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Oktay issues rallying call to K’Ogalo fans

Gor Mahia fans cheer their team on during their CAF Champions League match against Nigeria’s Lobi Stars at the Kasarani Stadium on December 16, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay has issued a rallying call to Gor Mahia fans to turn up in large numbers and support the team on Sunday when they take on Algeria’s NA Hussein Dey in their third Group D match of the CAF Confederations Cup at the Kasarani Stadium.

Gor are looking to qualify for the quarter finals of the competition for the first time ever, and three points against Hussein who lead the group will be a massive step towards that target.

“This is a massive and important game not only for Gor Mahia, but for Kenya as well. I want to urge all the fans to come out and support us. I saw it when we were in Angola, the fans were there and gave their team the push. If we can get many people in the stadium, we will be motivated,” Oktay said.

Gor sit second in the group with three points, just one behind Hussein. The Kenyan champions kicked off their campaign with a huge 4-2 win over five time African champions Zamalek in Nairobi, but saw their run slowed down with a 2-1 loss away to Petro Atletico in Angola.

Hussein won 2-1 against Petro at home and in the last match day picked a 1-1 draw away to Zamalek in Alexandria.

Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay issues instructions to his players during their Kenyan Premier League match against Sofapaka at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on February 18, 2019

Oktay is cautious that they possibly face a tougher test than Zamalek and has called on his charges to execute well and finish their chances early.

“It is a big game. I have watched both their matches and they are a very good team especially looking at how they got a point from Zamalek. They play organized football and have some good individual brilliance,” Oktay said of his Sunday opposition.

For Sunday’s tie, Gor will be without defender Joash Onyango who is suspended after picking up two yellow cards, but the best news for Oktay will be the availability of Philemon Otieno, Jacques Tuyisenge and Ernest Wendo.

Tuyisenge and Otieno’s absence was hugely felt against Petro, Gor constantly exposed on the right with Joash fielded as a makeshift right back while the forward line clearly missed Tuyisenge’s industry.

The Kenyan champions warmed up for Hussein’s visit with a 1-0 win over on-form Sofapaka last weekend, but the rolling tryres were slowed down with a 1-1 draw at home against Western Stima in midweek.

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Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech attempts to take a shot as Western Stima’s Kevin Akong’o attempts to block during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Kasarani Stadium on February 20, 2019

But, Oktay is unperturbed despite the result against Stima in a match that his side seemed heavy and didn’t play in their usual flair. Oktay says the element of fatigue has began to catch up with them.

“We have played back to back tough and high intensity games and with the team lacking good pre-season training, it is hard for us. At some point, you have to struggle,” the coach said.

Against Stima, Oktay rested Francis Kahata, Harun Shakava, Shafik Batambuze and Kenneth Muguna, but the four are expected to play a starring role against Hussein on Sunday.

Zamalek will host Petro Atletico in the other fixture in Alexandria and if Gor win, they will be hoping for a draw between the two sides or at worst, a Zamalek win.

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