Sportpesa Premier League: Gor Mahia keen to cage Zoo at Kasarani

By Gilbert Wandera: Wednesday, December 12th 2018 at 00:05 GMT +3 | Football
Duncan Otewa (left) of Bandari FC controls the ball under presure from Batambize Sahfik (right) of Gor Mahia FC during the opening of the 2019 Sportpesa Kenya Premier League match at the Mbarak Sports Club in Mombasa, December 8, 2018. [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD].

League champions also confirm appointment of new coach ahead of today’s match

K’Ogalo hoping to hit back after opening day loss to Bandari.

After a disappointing start to the new season, Sportpesa Premier League (SPL) champions Gor Mahia will be hoping to hit back when they face Zoo Kericho at Kasarani today.

This is the only league fixture on Jamhuri day after the SPL champions requested the match to be brought forward to give them more time ahead of a congested fixture list.

Ahead of the fixture, the club confirmed the appointment of Hassan Oktay as head coach on a two-year deal.

Oktay has been working with Gor Mahia for the last ten days on an interim basis.

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Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier confirmed Oktay officially replaces Dylan Kerr who quit two weeks ago.

The move is expected to be a morale booster for the league champions who lost the opening match 2-1 to Bandari on Saturday.

Gor Mahia captain Harun Shakava has admitted that the loss to Bandari has shaken the players’ confidence.

“The opening day loss has made us realise that playing in the SPL this year is going to be tough. We must work even harder,” he said.

Shakava, however, said they are not under any pressure going into today’s match. “We will just take it easy and give our best. Putting ourselves under pressure will be detrimental.

“Furthermore, playing under a new coach is also big motivation for the players where everyone wants to impress.”

Generally it looks like it will be a tough season for the SPL champions who recently lost a number of key players and the new signings are struggling to fit in.

With such a state of affairs, there has been a lot of complaints and grumbling from the fans which makes today’s fixture a must win for the new coach.

Prior to last Saturday’s loss to Bandari, the SPL champions had narrowly edged out Nyasa Big Bullets of Malawi in a CAF Champions League match on post-match penalties.

Before that, the team had gone down 1-0 to Kariobangi Sharks in the SPL Super Cup. Oktay is unlikely to change his line-up much in today’s fixture with Boniface Oluoch who starred against Nyasa expected to start in goal.