NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The absence of four first team players in Gor Mahia’s 2-1 CAF Confederations Cup Group D loss to Angola’s Petro Atletico in Luanda still hurts boss Hassan Oktay who believes they should be on six points in the campaign.
The Kenyan champions missed the services of striker Jacques Tuyisenge and defender Philemon Otieno who were suspended for the tie while Dennis Oliech and Ernest Wendo missed the trip to Luanda due to injury.
“It is very disappointing because we dominated that game and we should have at least picked one point. We missed four first team players who were important in the Zamalek game. It showed when we played in Angola. If they were there, those should have been six points for us now,” the tactician told Capital Sport.
“But that is how football is sometimes. It is sad that we lost after creating chances but we have to dust ourselves and move on,” the tactician further stated.
Oktay was forced to field Joash Onyango as a makeshift right back with Philemon’s absence and Wellington Ochieng also out with injury while Erisa Ssekisambu and Francis Mustafa led the hunt upfront in Olecih and Tuyisenge’s absence.
However, they did not hit the right notes, especially the front two until Nicholas Kipkurui came on to halve the deficit with a late goal.
But despite the loss, the tactician is confident his side’s run will not be deterred especially coming at a time when they have picked up rhythm both domestically and on the continental front.
Gor jetted back to the country midnight Thursday and had a light training session at the Parklands Sports Club on Friday as they prepare to shift their focus back to the Kenyan Premier League with a tie against on-form Sofapaka beckoning for them on Sunday in Nakuru.
All the four who missed the trip to Angola have been passed fit and will be ready to continue the hunt in a match that Oktay has admitted will be a tough one for the reigning champions.
“Sofapaka is a good team and they are in good form at this time. Also, any team that plays against Gor Mahia gives 110% but we always expect it because we are the best team in Kenya. It will be a tough game,” he said.
“But I am confident in my team because we have adopted the philosophy and we are now playing very attractive football and we are able to pick points even away from home,” added the Turkish-born Cypriot.
Only one point separates the two sides at third and fourth in the standings while the holders can go top with a win over Sofapaka, though on goal difference and a match at hand.
“For us we have to go step by step. We have to look at each game as it comes and try to win. We cannot look at the end of the season or the next week match,” the tactician who also said he is not interested in looking at the table said.
Gor have lost thrice domestically this season, but have been on a run of three successive wins since the defeat against KCB.