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Avire, Kasumba top Oktay’s Gor wish-list

Sofapaka striker John Avire celebrates his lone goal against Nzoia Sugar in a Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machaos on February 7, 2019

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay says he only needs to strengthen the team’s strike-force with one or two new players and he will be done in his transfer business ahead of the new campaign.

Top on his list is Sofapaka striker John Avire and his former teammate Umaru Kasumba and Oktay says f he gets either of the two, he will be set for the season.

“I can openly say yes we want to sign him. I asked for six local players but unfortunately we have not managed to get any of them. One of the six I asked for is Avire and I have asked the chairman to try and talk with the people at his club. We know there are a lot of issues around him with a transfer to Egypt but we will try and see,” Oktay told Capital Sport.

Oktay has openly stated his desire to sign the striker and last season after their game against the 2009 champions in Kisumu walked to him and asked him to consider joining them.

While Avire’s situation might be tricky due to a long contract and possibly high demands in transfer fee from Sofapaka, Kasumba is a free agent after his contract with the club lapsed at the close of last season.

Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay chats with midfielder Francis Kahata before a training session at the Camp Toyoyo Ground on December 11, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Gor have signed young players for the new campaign and are yet to directly replace Francis Kahata and Jacques Tuyisenge who were an integral part of the team for the past three seasons.

While Oktay admits his side will feel the absence of the two, he remains confident that they can find a replacement thogh he warns it might take time.

“I have always said, players will come and go. We have promoted some players from the youth team and soon, they will be perfect replacements. We have very gifted and talented youth players and we are building something good for the future,”

“Jack is a good player and definitely we will miss him. Kahata is a special player and I have said this before that it will take maybe 10 or 15 years before we see another player like him. He has gone to one of the best teams in the region and I think it is a good move for him,” Oktay added.

Gor Mahia defender and skipper Harun Shakava goes in for a tackle against Everton’s Kieran Dowell during their SportPesa Trophy friendly match at the Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, United Kingdom on November 6, 2018.

At the same time, the tactician has asked captain Harun Shakava to decide whether or not he wants to remain with the club. Shajava was visibly missing from Wednesday afternoon’s training session and has continually been linked with an exit from the club after five years.

Shakava is a transfer target for newly promoted Wazito FC and his contract with the club expires in December this year.

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“He is still part of the team; he is the captain, he is a Gor Mahia guy and it is up to him at the end of the day. If he wants to leave he can leave. He is a good player, a good captain with lots of experience experience but at the end of the day he has to make the decision on what he wants to do,” Oktay seemingly irritated from the tussle stated.

The coach also confirmed that Dennis Oliech is still part of his plans for the new season and is scheduled to return to training once he returns after recovering from a broken arm he sustained during a tie against Ulinzi Stars last season.

Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech vies for the ball with Posta Rangers’ Charles Odette during their Kenyan Premier League tie at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on January 9, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Meanwhile, the coach says he is impressed with the new signings that have landed at the club, saying they have shown potential to grow and be Gor legends in future.

Though he says he didn’t want his side to travel to Rwanda for the CECAFA Kagame Cup, he said it gave him an opportunity to see most of the young players in action and says he wasn’t sad with the quarter finals exit as he missed many of his first team players.

“Playing six games in two weeks is not easy especially because we started training late. But we were able to see our youth players and the new signings and this was important for me. They gained experience and we also had an opportunity to train in a good environment,” Oktay noted.

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