On his second appearance as a Gor Mahia player, Dennis Oliech was handed the mantle to lead the team against Posta Rangers and marked the new responsibility with a winner as the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions bagged a 2 - 1 victory at Moi International Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani. According to Gor head coach Hassan Oktay, he was an easy choice among the players, with club captain Harun Shakava being named on the bench.
Oktay, speaking after the game said he chose Oliech to lead the team due to is experience, attitude and his status in Kenyan football, having inspired young players on and off the pitch.
“I did it because he has the (European) experience. He is a great football player, has a good attitude and discipline-wise, he is fantastic. He is working very hard and I believe he can help the young players because they listen to him in and off the pitch,” Oktay said.
The decision to hand Oliech the captaincy for the game raised questions over Shakava's future at the team but Oktay dismissed the claims of a change in captaincy, saying match day responsibilities will be shared more often.
“We have a captain but he (Oliech) is a natural captain himself. Everywhere I have gone to I always had two captains and I am going to use him and Shakava,” he added.
On playing the striker the entire game despite earlier indicating intention to use him sparingly, Oktay pointed at a good understanding with Oliech and hailed his mentality in preparing for games and making quick decisions as required by the tactician.
“I was going to do it (integrate Oliech slowly). I was going to play him 60 minutes but told him to get himself ready for 90 minutes. He can understand my language well. He knows and he prepared himself straight away. If I told him to play another 90 minutes I believe he was going to give it to me. He is mentally strong,” Oktay opined.
The win propelled Gor Mahia to fifth place with ten points, four points behind leaders Mathare United. The team will hope to replicate the same show when they take on Mount Kenya United in the next league game but first they have continental game to think of, as Cameronian side New Stars de Douala comes touring for a Sunday 13 January CAF Confederations Cup playoff clash.