Kenya: Oktay Brings Familiar British Touch to Gor

Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay
11 December 2018

Gor Mahia has in recent years become synonymous with British coaches and it is this familiarity that Turkish-Cypriot turned Briton Hassan Oktay brings to the 17-time SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions.

The 42-year-old penned a two-year deal with Gor on Monday ending the uncertainty over who would replace Dylan Kerr.

He beat Finnish coach Steven Polack and Italian Stefano Maccopi to the hot seat.

Oktay, who gained his Uefa "A" coaching licence at English Premiership side West Ham United, becomes the fifth coach from the United Kingdom to handle Gor Mahia following in the footsteps of Englishman Len Julien, who led the Kenyan giants to three successive Kenyan Premier League (KPL) titles in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

Scot Bobby Williamson, who came in 2013 to guide Gor to their first league gong in 18 years before compatriot Frank Nuttall replaced him midway through the 2014 season to steer them to the Kenyan championship.

Nuttall then completed a double the following year, 2015, with an unbeaten record.

Briton Dylan Kerr was signed up in July last year and clinched back-to-back titles setting the bar high for new man Oktay.

"When you come to big clubs mentally and physically you need to get ready because the expectations are high and I'm ready," said Oktay, who has spent most of his coaching career in the UK.

Oktay made his touchline debut on December 5 in Blantyre as K'Ogalo lost 1-0 to Malawi side Nyasa Big Bullets in the Caf Champions League preliminary round second leg but advanced to the first round 4-3 on post-match penalties to set a date with Nigerian outfit Lobi Stars in Nairobi this Sunday.

Despite losing 2-1 to Bandari in his second match last Saturday, Oktay is confident of bagging his first win this afternoon against Zoo Kericho at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

"Sometimes it takes time for players to adapt to the new system very well," added the former English fifth tier side Braintree United assistant coach.

"The thing is, we need to stay focused and take it a game at a time, I believe we will get three points against Zoo," he emphasised.

Gor, who are unbeaten in four games against Zoo, will miss the services of injured Rwandese import Jacques Tuyisenge.

Oktay will bank on Ivorian Ephrem Guikan and Burundian Francis Mustafa for goals. The duo looked sharp in training on Tuesday at Camp Toyoyo grounds.

"At the moment we are struggling because of the injuries but we've enough quality to do the job," Oktay concluded.

Zoo coach Sammy Okoth, who lost three regulars Nicholas Kipkirui to Gor Mahia, Mike Madoya (Tusker) and Isaac Kipyegon (AFC Leopards) last month, is hopeful of a good display following their 1-0 defeat to Nzoia Sugar in their league opener last Sunday.

"We are trying to avoid feeling the pinch of losing the trio because we believe we can shape their replacements to deliver," the former Kenyan international forward noted.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Nation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.