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Oktay braced for Gor’s tough run of fixtures

Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay gestures on the touchline during their CAF Confederations Cup game against Egypt’s Zamalek at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on February 3, 2019. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 4 – Gor Mahia boss Hassan Oktay says his side will handle the heat that comes with a tough glut of fixtures staring at them over the next month with their involvement in the CAF Confederations Cup.

The tactician believes he has enough depth in his squad to deal with the tough run and Sunday evening’s 4-2 win over Egyptian giants Zamalek in their CAF Confederations Cup assignment will act as a huge motivator in the next coming days.

“It is tough when you have to play back to back games and that is why you have to rotate players and give everyone rest. We have a huge squad and it is ready to work. As a team we have been improving day by day and this win is a motivation for us to keep working,” the tactician stated.

After their game on Sunday against Zamalek, Gor will travel to Kakamega to take on Vihiga United on Wednesday before returning to shift their focus on arch rivals AFC Leopards on Saturday.

After the weekend Mashemeji Derby, Gor will re-focus back to their Continental campaign when they travel to Luanda, Angola to take on Petro Atletico next Wednesday.

The Cypriot tactician though says his squad will be able to deal with the tough run.

Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech goes past Zamalek’s Naguez Hamdi during their CAF Confederations Cup game at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on February 3, 2019. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Against Zamalek, Oktay left out the defensive pair of Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango despite them being available again after suspension and he opted to stick with Joachim Oluoch and Charles Momanyi.

Shakava and Onyango are however expected to slot back into the team on Wednesday when they take on Vihiga.

Gor soaked in the healthy win against Zamalek, one that ensured they start their campaign on a high and a dream of playing in the knockout phases for the first time ever remaining alive.

With the victory, Gor went top of Group D with three points, same as Algeria’s NA Hussein Dey who won 2-1 at home against Petro Atletico.

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“We did everything perfect. It should have been five or six but to be fair to the team, three points are good enough for a start no matter what. This week we were feeling a lot of pressure but the victory has helped us to calm down,” Oktay noted.

Zamalek’s head coach Christian Gross during the CAF Confederations Cup game against Gor Mahia at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on February 3, 2019. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

He added; “We did some good homework on Zamalek. I watched their game against Pyramid and two others and we knew the way they play and we did in training what we wanted to do against them. Tactically we were very organized and I am happy with how we played.”

Meanwhile, Zamalek tactician Christian Gross said Gor deserved victory from the fixture, saying his team gave out poor goals but is not worried they might not make it to the quarters.

“It was an absolutely wrong way to start the group stages but that’s not the end of it. We still have a chance in five games. We had an advantage (against Gor) when we scored an early goal but we conceded due to poor defending,” the tactician stated.

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