NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Gor Mahia boss Hassan Okaty was not his usual self on Sunday after his side’s 2-0 loss against Morocco’s RS Berkane in the first leg of the CAF Confederations Cup at the Kasarani Stadium.
Oktay, usually enthusiastic and outspoken in all his pressers talked in low tones, throwing his hands up occasionally as if to ask; ‘what am I supposed to do?’.
His side’s loss was not majorly on what happened on the pitch, but what happened off it.
His players staged a strike two days before the game and didn’t train at all due to unpaid match winning allowances. They had to be convinced on game day to come for the match and were not even in camp pre-game.
On top of this, Oktay himself was suspended and watched proceedings from the terraces while four of his players were as well ineligible for the game.
This is to add on the fact that Sunday was their fifth game in 12 days. He felt, everything was against them, heading into the match and has admitted his job at the club is now difficult.
“Everything was against us; Even Barcelona can’t make it with this kind of circumstance. Eight days, four games, then come play Confederations Cup…. four players missing, coach missing, then you have these problems… Mentally you are lost, physically you are not prepared for the game,” the tactician stated.
“If you are playing on Sunday, Saturday is a crucial day to prepare mentally and physically to focus on the game. I couldn’t do this. I was waiting for my players at Toyoyo, they didn’t show up. I had to call them in the morning,”
“I didn’t monitor what the players eat what they drink…. This is a game we should have won 3, 4-0. This is no Zamalek; this is no Petro….. But because of discipline, we lost it… we lost it as a team,”
“They make my job difficult because these things affect my team. You don’t get these chances to play a quarter final every day,”
“We achieved fantastic results here, winning against Zamalek, against Hussein Dey, against Petro with nine men, then comes this kind of a game… a knockout game then suddenly, strike. It is difficult. My job is so hard to collect these players and bring them to the pitch. To motivate them is hard,” Oktay further stated.
He has now called on the club’s management to sort out the issues, though Capital Sports understands the players’ match winning allowances are yet to be paid.
He believes that if things could have been different off the pitch then they would have posted a better result against the North Africans and boosted their hopes of making it into the last four.
“What can I say? It is a family; a big family and I am also in the same boat. Families protect and respect each other and I wish that the bigger guys in the family can sort out this issue and we don’t get it in the future. In Europe people are texting me and asking me whether we gonna play or not. Everybody knows,” the dejected tactician stated.
Adding; “You never know if we will get this chance again. It is good for Kenya and Gor Mahia. They have to be careful about this kind of stuff in the future.”
Despite a 2-0 deficit from Sunday’s first leg, Oktay is hopeful he can engineer a comeback when the two sides clash in the return leg in Berkane in a week’s time.
“Anything is possible in football. It is not over in this game. We have a chance in the second le. I never give up. It is not finished yet and the excitement for me starts now,” stated the tactician.
Gor will need to win the return leg by a margin of more than three goals to progress and judging by their continental away record, it is going to be a mountainous task for them.
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