Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay has assured the fans that the team will grind out a good result despite his absence on Sunday.
The Cypriot has to watch the Caf Confederation Cup quarter-final first leg against Renaissance Sportive de Berkane of Morocco from the stands, after he was sent off during the team’s final Group D match against Petro Atletico of Angola.
Apart from Oktay, the Kenyan champions will also be without Shafik Batambuze, Jacques Tuyisenge, Ernest Wendo, and captain Harun Shakava – who are all suspended – while first-choice goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch is nursing a shoulder injury.
Oktay, however, is adamant that his charges will rise to the occasion and get a substantial lead to take to the return leg in Morocco.
“Look, I have top class players, who understand my philosophy, whether I am in the technical area or not, they know what to do. I don’t need to be at the technical area for them to perform, they are professionals, who have mastered my philosophy very well," Oktay told Goal in an exclusive interview.
“I know it is going to be a difficult match, playing minus your top five players is honestly a huge blow but we have to master a way of winning the match. We have good depth in our squad and that is what we will bank on.”
Oktay admitted that he expects RS Berkane to play defensively while looking for goal-scoring opportunities on the counter-attack.
“I know, they will come here to defend and maybe try to get that away goal. It is normal for any team to do that when playing away from home and I have instructed my players on how to approach the game,” Oktay continued.
Sunday's match will be the first time in history that Gor Mahia and RS Berkane will face off in any Caf competition.