Gor Mahia FC interim captain Philemon Otieno has outlined their mission not to concede a goal during Sunday’s first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup play-off fixture against New Star de Douala of Cameroon at Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani in Nairobi.
Otieno noted the SportPesa Premier League winners had learnt the hard way from their elimination from the CAF Champions League by Lobi Stars FC of Nigeria who proceeded to the group stage by virtue of an away goal rule following a 3-3 stalemate on aggregate in their first round clash last month.
“Our wish is that this should not happen to us again as we start this new journey in the Confederation Cup, we are not going to allow New Star to find the back of our net,” underlined Otieno who will replace suspended captain Harun Shakava.
Shakava and his centre half partner Joash Onyango are indefinitely suspended by CAF as a result of disciplinary issues that arose in their encounter with Lobi in Enugu, Nigeria last month.
Otieno’s sentiments were echoed by head coach Hassan Oktay who spoke after training on Saturday morning at the venue.
“We have prepared well for New Star and are looking forward to win the clash, but our main objective will be to block the them from scoring,” Oktay underscored.
The Turkish tactician admitted that he will miss the services of his suspended defenders but assured he has their able replacements who are on standby.
“I have quality players, I believe whoever is going to substitute them will be up to the task.We are not going to this game as Gor but we are headed to the match knowing we have the country’s hope on our shoulders,” he highlighted.
Oktay has urged K’Ogalo fans, commonly referred to as the Green Army, to turn up in large numbers at Kasarani to cheer and motivate the players.
He said he would make his target in the continental football showpiece known after their second leg fixture against the Cameroonian side.
“Right now, we are going to take one game at a time.We are going to play each match with the seriousness it deserves,” he emphasised.
Apart from Shakava and Onyango, the other missing player in Gor’s squad at the Kasarani practice was Humphrey Mieno whom Oktay said has been released by the club to pursue greener pastures.
“I talked to Mieno at length and he told me his heart is no longer with Gor, so I told him to make it official with the club which he did. We have released him. We wish him all the best wherever he is headed,” Oktay declared.
Mieno has been linked with a move to Ethiopian top tier side, St. Georges FC who also recently contracted Harambee Stars custodian, Patrick Matasi.