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SPORTS

New signings enjoying life at SPL champions K’Ogalo

Tusker FC’s Clyde Senaji (left) and Tobias Otieno of SonySugar FC during KPL match at Kenyatta Stadium on Thursday April 18, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Former Sony Sugar midfielder Tobias Otieno and Nairobi Stima striker Dennis Oalo are enjoying life at their new club Gor Mahia as they prepare for their final Group D match of the ongoing Cecafa Kagame Cup against KMKM at 2pm today at the Omuganda Stadium in Rwanda.

Gor Mahia have qualified for the quarter-finals after winning their opening two group matches against Congolese side AS Maniema (2-1) and Djibouti champions AS Ports (2-0).

The early kick-off tie will be followed by a decisive match between Maniema and Ports at 4.30pm. The winner of the match will join K'Ogalo in the last eight.

Otieno and Oalo are among the seven new recruits acquired by the record Kenyan champions to fill the void left by Rwandese talisman Jacques Tuyisenge, Francis Kahata, Cercidy Okeyo, Castro Ogendo, Erisa Ssekisambu, Pascal Ogweno and Shaban Odhoji.

The other new signings include Tanzanian duo of David Mapigano and Dickson Ambundo, Elvis Ronack, Erick Ombija, Curtis Wekesa and Abdalla Shura.

Save for Wekesa and Shura who didn't make the squad, the rest have made their debut for K'Ogalo in the regional tournament.

Otieno and Oalo have both made a promising start to their K'Ogalo careers. While Otieno provided an assist against Maniema, last season's National Super League golden boot winner scored in the 2-0 win over AS Ports on Wednesday to confirm Gor's slot in the last eight.

Though the two youngsters are excited for making an instant impact at their dream team, they know they will have to fight hard to keep their places in the team.

And they are both ready to handle the pressure that comes with playing for Gor Mahia as they eye national team call ups.

"I didn't expect to make my debut with an assist. I believe we have what it takes to win this tournament and end the club's 34-year trophy drought. "To join a club like Gor Mahia is an unbelievable feeling, but I'm not here to just say I am a Gor player, I really want my presence to be felt," Otieno told Standard Sports.

"I know it won't be easy, but I'm ready to fight for a place in the starting line up and manage the pressure. I think this a big chance for me to showcase my talent, get a national team call up and even go abroad."

His new teammate Oalo added: "I think I repaid the coach's trust with a goal in our second game. When you play for a team like Gor Mahia you have to prove your worthiness.

"The pressure is not on me, it is on the fans because I work under coach's instructions. I will do my job as a striker on the pitch and leave it for the fans to judge. Though I still have a long way to go, I really want to leave a mark at this great club."

Despite their impressive performance, head coach Hassan Oktay insists the new signings must improve to reach K'Ogalo's level.

"Playing for Gor comes with pressure, the new signings must improve. They need to work extra hard because they still have a long way to go. They need to be mentally and physically fit to play in all of our competitions," said Oktay.

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