Gor Mahia legend Tobias Ochola questions Hassan Oktay’s selection criteria

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Goal Kenya.
The Kenyan champions will head into the fixture with a dented ego having lost the last game to Petro Atletico away in Angola

Pressure will be on the host Gor Mahia when they take on Algerian side Hussein Dey in the Caf Confederation Cup.

Both sides are set to clash for the first time on Sunday but K’Ogalo, though at home, will be under pressure as they try to correct their past mistakes. Coach Hassan Oktay lost for the second time, away when they bowed to Petro Atletico in Luanda, Angola one week ago.

Hussein Dey, on the other hand, picked their fourth point that left them lying top in the Group D, one ahead of Gor Mahia, who are tied on points with Petro Atletico while Zamalek is bottom with just a point.

Ugandan striker Erisa Ssekisambu and Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay.

Zamalek’s unjustifiable poor outing so far could be the only consolation of sort to Oktay, even though the Turkish coach knows too well that another slump will be costly to his side’s dream of booking a quarter-final berth.

With a hundred percent win record at home, in the lower tier competition, Oktay might be hanging on some shreds of hope that his squad will once again deliver results at the Kasarani Stadium.

But according to former Gor Mahia legend, Tobias ‘Jua Kali’ Ochola, Oktay must get his pairing up front right, if he's to steer the team past the group stages in his first season with the Kenyan Premier League champions.

According to Ochola, who represented Gor Mahia at the continental stage between 1987 and 1994, Oktay has been struggling to piece up results, especially away, due to inconsistency in his decision making, as far as squad selection is concerned.

Gor Mahia coach Zedekiah Otieno and Hassan Oktay.

“The coach is still struggling to identify a formidable attack,” Ochola observed, adding that unless Gor Mahia wins all the remaining home fixtures, he fears that the team might drop out of the competition, just as they did last season, on the final hurdle.

“It is so dangerous where we are, at this stage. It’s like a repeat of the 2018 season and the team might lose out unless they collect all the remaining points at home then force at least a draw away,” Ocholla told Goal in an exclusive interview.

Ochola says that a defeat away in Angola was a big mistake by Gor Mahia arguing that Petro Atletico is the only team that the record Kenyan champions could have easily beaten away.

“Winning away has been a problem. Petro is the only team that we could have easily beaten (away) - they blew up that chance with juvenile mistakes from the defense.

“Gor Mahia needs to know how to play away - they went for an attack, but you need to know that you have to defend first (away) then attack only when it is convenient for you.”

Jacques Tuyisenge Ernest Wendo and Dennis Oliech of Gor Mahia.

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While Oktay missed lead striker Jacques Tuyisenge in the loss to Petro Atletico, Ochola is still convinced that the tactician is yet to identify his attacking pair. “Tuyisenge is our lead striker, but who is his partner or who should come in if he substituted or when he gets injured for example?

“Is it Oliech (Dennis) or Kipkirui (Nicholas), because today you see Francis (Mustafa) partnering Kipkirui and the next game it's Tuyisenge partnering with Ssekisambu (Erisa).

“We need consistency. We have been lacking a proper pairing since (Meddie) Kagere left because that was a perfect blend. But today, you can see that there is no cohesion is the striking department,” added Ochola, who currently works at Kenyatta University.

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