With the absence of regular striker Jacques Tuyisenge over both home and away CAF Confederations Cup quarter final legs against Morocco’s RS Berkane, all eyes will be on legendary Kenyan striker Dennis Oliech to lift Gor Mahia in their first ever last eight appearance.
The 34-year old striker stepped out of retirement to sign a two-year deal with record champions Gor and has been rolling back the years with his performances, scoring six goals so far in the league and once in the Confederations Cup.
Oliech’s goal scoring prowess will come in handy for K’Ogalo and the striker has urged the team to ensure they finish off the job in the first leg.
“It is a tough game but we need to ensure we finish the job in the first leg. We need to win and win by a big margin to make the return tie easier for us,” Oliech said ahead of the first leg match to be played at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday.
Though bugged with a few injury problems since his return to top flight action, Oliech has been a core figure for Gor especially with his experience and head coach Hassan Oktay has admitted he has been in influence in the team.
This has been testament in the occasions that Oliech has been handed the armband including last week’s league tie against Zoo kericho where he scored two goals in Gor’s 4-0 romp.
“He is one of my best players and I am happy to have him. Dennis is a great footballer, a great professional with a lot of positive attitude and I wish to see him at AFCON,” Oktay said of Oliech.
In his hey days, Oliech played for French club Auxerre and Nantes and still ranks as one of the finest strikers Kenya has ever produced and he hopes he can use that influence and experience to help Gor achieve bigger targets this season.
“My focus now is on helping Gor Mahia win the league. Personally, I want to win a trophy because it has been so long since that happened. The last time I won a title was in 2010 when we won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Mwanza with Harambee Stars. I want that feeling all over again,” Oliech said.
He has also pegged a target of reaching at least 25 goals at the end of the season, and he believes he has the capacity to hit that target and probably even surpass it.
“I know I can do it because if you play in a team with good supply, finishing is never a problem,” the forward further stated.
Oliech’s goal away to Cape Verde in 2004 took Kenya to its last ever African Cup of Nations appearance and 15 years on, the country has once again gained qualification to the elite competition. However, Oliech says he is not so much focused on getting a place in the team that heads to Egypt.
“It is a great thing that Kenya has qualified for the Cup of Nations once again,” Oliech said.
“But at the moment, I am not thinking about AFCON or getting into the team. First, I want to do well for my club and help us achieve the goals that we want to earn especially winning the league,” the forward stated.
Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne has not ruled out having the striker in the team to AFCON but has challenged him to prove his worth on the pitch.
“The pitch always has the answer. About Oliech, he has to prove on the pitch. The door for the national team is open to anyone to come in and go out. If he works and shows, the door is open,” Migne noted.