Briton Polack new Gor head coach to replace departed Oktay
The revolving door at 18-time local league champions Gor Mahia will usher in Englishman Steven Polack to take charge from today following the abrupt departure of Turkish tactician Hassan Oktay.
Polack is the immediate former Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko head coach and boasts of a vast array of playing and coaching successes.
Born in Birmingham in 1961 to an English mother and Indian father Polack played for Finnish top-flight sides Rops and Inter Turku before starting his coaching career in 1998.
He has handled more than eight clubs in the Finnish league in the past 20 years and has vital experience with African clubs, having been in charge of Berekum Chelsea, King Feisal and Asante Kotoko, all of Ghana. Polack led Kotoko to the CAF Confederation Cup group stage last season, a feat that did not impress his bosses leading to his dismissal.
K’Ogalo were in limbo after Oktay failed to report back at the expiration of the six days leave. Oktay’s absence left Gor Mahia’s stand in coach Patrick Odhiambo briefly in charge of pre-season training as they sought a high calibre tactician and they finally found their man.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) have placed License B as the minimum qualification for coaches handling teams featuring in the Champions League and Confederation Cup. Odhiambo is one grade shy of this requirement.
With the opening engagement in the Champions League scheduled for this Sunday in Bujumbura, Burundi, K’Ogalo was forced to move with speed to forestall the impending hiccup. The club had myriads of tacticians on speed dial but settled on the Englishman to replace Oktay.
A club official revealed to People Daily that it was imperative for Gor to find the Turk’s replacement before they travelled to Bujumbura. “We treated it with urgency but luckily there are always qualified and reputable coaches ready to join,” he said.
Gor Mahia had 53 applications last year when Englishman Dylan Kerr jumped ship leaving the usually hot seat vacant.
Polack becomes Gor Mahia’s sixth foreign coach since 2013. Robert Williamson, Francis Nuttal, Ze Maria, Kerr and Oktay have all occupied the seat and won the league title with Ze Maria being the sole exception.
Locally, Gor Mahia have had the late James Sianga, Gideon Ochieng and Zedekiah Otieno and Cameroonian Anaba Awono invariably coaching before the era of foreign coaches was ushered in.
Gor Mahia face Aigle Noir of Burundi in the first leg of CAF Champions League this Sunday then host the Bujumbura based outfit at Kasarani in a fortnight. K’Ogalo have lined up a build-up match before departure to Burundi against Kenya Police and another with an unnamed team before their return leg tie.
Concerns over inactivity were rife considering that the league does not start until end of the month by which time both legs will have been played.