NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 8- Despite opening a six point lead at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) table with a match at hand, Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr has warned his charges against complacency as they seek to reclaim the title from Tusker FC.
K’Ogalo are controlling the 18 team table with 44 points, six ahead of second placed Sofapaka who have played a match more. Kerr has now asked his players to show the hunger to win, even as he beams in confidence he has the best squad in the country.
“You can’t be comfortable. If you are comfortable, then you are asking for trouble. You have to keep focus and keep the six point lead. The rest of the teams are challenging and we have to keep on toes. Everyone still has a chance,” Kerr told Capital Sport.
“Football is a crazy game and you have to expect anything. My concern is… do the players want it? If they want it then we will go out and perform,” the British tactician further explained.
The record 15-time KPL champions are seeking to unseat Tusker from the throne, having lost out to them last season following three wins in a row.
With 13 matches to play, Kerr is confident that if his players, who he says are the best in the league, can keep up their momentum, winning the league title will not be a far-fetched dream.
“Guys, you are the best team in this region. You guys are the best players and you know it. You got to trust me that you can have any success you want. Go out there on Saturday and give me this same energy, this same enthusiasm and win it!” Kerr beamed as he wound up his side’s training session on Thursday evening.
Gor will be travelling to Kisumu where they face a stubborn Nzoia Sugar side and the coach equally expects a tough tie.
“We highly respect them because they are a very good side. They will be coming to the game to beat Gor Mahia, just like everyone else. They will raise their game and we have to be prepared for a tough afternoon,” Kerr offered.
-Gor won first-leg-
Gor won the first leg match 1-0 at the Mumias Complex, but they know it came at a tough cost with the Bungoma based club having missed a penalty in that match.
“If you watch our training, you would be amazed. I wish we had the same aggression, speed of play and passing thought that we have in training. I say to the guys it’s a pleasure to watch them train with an attitude where they don’t want to lose, try to score, create defend…. my goalkeepers get so much work and yet when we go into games it’s different,” Kerr noted.
Enterprising winger Boniface Omondi will be coming up against his former employers, the club he left for the plush city side during the June transfer window, and he has warned that Nzoia should not be taken lightly.
“Nzoia is a very good team and the game is majorly based on speed and counter attacking football. We should go there expecting a tough game. I played in the first leg match and we really took Gor by the horns. It will be a tough game and more so I am excited to be meeting my former team,” Omondi said.
“If I am given a chance to play I will be happy because it is usually something big when you move up and get a chance to face your former team-mates,” added Omondi.
Kerr will be faced with a headache ahead of the tie with two of his key players doubtful.
Right-back Karim Nizigiyimana pulled out of training Thursday with a thigh strain while Ernest Wendo did not train as he fought off a bout of malaria.
Nizigiyimana picked up the injury during the AFC Leopards match before the international break and only returned to training on Thursday. However, he could not sustain the pace and tempo of training.
“I think sometimes these players should be honest. I understand they want to play, they want to train. Karim has been out for a couple of days and I asked him whether he is okay he said yes. Sandro (Fantoni) said he should rest but he said he is okay. Now, we will have to assess him,” Kerr said of the injury.
Meanwhile, Kerr has urged the club to ensure that three key players who are out of contract at the end of the season remain as he battles to keep a strong squad for a possible Champions League campaign next year.
Nizigiyimana, Jacques Tuyisenge and Godfrey Walusimbi all have their contracts ending in December.
“We have to speak with the board but obviously the three are very good players I would want to keep them. People will have their eyes on them but in wanting them to remain, I got to make sure the club wants them. I would love them to stay but they have to agree and hopefully they enjoy being here and like my training,” Kerr disclosed.
He has praised the trio as warriors in his team and was especially full of praise for Walusimbi’s performance for the Uganda Cranes against Egypt in a FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier in Alexandria on Tuesday.