NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – Gor Mahia faces Morocco’s RS Berkane in the first leg of their CAF Confederations Cup quarter final on Sunday afternoon at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani without four of their first team players and head coach Hassan Oktay.
Oktay is suspended for the home game after his sending off against Petro Atletico in their last group match while skipper Harun Shakava will also serve a one match suspension after getting two yellow cards.
Striker Jacques and left back Safik Batambuze are suspended for both home and away legs while defensive midfielder Ernest Wendo is suspended for the home and away ties and if Gor make it to the semis, for the first leg.
“It is definitely tough when the coach is not there and then again you miss four first team players. To be honest, it’s not easy. But we have to go there and fight. I have a huge squad of 30 players and we have others who are able to step up,” the tactician stated.
Tuyisenge will be a huge miss for Gor especially having scored important goals for the Kenyan champions in the campaign and in his absence, Oktay will look on the prowess and experience of Dennis Oliech to bang in the goals against Berkane.
“I trust in him because he has the experience and he has been scoring goals for us. The most important thing for us is to get a win at home and that is why he will be an important player for us,” Oktay offered.
The tactician who will watch proceedings from the terraces and will not even be allowed inside the dressing room has urged his side to finish the job at home.
“We know how hard it is to play away from home and we need to ensure we get a comfortable here to finish the job. We need the crowd behind us and we need to take our chances. I am not worried, I know we can do it,” further stated the tactician.
Berkane are currently placed ninth in the Moroccan Botola league with 28 points off 22 games, 24 off leaders Raja Cassablanca. They have only won one of their last five games, this being a CAF Confederations Cup game against Congo’s Otoho d’Oyo.
They have apoor away record having only won two in their last 10 travels. Their only away win in this competition was a 1-0 result away to Libya’s Al Ittihad in the preliminary round.
Despite having what looks like a poor record, Oktay knows it will not be an easy tie.
“They are a very unique team because from the research I have done on them, they don’t have one playing style or formation. They keep changing. It is very hard to plan against such a team. Also, they have very good players some who have played in Europe. They also have very mobile strikers and that is one area we need to be careful about,” stated Oktay.
In the absence of Shakava in defense, Oktay will be least worried as Joash Onyango has just returned from injury and will slot in. In midfield, the Cypriot will most likely go with Lawrence Juma as the defensive option and partner him with Kenneth Muguna.
With their away records being anything but enviable, Gor will want to finish the game in the first leg.
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