NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay has hinted that striker Dennis Oliech will be one of his two captains for this season, pointing out that he would want to milk more of the legendary striker’s leadership abilities to guide the club to more success.
Oliech skippered Gor in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Posta Rangers, scoring the winning goal and playing the entire 90 minutes of the game.
“I did give him the armband because of his European experience. He is a great player with good arritude and discipline-wise he has been fantastic. He has been working very hard and I believe he can help the young players because they listen to him on and off the pitch,” Oktay said.
“We have a captain (Harun Shakava) but to me, he (Dennis) is a captain as well. Everywhere I go I have always had two captains. I will use him and Shakava,” the tactician stated.
Oktay further stated that he was pleased with Oliech’s attitude and his hard working nature as he played his first 90 minutes for the club, having been introduced as a sub on his debut last weekend against Mathare.
“I was gonna play him 60 minutes and then I told him I am gonna play you 90 minutes, get ready. He can understand my language, he can understand what I want. If I told him to give me another 90 minutes I believe he would have given me. He is a very strong guy; mentally very strong,” Oktay noted.
The tactician will quickly put at the back of his mind the joy of winning their second game of the season and put their focus on the CAF Confederations Cup when they face Cameroon’s New Star de Douala on Sunday in the play-off round, a place in the group stages beckoning.
Gor Mahia found themselves contending in the Confederations Cup after losing out on the away goal rule to Nigeria’s Lobi Stars after a 3-3 aggregate loss in the two-legged first round tie.
They are looking to make it into the group stages for a second consecutive time. Last season, they made it into the money bracket of African football after beating South Africa’s Supersport United on the away goal rule following a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Oktay is confident he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Dylan Kerr.
“It is important not only for us as a club to achieve this feat, but also it will be good for Kenyan football if we can have that kind of exposure again,” the tactician stated.
He says his charges are ready for the tie against the West Africans, insisting they have to take a commanding lead from the first leg to make their work easier when they travel away in a week’s time.
He is wary of a New Star side that carries a better away record than at home. In the preliminary round tie against Burundi’s Vital’O, New Star played to a 1-1 draw at home but went away to Bujumbura winning 4-1.
Heading into the first round, they played to a 0-0 draw with Al Ahli Tripoli of Libya at home before travelling away to force a 1-1 draw and progressing on the away goal rule.
“We have done some homework on them and we know it will not be an easy team. We have realized that they play better away from home than at home and so we will be very cautious. They have very mobile strikers and that means we have to be alert all times,” Oktay noted.
For the tie, Gor will be without defenders Joash Onyango and Harun Shakava who are both indefinitely suspended by CAF. Dennis Oliech will also be unavailable as he is yet to be registered. If Gor make it into the group stages, then there will be a window of registration.