DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, January 24 – Gor Mahia have already landed back in Nairobi after their shock exit at the SportPesa Cup on Wednesday following a 4-3 post-match penalties loss to Tanzania’s Mbao in the first round.
Head coach Hassan Oktay who was sent off to the stands after just 21 minutes protesting Erisa Ssekisambu’s disallowed goal has said the team will not be deterred by the exit and will instead turn that frustration into motivation to defend their league title as well as do well in the CAF Confederations Cup.
“We have to move on. We have important league games coming up and also we have the Confederations Cup games ahead and that especially is massive for us. We are in the group stage which is a great achievement and we now have to work to proceed to the next stage. It is okay we are out, but we have to move on,” the Cypriot said after the exit.
He has also denied that they underrated Mbao in the defeat and only says the opponents were more motivated on the day hence the victory.
“Our philosophy is that every game is big and important for us. We did not underrate them,” Oktay noted.
He was left seething at the referee’s decisions that included sending him off and two disallowed goals in either half which he says was a scheme from the match officials to deny them victory.
“The referee’s decisions and his behavior was bad. He doesn’t explain why he sent me off; the same linesman disallowed our goal and gives offside. We find bad referee decisions in Nigeria, we find the same in Cameroon, and now here in Tanzania,”
“But well done to them (Mbao), they have won and gone through,” Oktay stated.
On how his charges performed, the Cypriot tactician said he was satisfied and says he believes they have been improving and did well especially under the circumstances, noting they arrived in Dar es Salaam less than 48 hours to the Mbao game from Cameroon.
“We kept possession 60-70 pc. We were comfortable but we missed chances and that’s football, sometimes it happens,” he noted.
Gor will have just a few days to recover from the loss before their next Premier League assignment when they take on KCB in Machakos on Sunday.
After that, the side will prepare for their first Confederations Cup group stage match against Zamalek in Nairobi on February 3.
The tactician has meanwhile urged for calm from Gor supporters saying his team will come good. He says the fact that they did not have a good preseason and will be faced with a fixture congestion should be worry enough, but is optimistic with the squad depth they have they will be a better side as the season progresses.