Gor Mahia coach has called on Kenyans to pray for the team ahead of Sunday’s Confederation Cup crunch tie away to Zamalek at Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria – Egypt.
Speaking to Kahawa Tungu sports desk from the Egypt’s second largest city, the Cypriot had one parting shot, “tell Kenyans to pray for this team.”
K’Ogalo crossed over to Egypt from Algeria on Tuesday to begin early preparations following a slim 1-0 loss to NA Hussein Dey on Sunday in a game marred by suspect refereeing.
Gor Mahia were hard-done by Malian referee Boubou Traore, who denied them a clear header, scored by Ugandan defender Shafik Batambuze in the 58th minute.
The hosts goal earlier in the match was equally questionable as it appeared that ball did not cross the line.
Oktay is nonetheless putting all that behind him as he rallies his troops for a possible double against Zamalek, who they beat 4-2 in Nairobi in the first leg.
“So far so good. We are all doing fine in Egypt and preparation for Sunday’s match are in top gear, Oktay told Gor Mahia website.
“We will be facing a team that had about nine players in the World Cup but this is football and anything can happen within the 90 minutes of play and so, we don’t fear anybody or anything but we respect our opponents.
Zamalek are giants in the North and Gor Mahia are giants in East Africa and so, it will be a clash of giants that we are very much ready for.”
As the cliche goes once bitten twice shy, Oktay is worried about poor refereeing and he is not hiding it.
“I am only worried about referees, we all saw what happened in Algeria…clean goal denied and so many unnecessary fouls given against us. What some referees are doing is embarrassing in football. That’s my only worry but otherwise, we are set and ready to take on Zamalek with one aim – to win.”
The team will make do without Batambuze who picked a second caution in the match.
Experienced goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch did not recover in time from an injury to join the team while George Odhiambo, who also missed the Algeria trip is already in the 2019 AFCON host country.
To enhance their chances of making the quarters, Gor Mahia, who are second in Group D standings on six points, will need to avoid defeat. But even with a loss against the White Knights, Petro Atletico of Angola can do them a favor by beating Hussein Dey to keep the group open ahead of last fixtures.
The game will kick-off at 2200hrs Kenyan time.