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.


Siasia and 50 others interested in Gor Mahia job

Siasia celebrating with Naija U23 players

A raft of qualified coaches have applied for the open coaching position at Gor Mahia

Story courtesy of the Nation

Former Nigeria national team coach Samson Siasia is among coaches who have applied for the vacant Gor Mahia job even as the record Kenyan champions brace for a tough Caf Champions League preliminary round first leg clash against Malawi champions Nyasa Bullets at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Wednesday.

Siasia, 51, is remembered for leading Nigeria in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before he was fired in October 2011 only to be reappointed five years later.

He led Nigeria Under-23 at the 2008 and 2016 Summer Olympics winning silver and bronze medals respectively. He also clinched the African Youth Championship with the Under-20 side in 2005 among some of his career highlights.

By Friday afternoon, a whooping 48 coaches had tendered in their CVs eyeing the post that fell vacant after the resignation of Briton Dylan Kerr, who has since joined South African top tier outfit Black Leopards.

In a shocking turn of events, there’s no Kenyan coach who has officially applied for the job even as hopes for assistant coach Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno to be handed the job on a permanent basis dwindle.

Rwandese Olivier Karekezi, Portuguese Rui Nascimento, Italian Giovanni Petraglia, Serbians Goran Kopunovic, Dragon Popadic and Zlatko Krmpotic – the latter formerly at TP Mazembe of DR Congo and Zesco United of Zambia – have all sent their applications.


Former AFC Leopards coach, Belgian Luc Eymael and current Rayon Sports’ Brazilian tactician Roberto Oliveira had been tagged as favourites before Eymael bolted out of the race to join Egyptian side El Geish SC.

As the search for a head coach continues, the 17-time SportPesa Premier League (SPL) have put Zico temporarily in charge.

“We are still sieving through the CVs till next week when we shall call for a sitting to zero down on what we have,” Gor Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lordvick Aduda told Nation Sport on Friday.

Gor has posted success with coaches from the United Kingdom in recent times, notably Bobby Williamson in 2013 to Frank Nuttall and recently Kerr, a factor Aduda alluded will be considered during the vetting process.

“We want someone who will take Gor Mahia to the next level and have an impact in the Champions League, he has to understand African football,” he offered.

Meanwhile, the team continued with their preparations for Wednesday’s match with a double training session at Camp Toyoyo grounds, a day after the club cleared the Sh340,000 debt that had seen them locked out of the facility for weeks.

Their opponents Nyasa Bullets were slated to play Chitipa United in the quarter-finals of Malawi FISD Challenge Cup on Friday at Kamuzu Stadium.

Malawian portal, Nyasa Times, reported on Thursday that the country’s most popular club, through their CEO Fleetwood Haiya, had asked the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to reschedule the fixture as it would put them at a disadvantage before flying to play Gor.

FAM however disputed the complaint through media manager Gomezgani Zakazaka.

Another Malawi side, Silver Strikers had their Challenge Cup match postponed to allow them time to travel to Gabon. They made a stopover in Nairobi to play Tusker in friendly on Friday.

Why Kerr left Gor Mahia

Dylan Kerr appeared a happy man as he walked around the city and mingled with fans. However there may have been frustrations that he did not reveal to fans prior to leaving. A report on futaa.com offers details as to why coach Dylan Kerr felt compelled to leave Gor Mahia

Story from futaa.com
Dylan Kerr’s resignation as Gor Mahia’s coach on Thursday 15th November shocked the K’Ogalo faithful. But what really pushed the Briton to the edge?

Futaa has unearthed shocking revelations of Kerr’s tribulations at Gor Mahia that played a big part in his resignation despite his notable achievements since joining the 17-time Kenyan Premier League champions in 2017.

According to sources, a number of issues ranging from salary arrears and poor living conditions forced out the coach who had very quickly become a fan favorite of the Green Army.

Salary arrears

The club had failed to pay Dylan Kerr even a single cent for four months and there was no hope by the time he left. Close sources indicate that the Briton was going through a rough patch financially and a lack of water and electricity at his Kileleshwa apartment due to rent arrears was a testament to that.

The lack of water in his house forced him to take showers in a swimming pool around the area.

Judith Nyangi, a vocal club official took to Facebook to pour her frustrations at the club saying, “Kerr is the only coach who could have persevered at Gor Mahia, imagine a coach staying in a house without electricity and water and having to shower in a swimming pool coz of rent arrears. Fans must protect this brand at all means.”

The Briton was a regular visitor at a Kibanda in Kilimani near Yaya Centre, not because he liked it but because his pockets could not allow him to have a proper meal at a proper place.

A fan who was a close friend of the coach and whose identity we cannot reveal due to security reasons told us, “Dylan Kerr was spending Ksh 150 on lunch eating Ugali and Matumbo at a Kibanda near Yaya.”

In fact, things were so tough for the coach to the point he could not buy a new phone after losing the one he was using to thugs. It took the efforts of two unnamed players to pull resources and get him a new one.


As petty as it might sound, Gor had transformed their coach into a trekking machine, by the time of his departure, Dylan Kerr did not have a car of his own or one provided by the club making his movements to and from training a difficult journey – most times, the 51-year-old was forced to trek from Kileleshwa to camp Toyoyo for training.

The close relationship with former Ingwe coach

Kerr’s close relationship with former AFC Leopards coach Rodolfo Zapata and newly appointed Sofapaka coach Melis Medo might also have played a role in his departure.

The two were being taken good care of by their respective clubs and that left the Briton wondering why his club was treating him badly.

The Brit will go down in history as one of the most successful Gor Mahia coaches ever having won the Kenya Premier League in his debut season and defending the title the following year. Kerr will also take credit for guiding K’Ogalo back to continental football.

Coach Kerr happy with result

Coach Dylan Kerr is happy that his side managed to grab a point away from home when they played Rayon Sports on Sunday.

“This is a fantastic away result, every player on the team did an excellent job to ensure we don’t lose, especially the defenders.” said Kerr accring to goal.com

Kerr defended his team which has withstoodd a lot of criticism for conceding that goal.

“It was not like the one we conceded against Mathare United at Machakos Stadium. This time, the ball did not split the wall. It was a fantastic free-kick and we could not do anything about it,” he said according to the Standard.

Kerr however admitted that the large crowd at Nyamirambo stadium may have intimidated his side.

“The Rayon Sports fans were marvellous and stood behind their team. I think my boys panicked after the equaliser and at half time, I had to tell them to relax and just enjoy themselves.” Kerr continued.

Kerr thinks his side will overcome their first game jitters.

“The early goal unsettled us but we recovered and even hoped to do better. It is just the first match and we are looking forward to a better campaign,” he said.

Gor Mahia will need to solidify their defence and sharpen their attack as they face a formidable Algerian side in USM Alger on May 16. The Algerians walloped Young Africans of Tanzania 4-0 last weekend.

Kerr given carte blanche on transfer targets

Coach Dylan Kerr will have the final say regarding new signings. This according to the club CEO Lordvick Aduda.

We can’t influence his decisions because now he is the owner of the team. As the management once the coach as identified the areas that need to be improved then it’s our responsibility to approach them and start negotiations,” Aduda told Citizen Digital.

Kerr is intent on strengthening his side for a busy 2018 which will include the CECAFA club cup, Africa Champions league and other tournaments.
The news that Kerr will have final say as it is he who knows best which player can fit in his system.

Aduda says the club is deciding how to reward players for a successful 2017.

“However once we receive our money of being crowned the champions we shall have arrangements on how to appreciate each player,” he said.

Gor Mahia dominate CECAFA Squad

New Harambee Stars coach Paul Put named his squad for the fortcoming CECAFA cup. Gor Mahia contributed 7 players, the most of any side.

Goalkeepers: Boniface, Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Gabriel Andika (AFC Leopards), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers).
Defenders: Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Charles Momanyi (Kakamega Homeboyz), Dennis Shikhayi (AFC Leopards), Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers), Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Wellington Ochieng (Gor Mahia), Bernard Ochieng (Vihiga United) and Omar Mbongi (Ulinzi Stars).
Midfielders: Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Whyvonne Issuza (AFC Leopards), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Patillah Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Ovellah Ochieng (Kariobangi Sharks), Lawrence Juma (Nzoia Sugar).
Strikers: Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars), Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt), George Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Masoud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), Vincent Oburu (AFC Leopards), Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars) and Benjamin Mosha (Sony Sugar).

Comparing Kerr to Ze Maria

The East African Standard interviewed Kogalo officials and players to find out how current coach Dylan Kerr compares to Ze Maria.

Courtesy of the Standard
The difference plays out in run up to league victory at K’Ogalo

The last three coaches to win league titles at Gor Mahia, if you include Dylan Kerr, have one common denominator. Forget fact that they’re all British.

Bobby Williamson, Frank Nuttall and Dylan Kerr all came into the club midstream of the seasons and ended up winning the league title in their first years. We all know coach Bobby’s 2013 was the most celebrated for he brought back tears of joy to a club whose fans had all but accepted to live with the bitter truth that their glory days were gone and finishing second, like they did in 2010, was an accomplishment.

When he replaced Bobby Williamson towards end of 2014, not many knew who exactly coach Frank Nuttall was save for the fact that he was Bobby’s chosen one. But a good coach is known by his results. His record in 2015 is out there for all to see.

José Marcelo Fereira, alias Zé Maria, came to K’Ogalo with the very pedigree of a coach — exactly what team manager Jolawi Obondo calls a text book coach.
ALSO READ: Drop zone: Western Stima relegated from KPL, Thika’s fate hanging

“Zé Maria is what people go to coaching school to study,” says Jolawi who has worked with well seven coaches at the club. “The man was a typical instructor. He had this big vision, a jumbo dream of sorts, which he wanted to impart to players.”

Only falling short of calling Zé Maria a mannequin in a coaching school lab, Jolawi Obondo describes the Brazilian as an astute student of European football schools. On contracts for example, Zé Maria knew in and out what was required of him by the club, did his bit and was often livid whenever he felt the club did not honour its end of the bargain.

“Zé Maria slept with his contract,” says Jolawi adding that “he was conscious of training requirements, timings and no player dared arrive late however indispensable that player thought he was.”

While many think strict adherence to the rule book is requisite for good workmanship, it may be the very ticket that sends one out of his job; it is what causes friction. Zedekiah Zico Otieno, who was Zé Maria’s assistant, shares in this: “Modern football allows for close observance to rules but not rigidity. If you’re too stiff, it may be your undoing.”

Zico, the only successful Brazilian at Gor Mahia, weighs in on the style of play employed by coach Zé Maria: “With Zé Maria we played three at the back because we needed more attacking options upfront. We scored goals then but we also conceded mainly from the flanks where we were exposed due to our style of play.”

Under Zé Maria’s three-man defence, Gor Mahia conceded 13 goals in 18 matches as compared to Dylan Kerr’s eight in similar number of outings.

Zé Maria did not last at the club. Nevertheless he charmed many with his ability to wear his boots and play with the boys at the same time he coached.

An introvert to many, but club Assistant Secretary General Ronald Ngala thinks otherwise. “Maybe language barrier also came into play,” asserts Ngala. Coming from Brazil, a Lusophone country, Zé Maria would pass for an introvert, his circle of friends predominantly being his assistants who spoke his language.

Then comes the very comical Dylan Kerr. This amiable former boss at Tanzanian giants Simba SC. His first task? Walk around the city and tweet every picture of it.

The Englishman arrived at Gor Mahia and immediately started bringing in changes. The first casualty was Zé Maria’s backline. Dylan didn’t believe three men could man a backline often marauded by physical athletes; Wycliffe Ochomo and the likes.

“Coach Dylan analysed the game,” states Zico. “Each system requires the right players to execute it. And most importantly you adopt a system according to your strengths and quality of opponent. That’s the reason coach Dylan in his wisdom chose to rotate systems.”

It is this flexibility in picking systems of play and players to field that is well pronounced in Dylan Kerr’s work ethics.

Team Manager Jolawi Obondo labels him a funny man. A sociable man. He gives a musical analogy to the difference between the Englishman and the Brazilian, “It is like listening to mellowly scripted Tukutendereza Yesu hymnals then the DJ suddenly plays hard rock. It is very difficult not to like Dylan. He’s lively. The kind of person you need to light up a party.”

Jolawi says: “I think it may be unfair to draw parallels against other coaches because Kerr has only overseen so many matches. We need to evaluate a coach from pre-season. And I think the break now offers him a great chance to build a team that can retain the trophy next year and compete favourably in Africa.”

Football is a result-oriented sport and Kerr has won the league on his first attempt, only rivaling Bobby Williamson, Frank Nuttall, the great Len Julians and Paul Odhiambo— the first coach ever to win the league title at Gor Mahia in 1968.

For the very conservative Gor Mahia fan, to whom winning the league title makes no sense if the club cannot beat AFC Leopards, Zé Maria has an edge over the Englishman. Zé Maria had three chances at Mashemeji Derby and he delivered resounding victories; 2-0, 3-0 and 3-0. Kerr on his part, has only played once in this fixture and only managed a draw from a losing start — 1-1.

Further, there is some sweet and sour taste in K’Ogalo fans’ mouths to imagine that the club’s longest winning streak happened under Zé Maria in 2016 the same season they didn’t win a trophy. Gor Mahia went on a seven-match winning sprawl in the league between April and July 2016 and that result has not been rivalled — not even the glorious 2015 comes close.

If there’s one man who knows that there’s no second chance for first impressions, it is Kerr. He edged out Zé Maria when he won his first five league matches at the helm. In fact, Kerr had to wait until his 13th match to face his first defeat. Zé Maria was a bit extravagant with losing — he lost in his fourth match.

One has won the league, the other one did not. So as Gor Mahia coach Kerr deservedly picked up his medal yesterday he should have been proud of every piece of it because surely, he has played his part in taking Gor Mahia where it belongs; national dominance.