NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay has tipped striker Dennis Oliech to be part of Kenya’s squad to June’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON), saying he is experienced and a good role model to the upcoming players.
Oliech, whose goal took Kenya to its last Cup of Nations in 2004, has been away from the Gor team over the last two games over a pay row, but returned in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Tusker FC in Machakos.
Oktay says he was pleased to have the experienced forward back and hopes the circumstances that led to his absence will not arise again.
“He is one of my best players and I am happy to have him back. I care about my players; sometimes they can lose track, doesn’t matter. It is my job to fix my players and help them improve. Dennis is a great footballer, a great professional with a lot of positive attitude and I wish to see him at AFCON,” the tactician stated.
Oliech was not part of head coach Sebastien Migne’s first preliminary training squad, though the French tactician said there was still space for him if he proves his worth on the pitch.
The talisman who has scored four times for Gor since he stepped out of retirement to join them was slowed down by a hamstring injury, but has managed to shake it away and return to action.
He came on as a second half substitute in the win over Tusker yesterday and had a late chance to cap it off with a goal but he blasted his chance over.
Meanwhile, the tactician has lavished his players with praise after their victory over Tusker Despite playing for almost three quarters of the game with 10 men following Boniface Oluoch’s red card.
He added he was impressed with the squad especially because he made only one change from the team that played in the CAF Confederations Cup on Sunday.
“We knew it was going to be a very tough game and I didn’t want to risk and rotate the team very much. With 10 men, tired legs from the Confederations Cup game, mentally and physically exhausted, we played a tough team which is also gunning for the title and winning like this, I am proud of the boys. Tremendous performance; excellent,”
He added; “We missed lots of chances, the game should be 4-0 or 5-0.”
Gor Mahia had light training on Thursday morning ahead of their trip to Algeria on Friday where they are scheduled to play NA Hussein Dey in the return leg of their CAF Confederations Cup.