NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24- Gor Mahia head coach Jose ‘Ze Maria’ Marcelo believes his charges can challenge for a fourth consecutive Kenyan Premier league title after their 2-0 victory over arch rivals AFC Leopards on Sunday took them four points behind leaders Tusker FC who drew 1-1 with City Stars.
With three games remaining before the season ends, Gor can hand them a realistic lifeline if they win their next two matches and Tusker lose at least one, as the two face off in the season finale.
This is the same arithmetic ‘Ze Maria’ has taken as he seeks Gor’s record 16th national crown.
“We now believe because we have another nine points to play. We have time. Tusker has drawn and that gives us a chance. They still have to play against Leopards and Sony. Those are two tough matches.”
“But we have to do our part. We now wait in the next two matches and see what happens,” Ze Maria told Capital Sport as he guided his side to a victory in his first Mashemeji derby.
“If they (Tusker) draw another one, we are happy but we have to win against Mathare. It is a tough match but if we continue to play this way, we can do everything.”
The Brazilian coach was impressed with the performance of his players, revealing they came out victorious after a change in formation in the second half.
“We created opportunities in the first half but we didn’t score. We talked at half time about our quality. We came back and changed the system to 4-4-2 from the 4-2-3-1 we used in the first half. We did this because in the first half it was tough, they (AFC Leopards) closed in well but in the second half they couldn’t,” the tactician offered.
He also hailed the influence of midfielder Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth who started only his first match in close to four months and played a crucial part in his role in defensive midfield.
“Gattuso is very experienced; I know his quality and it’s important for this team. We talked about this and that’s why I put him on the field today.”
After facing Mathare next weekend, Gor will travel to Muhoroni Youth at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu before wrapping up the season against Tusker.
Meanwhile, the fight for relegation also promises to go down to the wire after this weekend’s results. Ushuru lost 1-0 away to Thika United, a result that sees them remain 14th, five points off 15th placed Sofapaka and six off bottom side City Stars.
Ushuru needs two wins from the remaining three matches to ensure they survive the chop. They play Muhoroni, fellow strugglers City Stars and Posta Rangers in their last three.
Sofapaka have a tougher route to survival as they take on AFC Leopards, Mathare United and Thika United while City Stars apart from Ushuru have Kakamega Homeboyz and Sony Sugar at home.