Gor Mahia coach puts ‘Simiti’ on alert after Philemon Otieno’s impressive show against City Stars

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FOOTBALL Gor Mahia coach puts ‘Simiti’ on alert after Philemon Otieno’s impressive show against City Stars

Joel Omotto 08:00 - 21.02.2024

Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry has told defender Geoffrey ‘Simiti’ Ochieng to be on the lookout after Philemon Otieno put in an impressive show against Nairobi City Stars.

Gor Mahia coach Johnathan McKinstry is excited by the depth within his squad which he feels will help them overcome fatigue and injuries as they bid to retain their league title.

McKinstry made changes to his starting XI during Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Nairobi City Stars with the inclusion of captain Philemon Otieno the most notable one, the full-back starting his first game of the season.

In the absence of Geoffrey ‘Simiti’ Ochieng, Otieno played at left-back and put in an impressive performance to the delight of his coach who now feels the two will push each other for a starting role.

“I am of the school of thought that you should put your best 11 on the pitch as often as possible and so we try not to rotate unless there is a real issue,” said McKinstry.

“Geoffrey is made of steel, he is made of cement, probably the best defender in the league, had I asked him to play he would but it would not have been good for his ankle. He needed to rest and he will rest in the cup this week and when we come back against Posta he will be close to 100 per cent then.

“Philemon that’s his first minutes of the season and he is playing against one of the inform players of the season, Samuel Kapen, and how often did he pass him? So, full marks to him and Geoffrey might struggle to get back into the team.”

Otieno was good at keeping Kapen at bay and also made forays forward to support the attack, especially in the first half, when Gor Mahia should have added to their tally.

There were also occasions when he tucked in and played as an inverted full-back, adding extra pressure on City Stars who struggled to come out of their area in the opening 45 minutes.

With Gor Mahia facing lower league opposition in Ukunda FC in the FKF Cup this weekend, Otieno will certainly retain his place in what will be another opportunity to show his coach why he deserves to play more.

Having the two full-backs playing at their optimal will be a good headache for McKinstry who has resisted the temptation of making too many changes to his squad this season.

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