picked against Muhoroni.
In his place, the coach might call up Crispin Odula who is yet to make a Kenyan Premier League appearance for Gor since joining the club in June.