After launching their SportPesa Premier League title defence on the wrong footing, Gor Mahia hope to put behind their woes and record their first win of the new season when they host Zoo Kericho today at Kasarani Stadium.
The 17-time champions fell 2-1 to Bandari in the opening fixture at Mbaraki Stadium Mombasa and will count on home comfort and the presence of new coach Hassan Oktay to extend their unbeaten run over Zoo.
K’Ogalo officially confirmed Oktay as the new coach for the next two and half years on Monday evening and the Turkish coach, who aided his assistant Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno in the past two matches against Nyasa Bullets and Bandari, hope to kick off his tenure at the club with a win.
National U-23 Emerging Stars forward Nicholas Kipkirui, who was on target for Gor against Bandari, will look to serve his former employer with bitterness having ditched Zoo at the end of the season and cement his place at the star-studded Gor’s forward line.
While Gor will be eying recovery, Zoo will also be out to scratch for their maiden win of the season after being humbled 1-0 at home by Nzoia Sugar in their opening match.
Statistics between the two clubs since Zoo’s elevation to the top flight in 2017 lean on Gor’s side as they have won three times and drawn once with the last outing ending 4-1 in favour of the champions. Ahead of the match, Zoo’s coach Sammy Okoth has predicted a tough match but tipped his charges to end their long wait for their first win over Gor.
“We were quite erratic in the first match and squandered several open chances. I have since addressed the concern with my players and I hope they will give a good account of themselves and end our wait for our first win over Gor. I know it’s going to be tough since they also lost their first match but we have to stick to our game plan.”
He further denied to have struggled without the services of three of his former players who left the club at the end of last season. Zoo lost Kipkirui to Gor while former Most Valuable Player Michael Madoya joined Tusker. Highly-rated Harambee Stars trialist Isaac Kipyegon decamped to AFC Leopards.
“We have to adapt to life without them and to me it’s an opportunity to groom other players who I am confident they will replace them. They were dependable players but their exit should not spell a poor season for us. We have replacements and through teamwork we will achieve our target.”