Coach Hassan Oktay’s entry at Gor Mahia briefly after the exit of Dylan Kerr was one that thrust him into immediate pressure to deliver- at least according to Oktay himself.
He has won the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) on his first attempt and taken Gor Mahia to as far as the quarter-finals of the CAF Confederations Cup and yesterday, after being officially named the best of the 2018-19 KPL campaign, he revels in every achievement.
”It’s fantastic. Great. I didn’t get any chance to sign any players and there was no pre-season, unfit team. I tried to explain to everyone because there was a lot of pressure with big expectations,” says Oktay in a post-match press conference after drawing with Posta Rangers 1-1.
Bernard Ondiek gave Gor the lead in the league’s second last clash but Rangers- striving to stay away from relegation, rallied to level the score through Peter Ng’ang’a.
Focusing on his job helped him develop a great relationship with the playing unit, Oktay says- and this he did by constantly talking to them.
”I decided to concentrate on my job and said I’m gonna win this league. So I worked very hard, on the pitch- off the pitch, talked to the players to improve their performance. the connection was great between me and the players,” he adds.
Gor Mahia fell to RS Berkane in the quarter-finals of this year’s CAF Confederations Cup, the highest level achieved in recent time as last year they went out in the group stages.
At the moment, a number of key players have been said to be on their way out in joining other continental giants and this could deal a blow to the side that intends on making more strides in Africa in the next campaign. Coach Oktay is wary of this and has already talked with the office in a bid to help keep the said players on board.
”There are some rumors that some players are going to leave. I’ve told the chairman and the committee that if they can keep the players here, I can make a massive difference next season in the Champions League,” he concludes.
By virtue of winning the league, Gor will play in the CAF Champions League and only elimination at least in the second round can see them drop to the second tier CAF Confederations Cup.