Charles Thuku and James Magayi @PeopleSports11
Celebrated Gor Mahia striker Dennis “The Manace” Oliech was conspicuously missing as the team flew out to Angola yesterday for the CAF Cup group D stage first leg match against Petro Atletico in Luanda today.
Gor Chief Executive Officer Ludovick Aduda said Oliech who is grappling with an injury which he sustained in training failed to pass a late fitness test, hence the decision by Head Coach Hasssan Oktay to exclude him from the travelling party.
“Oliech is one of the team’s key strikers but it was unfortunate that he did not recover in time for the continental duty though we have suitable replacements,” explained Aduda.
Aduda said in Oliech’s absence, Oktay has various options including Nicholas Kipkirui, Francis Mustafa and Erisa Ssekisambu.
Besides Oliech, three other players including striker Jacques Tuyisenge, Ernest Wendo and Philemon Otieno, both defenders were left in the country as they are ineligible to play due to accumulated yellow cards.
A contingent of 18 players, five technical staff, three club officials and one Federation representative hit the run way to Angola yesterday shortly after 11.00 am even as the team took a cautious approach ahead of the match.
Aduda said Petro Atletico should not be underrated especially given that they reached the semi finals of the same competition last year.
“Atletico is a strong team but it is beatable. We are looking beyond them and if we can post descent results in all the away fixture and get outright wins at home then Gor wil b e as god as having made it to the quarter-finals of the completion,” said Aduda.
Gor Mahia lead Group D on three points same as NA Hussein Dey but K’Ogalo has a superior goal difference. Their hosts this evening are third in the group following opening game loss to Hussein Dey. Petro Atletico will want to bounce back swiftly and the clash with Gor Mahia at home looks ideal for the Angolan giants.
Gor’s coach Hassan Oktay orchestrated a tactical masterclass against Zamalek and is less worried about Petro Atletico.
“I did my homework well and watched three of their matches. They are a really good side despite losing the opening game. It was from two unlucky set pieces and the fact that they fought back to get a goal away from home also points at a strong mentality from them,” Oktay said.
He added: “But I’m not worried at all. We know how fast they can be especially on the flanks. I have worked with my players on the tactical aspect of the game and I feel confident of getting a good result.