Football Football

Ulinzi Stars sign Gor Mahia forward

Gor Mahia head coach Jose Marcelo feeds out instructions to Baron Oketch during his first training session with Gor Mahia. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 31- Kenya’s representatives in next year’s CAF Confederations Cup Ulinzi Stars have completed the signing of Gor Mahia forward Baron Oketch on a season-long loan deal from former Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia.

Ulinzi Stars chairman Erick Oloo has told Capital Sport they needed an experienced striker to help out John Mark Makwatta in 2017 especially with the club’s assignments in continental football.

“He will join the team when we resume training. He is a very good striker and we needed someone who could come in and slot into the starting team because we really need to sharpen our forward line. It was one of the areas we were weak in last season,” Oloo said.

Oketch will find the move to Nakuru a welcome one especially after struggling for playing time at Gor in the entirety of the six months since his move from Western Stima.

The forward had been banging goals for the powermen and attracted the interest of the 15-time league champions, but was reduced to substitute appearances and failed to hit the back of the net.

Meanwhile, midfielder Joseph Kuria has joined Posta Rangers after his contract with the military side expired. The former Thika United man was unfortunate with injury in the second half of the season which limited his playing time.

Oloo said they had offered the midfielder a contract extension but he declined, seeking a new challenge.

At the same time, Ulinzi will not renew the contract of head coach Robert Matano which expires on December 31. Matano missed the last four months of the season recovering from a kidney ailment and returned to the side when they resumed pre-season training early this month.

“After discussions, we have opted not to renew the contract. Nyangweso (Benjamin) will take charge of the team and we will be hunting for his assistant. We thank coach Matano for the job he has done in the team and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Oloo said.

Ulinzi resume training on January 2 ahead of a busy season where they face Libyan side Al Hilal Benghazi in the preliminary round of the CAF Confederations Cup in February.

A win against Benghazi will hand them a first round ticket where they are scheduled to play Egyptian side Smouha.