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.

Oktay Defends Odhoji, blames attack

Shaban Odhoji has been having a good run between the posts. But on Thursday against KCB Fans faulted him for the goals especially the third one where he was caught out of position. However Coach Oktay is adamant that Gor Mahia would have won that game if they took their chances.

I can’t blame my keeper for those mistakes because they play as a team. Why is it that when strikers miss chances in any given match, they are not at fault but when a keeper concedes a goal, he has committed a mistake?” Oktay told goal.com

Oktay is seeking to build Odhoji’s confidence so that the custodian can build on his good run.
“Odhoji has been marvellous for us in the last few matches and we cannot crucify him just for one or two mistakes. He was fantastic in the second half of the season, we did not concede and I like his attitude because he always leads the team from behind.” he continued.

Oktay has his work cut out to sharpen the attack
“We were on top in the second period, I lost count of the chances we created. I guess we had around seven or eight chances that my strikers could not put away. Mustafa (Francis) missed four and scored one, Jacques Tuyisenge missed two and I think Boniface Omondi squandered another,” said Oktay

Oktay knows that Gor Mahia cannot afford to relax since Sofapaka are breathing down their neck, only six points behind. Gor Mahia cannot afford another slip up against Westerm Stima on Sunday.

“It was a game we deserved to win but when you don’t use your chances, be assured of dropping points and that is what happened to us. I am happy with the draw because KCB also played well and never gave us time to play our game.” he concluded.

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.

Oktay is not coach yet

In a confusing turn of events, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has told the Daily Nation that Hassan Oktay will not be named head coach until other candidates are assessed as well.

Story from the Daily Nation

Hassan Oktay is not yet Gor Mahia coach but is among the four possible candidates in the race to take over the vacant head coach position, club’s chairman Ambrose Rachier has clarified.

Rachier has said that Oktay will face off with Stefano Maccopi from Italy, former Asante Kokoto coach Steven Polack (Finland) and a fourth coach who is believed to be of Russian descent.

The successful candidate will step in the shoes vacated by Englishman Dylan Kerr who has since joined up South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit Black Leopards.

Press reports had on Sunday indicated that Oktay had taken over the reins at the Sportpesa Premier League defending champions and he even gave halftime pep talk during K’Ogalo’s 1-0 loss to Kariobangi Sharks in the Kenya Premier League Super Cup at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Oktay will also travel with Gor Mahia to Blantyre as they seek to defend their slim 1-0 win against Nyasa Big Bullets in Caf Champions League preliminary round. The winner of this tie will meet the victor between Cameroonian side USM de Loum and Nigerian side Lobi Stars.

Rachier has  described Oktay as an experienced coach and affordable placing the Turkish-Cypriot in pole position to be named as Kerr’s successor. “Hassan (Oktay) has a lot of experience coaching in West Ham, he has also won the league in Thailand and speaks very good English having worked in a premier league team as an assistant coach, we felt attracted,” Rachier said.

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.