Kenya/Angola: Fresh Headache for Hassan Oktay as Angolan Battle Looms

10 February 2019

After successfully guiding his team to victory over AFC Leopards on Saturday, Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay finds himself in a dilemma as he reviews his attacking options ahead of the team's next international match against Angola's Atlético Petróleos de Luanda.

Rwandan striker Jacques Tuyisenge, who is currently the Group D top scorer with two goals, has accumulated two yellow cards in the course of the competition and is therefore ineligible to play against Atlético Petróleos.

Defender Philemon 'Mbish' Otieno is also sailing in the same boat and will remain in the country with Tuyisenge as the rest of the K'Ogalo players leave for Angola tomorrow morning.

Tuyisenge's ineligibility presents Oktay with a fresh challenge as he seeks the three points necessary to help the team remain on top of their CAF Confederation Cup Group D.

Star striker Dennis Oliech could have been a perfect replacement, but the Kenyan international grazed his leg in training last Friday, and is currently fighting to beat a late fitness test ahead of the team's departure tomorrow.

The grass-burn kept Oliech from playing any role in the Mashemeji Derby on Saturday, and he is yet to be given a clean bill of health by the team doctor.

"We thought it was something minor and we even expected him to play against Leopards but it seems the doctor thinks he is not ready.

"We now have to wait and see if the doctor will clear him to travel or not," Gor's Deputy Secretary General Ronald Ngala told Nation Sport yesterday.

In the event that Tuyisenge and Oliech are both unavailable, Oktay will have to rely on the youthful talent of former Zoo Kericho man Nicholas Kipkurui.

The raw but talented Kipkurui made his CAF Confederation Cup debut 10 days ago with a scintillating goal against Egyptian club Zamalek, but appeared lethargic against Ingwe in Saturday's Mashemeji Derby that ended 2-0 in favour of K'Ogalo.

Francis Kahata and Kenneth Muguna scored a goal in each half to condemn Ingwe to a fourth consecutive league defeat, and second under Casa Mbungo's reign as coach.

The defending champions will, however, feel hard done by the referee's decision to disallow a goal from Tuyisenge for offside, even as television replays showed otherwise.

That result took K'Ogalo to second on the SportPesa Premier League table with 22 points while Ingwe remained 15th on 10 points after 11 games.

The defeat moved Rwandan Casa Mbungo to bluntly tell Ingwe faithful not to view him as the biblical messiah who will automatically save the team from ruin.

"I am not the messiah. I am a simple man. A simple coach. All I can promise is that I will do my best to get the team back on track. That is possible especially if we reinforce the squad in the March transfer window," the former Rwandan international goalkeeper said.

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