Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay has hailed Dennis Oliech’s impact as he opened his goal tally for the national champions with a sublime strike against Posta Rangers at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani yesterday.
Oliech netted the winner in the first half stoppage time of the 2-1 win and Oktay was waxing lyrical of his captain of the day.
Heading into the match, Oktay had complained of his players’ failure to kill off matches, which has seen them stuck in unfamiliar mid-table echelons of the Kenyan Premier League.
“In football, a chance is very important. Creating chances is a different art. Oliech is working very hard and it is great that he got his got the goal,” said Oktay.
Oliech was named the captain of a second string side and Oktay had his reasons too.
“He has European experience where he has played against great football players. He has good attitude, discipline wise he is fantastic and he is working very hard. I strongly believe he can help the young players who can listen to him on and off the pitch,” added Oktay.
However, the coach insisted that Haroun Shakava’s status at the team captain but he believes Oliech’s leadership will be crucial if they are to defend their title.
Oktay revealed that he had planned to use Oliech for at least 60 minutes but he proved himself once he set onto his business on the pitch.
“I was going to play him for 60 minutes but then I told him ‘I am going to play you for 90 minutes, get yourself ready.’ He can understand my language. He knows he can play for 90 minutes. if I told him ‘give me another 90, he was going do it. He is a very strong guy, mentally,” added Oktay.
Charles Momanyi gave Gor the opening goal in the 26th minute tapping in a loose ball in the box after Rangers failed to clear Francis Kahata’s corner kick.
However, a blind pass by Pascal Ogweno in the 40th minute was intercepted by Danson Kago, who picked a unmarked Francis Nambute, whose backheel restored parity for Rangers.
Their joy lasted only five minutes as Oliech’s left foot strike in the box saw Gor regain the lead, which they clung onto until the final whistle.
Oktay said their focus now is on their CAF Confederations Cup group match against New Star Douala on Sunday.
“We did some research about them. We know they got very good mobile strikers and funny enough, they play better football home than away,” said Oktay.
“It is very important not only for Gor but for Kenya in general to be in the CAF competitions.”
He added that the players are getting better with every match. “Gor Mahia is coming back, slowly,” he added.