Confed: How Gor Mahia shot themselves in the foot against RS Berkane

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Tuesday, April 9th 2019 at 00:50 GMT +3 | Football
Gor Mahia FC forward Nicholas Kipkirui falls down during their CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final match against RSB Berkane of Morocco at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi Kenya on April 07, 2019. RSB Berkane won 2-0. [Photo Courtesy]

Without doubt, indiscipline, lack of priorities by players, poor management and preparation cost Gor Mahia dearly in their Caf Confederation Cup first leg match against Morocco’s RS Berkane at Kasarani on Sunday.

The record Kenyan champions face a steep climb, the size of the Atlas Mountain, in this weekend’s return leg encounter in North Africa after losing 2-0 to the Moroccans.

The loss has left K’Ogalo creaking with coach Hassan Oktay questioning the club’s ambitions saying, “There is no way you can beat teams like Zamalek, qualify for the quarterfinals and suddenly go on strike.”

Gor Mahia were a shadow of their former selves as nothing appeared to work for them in a match they could easily have ground out a result.

But the sad truth is, K’Ogalo just shot themselves in the foot. The players had mentally and psychologically lost the match even before stepping onto the Kasarani turf. The self-inflicted defeat was their first home loss in the continental campaign this season.

“You don’t get such chances (qualifying for the knockout stages) in these kind of games. You never know when you will get it again. There is no way you can beat teams like Zamalek, qualify for the quarterfinals and suddenly go on strike. It’s hard to collect the players, bring them on the pitch and motivate them. We could have won this game very easily, but because of those issues we lost.”

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This wasn’t a match like any other because the club has been trying so hard to make it to the knockout stages in the last few seasons in vain. But Gor will have themselves to blame as they appeared to have set themselves up to fail.

Even with Sh45million bounty in place, Gor Mahia failed to accord importance to this fixture with club management failing to address players’ accumulated allowances dating back to last year.

The Turkish-Cypriot coach added: “Gor Mahia is a big family and family members protect each other, but it’s my wish that we solve these issues to avoid such problems. We lost it mentally and physically even before the game kicked off because I wasn’t able to prepare these players mentally and tactically.”

With a depleted squad following the suspension of captain Harun Shakava, Shafik Batambuze, Jacques Tuyisenge and Ernest Wendo together with their head coach Oktay, the management should have soberly engaged the players and avoid the embarrassment in front of their ever demanding fans.

But the question is, could the four players have avoided some of the bookings in the group stages?

“The absence of the five players definitely affected the team’s balance. It’s difficult to work without such experienced and quality players and that’s where I believe we lost the game,” Oktay admits.