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Hands off my keeper, Kerr tells Oluoch critics

Boniface Oluoch training at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam in July 2017 before their friendly match against English side Everton FC. Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30- Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr has moved to defend goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch from the backlash he is facing following two mistakes that led to goals during their CAF Confederation Cup match against Tanzania’s Yanga in Dar es Salaam on Sunday night.

Oluoch was at fault for the two goals Yanga scored, spilling the ball to the opponent’s feet in both occasions, but coach Kerr says the shot stopper should not be subjected to public stoning over the errors.

“People are condemning Boni, I am not. Yes, it is a mistake and it happens, but he will learn from it. My goalkeeper makes two errors and everybody is on his neck. He makes several other brilliant saves and people are quiet. No one is even talking about the saves he made at 1-1 against AFC Leopards in the derby,” a furious Kerr told Capital Sport.

He added; “His confidence is a bit low now but I have talked to him and I will continue keeping confidence in him. He is still my number one. He works very hard in training and well, we are not perfect. Mistakes are there,” Kerr further stated.

Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr celebrates with goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch after their 2-0 win over Tanzania’s Simba SC in the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Gor though went on to hold on for the vital 3-2 win despite living dangerously in the final few minutes after Yanga scored their second.

“We played very good football in the first half. The energy levels were outstanding and we were just brilliant. It ha snow become a routine playing like we do in training; the passing, the movement.. we were a different class. We should have had seven goals in the first half, “ Kerr quipped.

The result, coupled with Rayon Sports’ 1-1 draw away to USM Alger in the second Group D fixture meant K’Ogalo move to the top of the standings heading into the penultimate round of fixtures.

Gor Mahia will host Rayon Sport on August 19 in Nairobi while USM will be away to Yanga in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A point for Gor will prove to be enough to take them into the quarter finals for the first time ever.

“We know it is just a point and we are through and that is what we are working on. But we are going for the full prize; three points. Rayon picked a point away in Algeria and they have a chance. They will come to Nairobi looking for three points to take them back up,” Kerr said.

Gor Mahia’s Ephrem Guikan (2nd left) scores the Kenyan team’s second goal in the 4-0 victory over Young Africans of Tanzania on July 18

“It will be tough in Algeria but we will also go in there for a win. It’s possible. If we do that, we top the pool. I have told these players that they have proved they are the best in Kenya and East Africa. They should now prove they are the best in Africa,” added the British tactician.

Meanwhile, Gor jetted back to the country from Dar on Monday afternoon and their focus now swiftly rocks back to their Kenyan premier League campaign where their dominance has been so emphatic it is now a norm.

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K’Ogalo lead the standings with 52 points after 20 matches, a massive 12 points ahead of second placed Sofapaka and with four matches at hand. They will face Kariobangi Sharks in Kisumu.

“We want to go 15 points clear and probably get done with the league early. It will not be easy though because Sharks just got beat over the weekend and will come in to get the three points. Our target is to go for a win and keep our run going,” the tactician added.

He has hinted that he will make changes to the squad and might give his second string players an opportunity to play, same way he did against Posta Rangers in the FKF Shield where they ended up picking a routine 3-1 win.

Eye on the ball: Gor Mahia’s Humphrey Ochieng controls the ball

“We have to keep everyone fresh and now we have a squad whereby everyone is capable of going in and doing the job. We are also playing over the weekend against Nakumatt so we have to ensure everyone is fresh,” the coach added.

Among the players who might be in line for a place in the weekend game against Nakumatt is right back Karim Nizigiyimana who might make his first appearance in almost a year after picking a nasty ankle ligament injury in Thika September last season.

“Karim has been doing his rehab and training and he looks okay now. He will be ready for the Nakumatt game. He might get a few minutes,” the tactician added.

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