NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay launched a scathing attack at the state of the Afraha Stadium pitch, despite his side weathering a tough Sofapaka storm to win 1-0 and move third in the Kenyan Premier League standings.
The Cypriot tactician was unimpressed with the uneven and bumpy nature of the playing surface which denied his charges an opportunity to express their free-flowing football.
“This is no pitch. This is a farm. This is not for playing football. In Europe, parks where kids play football are better than this. This is a farm,” the angered tactician stated after the game.
This is not the first time a Gor Mahia coach is blasting the same stadium as last season, ex coach Dylan Kerr termed the pitch as horrendous.
The game between the two sides had earlier been scheduled for the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday but had to be moved due to Gor Mahia’s involvement in the CAF Confederations Cup.
And it was not only the pitch that annoyed the tactician, but he also expressed his frustration with the match referee Badir Yassin who he accused of trying to spoil the game.
“We have suffered bad decisions against referees. Today, the referee wasn’t good enough. He was very bad. He tried to spoil the game but both teams were good and remained disciplined,” the furious coach stated.
Nonetheless, the tactician said he was proud of his charges for getting maximum points from the tough tie despite having little time to rest following their tie away in Angola.
“We played a high intensity game in Angola and two days later, we are playing a very tough and big game here. We got a win and I am happy with the players. Probably we should have won two or three, but it’s three points still,” stated the tactician.
Gor will have little time to rest as on Wednesday they will be out again for a league assignment when they face another on form side, Western Stima at the Kasarani Stadium in a rescheduled tie.
The victory over Sofapaka moved Gor to within three points of leaders Bandari, but the defending champions will assume top spot of they pick up maximum points against Stima.
Meanwhile, Sofapaka tactician John Baraza says he was proud oif his players despite the loss to Gor, lauding their fighting spirit especially after playing with a man less for the last quarter hour following Mohammed Kilume’s injury.
Sofapaka were on a run of five successive wins, but Baraza suffered his first defeat since taking charge of the team.
“We were unfortunate today because we created the chances, we had possession but we were just unlucky not to score. I think my boys really did well and showed some good fighting spirit. The league is still a marathon and this is now over. We shift our focus to the next game,” the youthful tactician stated.