NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – “I am happy to be here. Personally I am a winner and Gor Mahia also is a winner; we connect together. My target is high and Gor Mahia’s target is also high and now we have to start getting results.”
Those are the words of new Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay as he took charge of his first official training session at the club on Tuesday afternoon having penned a two-year deal to take over from Dylan Kerr on Monday.
The Cypriot tactician says he is ready for the challenge at a club he has referred to as the biggest club in Kenya noting that his first immediate task is returning the winning mentality and hunger to succeed at the club.
“When you win the league players are full; they are not hungry. But as a coach I have to change that mentality. We have to get back to the winning mentality again,” the tactician told Capital Sport.
Oktay knows only too well that he has a huge task ahead of him especially with a demanding fan-base constantly on his neck for victories and he says as a coach who has amassed experience close to three decades, he is ready for such kind of pressure.
The tactician obtained his badges at English Premier League side West Ham United and worked in the London club for a while before also working with another London-based club Watford FC.
He also has experience working with Championship and Conference League sides before eventually moving to Thailand where his last assignment was with Police FC in Bangkok, leading them to back to back titles.
“Before I came here, I knew what kind of a club Gor is and I am pleased to be with them. The Committee, the players and the fans are all great people and I look forward to working with them. I have seen the team in three games now and I am pleased with the quality we have. We just have to start winning soon,” further stated Oktay.
Though he was on the touchline during the CAF Champions League preliminary round return tie away to Nyasa Big Bullets in Malawi and last weekend’s 2-1 loss away to Bandari, Oktay will be officially in charge of the team on Wednesday when they take on Zoo Kericho at Kasarani.
The coach hopes that this will offer his charges a platform to pick their first win of the season, saying their only problem in the three matches he has watched, all losses in regular time has been lack of scoring.
“Every team when they play against a bigger team, they always come out to play like a final and we expect a tough game. My other technical bench members have helped me prepare for this game because they definitely know about the team, but we want to get the three points,” the tactician offered.
Looking back at the last three games he has watched especially the Bandari game, Oktay sees some hope especially noting they dominated but failed to score.
“In the Bandari game, I cannot take anything away from my players. If anything they worked hard and I noted they improved tempo-wise. We dominated the game and created chances, but we failed to score. That was the problem,” further stated the coach.
Meanwhile, he has not ruled out a possibility of making further additions to the squad, his particular worry being offensively as he looks to strengthen the side not only to conquer the local scene but the continent as well.
The tactician says he is still learning his players to know their strengths and weaknesses with the help of the other members of the technical bench and should be in a position to make a more informed decision by the time the transfer window closes next month.
After facing Zoo, Gor will shift their attention to a crucial CAF Champions League tie against Nigerian champions Lobi Stars with a possible place in the group stages awaiting them if they successfully wade through the two-legged tie.