•Gor Mahia coach Hasan Oktay showered his second string squad with praises following yesterday’s hard fought 2-1 win over Kakamega Homeboyz in SortPesa Premier League at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
Gor Mahia coach Hasan Oktay showered his second string squad with praises following yesterday’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Kakamega Homeboyz in SortPesa Premier League at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos.
Gor players had downed their tools in protest for their unpaid salaries and allowances after jetting back from Egypt with Oktay admitting to having struggled to raise quorum for the match hence being forced to rely on fringe players.
The Cypriot coach said his players deserved a pat on the back after rallying from a goal down to squeeze the slim win and vowed to overcome the money debacles.
“Congratulations to my players for the win. We did not train after coming back from Egypt and I had to call my players to meet in Machakos for the match. My job became difficult as we did not train but I thank the players for the win. Money issues are normal in football and we shall over them.”
With a crucial tie against Petro Atletico of Angola on Sunday that will determine their fate in the Caf Confederations Cup, Oktay was lucky to have his second string squad blended with the experienced quartet of Harun Shakava, George Odhiambo, Nicholas Kipkiruo and Ernest Wendo.
The absence of play-makers Francis Kahata and Kenneth Muguna proved to be Gor’s weak link in the first half as the forwards were largely unfed with defence-splitting passes and clear cut chances. Their quests to invade Homeboyz’s area largely ended in the midfield as the creative works done by the two play-makers seemed to overwhelm Lawrence Juma, who was tasked to fill in the void and hence resorted to long balls.
Shakava had a torrid afternoon in containing Allan Wanga whose composure with ball skill allowed his teammates to maraud in Gor’s area with Ali Bai and Moses Mudavadi unsuccessfully testing Peter Odhiambo from close range courtesy of Wanga’s assists.
Lack of creativity by either side saw action cluster in the midfield for long spells and hence the two broke for the breather without hitting the target. Juma threatened to give Gor the lead barely two minutes after the restart, rifling a shot almost 30 metres from goal but David Juma punched the ball for a corner. Homeboyz replied three minutes later through Luke Namanda who pounced on Bai’s well-timed pass to lob the ball past an advancing Odhiambo to give Homeboyz the lead.
The goal irked Oktay who withdrew Kipkirui for Francis Mustafa and the Burundian justified his inclusion in the 67th minute, capitalising on a poor clearance by Homeboyz to drill the ball past a hapless Juma. Hardly had the fans, who had left their seats to celebrate the equaliser settled, than Omondi doubled Gor’s lead two minutes later, curling the ball metres off the box and in the process hitting Homeboyz defender to sail past the line.
Homeboyz coach Nicholas Muyoti threw in Congolese striker Max Ravel and Peter Thiong’o aiming at restoring parity while Got threw in Bernard Ondiek to seal loopholes in the midfield. Muyoti rued a lapse in concentration for the loss.
He said: “I am disappointed we could not get a win against the Gor’s team we played today. We lost concentration after scoring and we ended up gifting them cheap goals.” The win sends Gor to second with 32 points, one shy of leaders Sofapaka and will open a five-point gap should they emerge victorious in their two matches in hand.