Gor Mahia unveils new coach and 17 new signings

New Kogalo coach Steven Polack was officially unveiled at a ceremony on Thursday.

The enthusiastic Polack promised results.

“I always strive to be number one. And this is a new challenge, a big one. We will have to get it right and the first impression is we will.” he said according to the Nation.

New signings List

Caleb Omondi, Alphonce Ombija, Lloyd Khavuchi, Godfrey Ombijo, Richdonald Bolo, Samuel Osok, (promoted from the club’s youth team), Abdalla Shira and Tobias Otieno (from Sony Sugar), Elvis Ronack (Nzoia Sugar), Maurice Ojwang (Western Stima), Robert Mapigano (Singida United, Tanzania), Dickson Ambundo (Alliance, Tanzania), Curtis Wekesa, Dennis Oalo (Nairobi Stima), Francis Afiriye (Ivory Coast), Gieslin Gikpe (Ghana)

Tobias Otieno
Kennedy Otieno “Agogo”

Mieno and Blackberry join Tusker

Long time Gor Mahia attacker George Odhiambo “Blackberry” who has been training with Tusker has officially joined the side alongside former Gor Mahia midfielder Humphrey Mieno who left St George of Ethiopia after an unhappy sojourn there where he spent most of the time on the bench.

Thank you coach Hassan Oktay

Former Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay has left an indelible mark on the club, despite being coach for only a year. He will be remembered as the first coach who steered a Kenyan team to the group stage of a continental event and beyond. In the process, Kogalo recorded famous victories over Egyptian giants Zamalek as well as Hussein Dey of Algeria, Union Douala of Cameroun and Petro Atletico of Angola.

Oktay also steered Kogalo to the league title. This came despite a torrid start that saw the club lose to KCB and fans calling for the firing of the coach in only his second match.

In the end Oktay had to leave for Turkey in order to be near his parents who are both ailing from cancer. On leaving, Oktay said he will always have a high regard for Gor Mahia.

“I have coached in Turkey and won the league title there, also coached in Saudi Arabia and now Kenya with Gor Mahia, I will always respect Gor Mahia of all the teams I have handled in my career,” Oktay told Goal.

“You want me to talk bad about Gor Mahia, I cannot. I just cannot, they are the best club I have ever handled in my entire career and will always keep track with what they are doing even if I don’t return from my leave.

“I have a lot of respect for the club chairman [Ambrose Rachier], he is one man who is dedicated to make sure the club is managed well and I like how he has always done his work.”

On behalf of Gor Mahia online supporters club aka Gor Mahia bloggers branch, we wish a speedy recovery to Oktay’s parents. And we wish Oktay success in all his future endeavors.

Steve Polack arrives

British coach Steve Polack who is widely expected to become the new head coach of Gor Mahia FC arrived in the country on Wednesday at 2:42 PM.

He was most recently a coach in Ghana. In 2018, he was coach at Asante Kotoko, the storied Ghanaian side. He took over after former Gor Mahia coach Zdravko Logarusic departed. Kotoko were fourth in the league when the league was abandoned.

In 2017 he was coach at Berekum Chelsea when they finished 8th in the league. In 2011 again he was coach at Berekum Chelsea when they won the Ghanaian league. In 2009 he was coach at King Faisal when they finished 4th in the Ghanaian league.

Polack also holds Finland citizenship and coached there for many years. In 2007 he coached second tier side PK Keski Uusimmaa. In 2006 he was coach at FC Raahe when they finished fourth in the Finnish top tier (Vekkausliga). In 2005 he coached AC Oulu when they finished tenth in the Finnish top tier. Prior to that he coached a number of teams in the Ginnish lower tiers. He has also had numerous stints as an assistant coach in Finland.

Therefore his coaching experience is vast and he is used to the vagaries of coaching an African team such as the lack of equipment, insufficient training facilities, player go slows and strikes as well as incompetence and interference from officials.

Prior to coaching, Polack played most of his career in Finland. He played for RoPS of Rovaniemi in the Finnish top tier between 1984 and 1994.

He then played for Inter Turku also in the Finnish top tier for 3 years before becoming their head coach.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Should he, as widely expected, be named Gor Mahia coach on Thursday, Steve Polack’s immediate role is to mastermind a win for the Kenyan champions against their Burundian counterparts Aigle Noir Makamba FC in the preliminaries of the 2019/2020 Caf Champions League.

The Englishman arrived in Nairobi at 2:42pm Wednesday to replace Hassan Oktay, who delivered his resignation letter to K’Ogalo chairman Ambrose Rachier on Tuesday evening, citing ‘personal’ problems in his native Europe.

Polack will sign a two-year contract on Thursday before departing with the team to Bujumbura Friday morning in time for Sunday’s Champions League first leg clash.

This game is set for the 10,000 seater Intwari stadium, formerly known as the Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium, in the country’s capital.

Gor assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo has been preparing the first team in Oktay’s absence, but Nation Sport understands club chairman Rachier had to move in fast and bring in Polack as the former Sony Sugar coach doesn’t have the requisite qualifications to take charge of a continental title.

“It is important to have someone who has African football management experience,” Gor Chief Executive Lordvick Aduda explained.

Hassan Oktay has resigned

It is now official. Gor Mahia’s Turkish coach Hassan Oktay has resigned his position.

Additional reporting from the Standard

“Kindly accept my resignation as Gor Mahia FC head coach effective today [August 6], the sixth day of August 2019. As you are aware, the decision has been forced on me by the personal challenges I am facing here in Europe,” Oktay said.

The announcement comes as a shocker as the Turkish-Cypriot had initially asked for six days off and travelled to his native country Turkey for family issues.

Oktay has, however, thanked the club for the opportunity they gave him to manage the Kenyan football giants.

“I wish to thank you and the entire club, including the fans for the opportunity you accorded me to manage this great club. I also wish you guys all the best in your forthcoming assignments.” The Turkish-Cypriot added.

The club has accepted Oktay’s resignation and thanked him for his services.

“The club has accepted Oktay’s wish to terminate his contract and thanks to him for his services. The club also prays for Oktay’s situation to get better,” the club confirmed.

Oktay took over K’Ogalo in December 2018 to succeed Dylan Kerr, who had also resigned from his position after only one season.

The resignation of the tactician is a huge blow to the KPL champions who have also had their assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno leave the club to join KCB as their head coach.

Gor has also lost their key players to other clubs who were pivotal to their KPL glory last week.

Attacking midfielder Francis Kahata joined Simba SC, striker Jacques Tuyisenge left for Petro Atletico while their then captain Harun Shakava recently left for Zambian side Nkana FC.

Oktay parts ways with K’Ogalo after just one season in charge and helping the club lift their 18th KPL title.

Rachier: We may have to replace Oktay

Gor Mahia are in the dark as to whether Hassan Oktay is returning. As such, chairman Ambrose Rachier is preparing to take contingency measures according to goal.com

Additional reporting from goal.com

The KPL reigning champions are not sure whether Oktay will return to the club after he requested for leave and has not responded in time

The club will find a replacement should head coach Hassan Oktay fail to return from compassionate leave.

Oktay requested for leave to attend to family issues but is yet to join Gor Mahia who are preparing to take on Aigle Noir of Burundi in the CAF Champions League preliminary clash on August 10.

The club’s chairman Ambrose Rachier has told Goal he is ready to appoint Oktay’s successor should the Cypriot-Turkish tactician fail to report back.

“After the five days, he requested for leave ended yesterday [August 5], I dropped him an e-mail and he is yet to respond. We will wait until tomorrow [August 7] and see whether he will have responded before we are forced to make another decision,” Rachier told goal.com

Rachier added the club is prepared to find a quick solution if Oktay doesn’t return.

“Whether he will return or not, we are set not to be caught [with our] pants down. I still have the list of 53 coaches who applied for the job in November alongside him and I will chat and probably have one take the role should Oktay not return at all,” he revealed.

Oktay deservedly April coach of the month

Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay crowned a succesful season when he was named April Fidelity Insurance Coach of the Month Award winner. It marks his second award. He was also named SJAK winner in February. Its a deserved award as Oktay was the first coach to steer a Kenyan tea past the group stages of the Africa cup.

“This feels as a fair reward for a difficult job. I’m happy for what my team accomplished,” the jubilant Oktay exclaimed before launching into the so called big teams for not offering sufficient challenge.

Oktay was able to keep players composed even as other teams played their best matches against Gor Mahia. Every team and every player plays extremely hard against Gor Mahia.

“We have dropped points against teams sitting lower in the table but for the big games there was no competition. We prepared for the big games then they turn out to be walks in the park,” he said to Citizen sport.

Oktay also deserves plaudits for keeping the team calm and focused amid player revolts and other issues that plagued the playing unit this season.

Oktay did an excellent job of rotating players to keep players fresh and injury free in a season that was so physically demanding that sometimes Kogalo played four matches in one week.

And Oktay himself had to stay calm and keep the players believing in his philosophy after a poor start that saw many naysayers say that Gor Mahia would struggle to finish in the top 3. Matters came to a head when Kogalo lost to KCB at Machakos and fans demanded that Oktay be fired.

Kerr Resigns at Black Leopards

Former Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr who left for South Africa at the end of last season, has resigned from Black Leopards, the team he joined.

“Yes, he has sent his resignation letter but as a team, we are closed for the season now but we will sit down and release an official statement on the way forward,” Chairman David Thidiela said to Limsports Zone.

This season Black Leopards, finished in 13th place with 7 wins, 9 draws and 14 losses. They finished two points above the relegation zone. Kerr is said to have been very frustrated with his playing unit at the end of the season.

Black Leopards is one of the best supported teams in South Africa, drawing 11,000 fans to their home games, behind only Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.

Oktay: Injuries decimating the playing Unit

Stalwart attacker Dennis Oliech is out for the rest of the season. He broke his hand in the match against Western Stima after colliding with an opponent and landing awkwardly.

Aside from Oliech, coach Oktay stated that the tight schedule is taking its toll on the playing unit in terms of injuries.

“Goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch is sick, Jacques Tuyisenge as an ankle problem same as defenders Charles Momanyi and Shafik Batambize, while Shaban Odhoji is also struggling. All I want is to get a report from the medical stuff before I know what to do.” Oktay told goal.com

Oktay also re-asserted that the blunt attack is the culprit in the last two games.

“That is normal to drop points, it normal and in football that is normal, Against KCB we had injuries and we were losing 3-0 but managed to get a draw despite the mising seven chances. We were supposed to get maximum points from KCB,”

“It was also the same thing against Western Stima, we dominated the match and hit the post twice plus a number of missed chances but we finally dropped points because Stima came looking for a point.” Oktay continued.

Kerr describes horror of coaching Gor Mahia

Speaking to the Sun newspaper in the United Kingdom, former Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr has described the appalling conditions he had to ensure as Gor Mahia coach.

He first decried the appalling conditions of the playing surface of KPL venues.

Kerr said: “It was horrendous. You wouldn’t walk your dogs on some fields we played on. Yet that was Kenya’s Premier League.”


Kerr also described how players often went without food because their salaries were not paid on time.

“Six of my players got jobs in work-yards because they couldn’t afford to eat. One lost 8kg as he wasn’t eating.

He noted that players went on strike during the last six matches of the season.

“In my last six games, my players downed tools. Once I had to knock on doors, begging players to fulfil the fixture. But they would go on the pitch and lose because they weren’t being paid. I understood but it was frustrating.” he said

Kerr went on to state that he had a good relationship with the fans unlike the previous coach Ze Maria

“We never had issues with fans because we were winning. “But the previous coach lost three games on the run and they tried to burn the bus with the players in it! They smashed all the windows.”

Next Match

Gor Mahia will travel to Kericho to play Zoo Kericho on Wednesday March 27. On Saturday they will return to their spiritual home of Kisumu where they will play Kariobangi Sharks.

“It’s been a while since Gor Mahia played in Kisumu and as an office, we have decided to take the match to the fans based around there. Let them come out in good numbers to support the team.” said treasurer Sally Bolo to goal.com

Oktay praises Ze Maria

Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay attributes the team’s improved performance after a poor start to the fact that the team has now adjusted to his tactics.

“I put my own philosophy and it has worked and I believe they are going to get better. Even in our first game in our loss against Bandari, I said we going to get better and you can see that happening every day,” Oktay said after the Petro game.

Oktay further thinks that the previous coach Dylan Kerr benefited from the foundation laid by the previous coach Ze Maria.

“At the start of my tenure, they struggled to get what I needed from them. The other coach (Dylan Kerr) had a different philosophy but the Brazilian (Ze Maria) laid the foundation for this group. A little bit of tiki-taka football, slow motion and the other guy (Kerr) who came took the benefit from him but I changed everything from the scratch. ” said Oktay to futaa.com

Oktay says his attention now shifts to the domestic scene

“As a coach, you must strive to win the league first but you can’t ignore the other competitions you are in too. Times it’s hard to balance this because I have to rotate due to the schedule we have. A time you have injuries and you have to force your players to play. Like Muguna (Kenneth) will be out for another week or ten days and I have to find able replacements in his position. It’s my job to do that,”

Gor Mahia open their 2019 FKF cup campaign against Kenpoly on Wednesday.

Who is Hassan Oktay?

There are reports in certain sections of the media suggest that Hassan Oktay, a coach of Cypriot Turkish origin, will be taking over as head coach at Gor Mahia FC. Oktay has spent most of his coaching career in the UK and has mostly coached none-league teams.

He is currently assistant coach at Braintree Town FC where the head coach is another Turk Hakan Hayrettin. Braintree is a semi-professional team that plays in the English fifth tier.  They are currently at the bottom of the table and are certain to be relegated further.

Oktay and Hayrettin have coached together at three separate teams with Oktay being described as the tactical mind and Hayrettin as the motivator.

According to Mike Okinyi, Oktay will be on 3 months probation. He will watch the match against Kariobangi Sharks from the terraces.

Oktay gained his UEFA A Licence at West Ham United and has also worked at Grays Athletic where he was head coach in 2013, Banbury United where he was assistant coach as well as Watford Academy, Waltham Forest and Thurrock.

In his last head coaching gig, he coached Grays athletic in the Isthmian League which is a regional league in London. The club finished 14th out of 22 teams. And at Thurrock he did not exactly get a ringing endorsement.