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Gor Mahia coach warns of tougher challenge in CAF Confederation Cup quest
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Gor Mahia coach warns of tougher challenge in CAF Confederation Cup quest

NAIROBI, Feb 4: Gor Mahia head coach Hassan Oktay has warned his players not to be carried away by the emphatic win over Zamalek in their campaign for the CAF Confederations Cup.

However, the Turkish coach has also cautioned his rivals it will be a hard battle to tame the Kenyan Premier League champions in their Confederation of African Football (CAF) continental assignment.

Speaking in Nairobi on Monday, Oktay said his side is well prepared and will do more research on their opponents prior to their clash.

"I was expecting to win and told the players as much. We had done our research on the team. Our homework was done well and we watched Zamalek video when they played against Pyramids.

"We watched them against two other teams and knew the way their play is planned. We exploited the chinks in their weak points. I was very comfortable that the team is now leading the group," said Oktay on Monday.

Only two teams will proceed to the quarterfinals from the group stages. Gor Mahia has started well their continental campaign and lead the group, which also has Hussein Dey of Algeria and Petro Atletico of Luanda.

In the other group match played in Algiers, Hussein Dey of Algeria edged out Petro Atletico 2-1. "It is now a challenge for us to go away and score and hope to get positive results," said Oktay.

Gor Mahia will be traveling to Angola for the second round on Feb. 13 against Petro Atletico while Zamalek will host Hussein Dey of Algeria.

Zamalek coach Christian Gross heaped praise on Gor Mahia saying their game was superior despite Zamalek going ahead after 25 minutes with a goal from Ibrahim Hassan.

However, Jacques Tuyisenge equalized and added the second goal in the 38 minutes. Ibrahim restored parity on 43 minutes before rookie Nicholas Kipkirui and Dennis Oliech netted a goal to down the 12-time Egyptian champions.

"We made mistakes as a team especially in defense that led to conceding four goals after getting an advantage through an early goal, they deserved to win," said Zamalek coach Gross from Switzerland.

"We started on wrong foot with a loss and hope to work around it and rectify it. We still have a chance with five games to go," said Gross.

Gor Mahia captain Dennis Oliech dedicated his goal to the late brother Steve Okumu who was killed in a road accident in 2002 in Rhode Island in the United States aged 26.

He had traveled to the U.S, on a football scholarship. Oliech has played for French Ligue 1 sides Ajaccio, Auxerre and Nantes and in Qatar for Al-Arabi.

"I dedicate this goal to my late brother. I knew I would come on and score and I wanted to celebrate in the exact same way he did. I am happy that we won. It is not about me but my team and I am pleased with the result. This is behind us now and we focus on the next game," Oliech said after the game.

In 1998, Okumu scored for Gor Mahia against Zamalek to earn a 1-0 win. (UNI-Xinhua)