NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 23 – Gor Mahia head coach Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ has apologised to K’Ogalo fans after the club failed to defend the Kenyan Premier League title won by Tusker FC with a seven-point margin.
The Brazilian coach has promised to reclaim the title next season and says he has already laid out a plan to ensure they wrap up the title early in 2017.
“I am happy for my guys because we played well, only unlucky at some point. I am sorry for the fans because we didn’t win the league title this year or any tournament. Now we have to think about next season,” the tactician told Capital Sport.
Gor not only lost their fight to retain the league title but also surrendered the KPL Top 8 trophy after a 1-0 loss to Muhoroni Youth in the final and were bundled out of the GOtv Shield in the round of 16 by KPL bound Nzoia United to finish the season without any silverware for the first time since 2010.
Ze Maria joined Gor five matches into the new season and has blamed the club’s lacklustre start to the season as one of the reasons they failed to defend the title.
“When I came to Gor the team had lost 11 points in the first five matches and this is a lot of points to lose. Next season, we cannot afford to start like this. We have to be better. I have already talked to the management and told them what we need,” he added.
The coach is also scratching his head over five key players in his starting 11 whose contracts end in December. Rwandese Abouba Sibomana, Burundian Karim Nizigiyimana, left back Erick Ouma, striker Enock Agwanda and goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch all have their contracts ending.
“These are very important players for me and I talked to my chairman and told him we need to keep them. I am hoping they agree because we have to be strong next season.”
While the other four might be persuaded into new deals, Sibomana’s time at the club seems all but done having been dropped to the bench since the rise of youngster Ouma.
Sibomana has consequently lost his starting place in the Rwandese national team but, concerns over Ouma’s contract renewal mighty persuade him to stay.
The coach has plans to bring in six new players who he says will definitely add strength to the side in the new season.
“The office knows what this team needs to go up. We have talked about this. Some players will come, some will go. We need some midfielders, defenders especially full backs and another central. I have a list of around six players.”