Gor boss Ze Maria set sights on beating Tusker
Gor Mahia head coach Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira says his ousted titleholders have no qualms about parading a guard of honour for incoming Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Tusker FC on Saturday but that is where all niceties will end.
Ze Maria is out to finish his first season in charge by making a huge statement with victory over the team that dethroned them from the championship after three-straight seasons having failed to lead the club to any trophy this season.
On Tuesday, Ze Maria was honoured as the Fidelity Insurance Coach of the Month for October, scant consolation for the former Brazil international who was keen to lead K’Ogalo to a historic fourth title in a row and 16th overall in the glittering history of the club.
“We can give a guard of honour to Tusker but we’ll show them on the pitch that we are better. I feel sorry for my players for losing the title because of deducted points but we’ll start working for next year early. I want us to start 2017 on a high so as to wrap the title early,” the 43 year-old said at Camp Toyoyo Grounds in Nairobi.
“I’m happy to get this award but it’s for my players. They have played like champions in the past five matches and for that I dedicate the award to them,” Ze Maria added promising to show on Saturday his side deserved the title when they take on Tusker.
Ze Maria was unanimously voted ahead of Tusker’s Paul Nkata and Sofapaka’s John Baraza having led the outgoing KPL kings to victories over Mathare United and AFC Leopards but succumbed to late pressure from Western Stima to draw 2-2 to cap an anxious month with seven points.
Nkata also accrued seven points from wins over Bandari and Sony Sugar in addition to a dour draw with City Stars.
Baraza, the third contestant for the October gong, earned six points for relegation threatened Sofapaka with wins over AFC Leopards and Muhoroni Youth but was pegged back by a 1-0 loss away to Sony Sugar.
Ze Maria become the second foreign tactician to win the Fidelity award following earlier triumph by former AFC Leopards coach Ivan Minnaert.
Other past winners this season include Zedekiah Otieno of Posta Rangers, Francis Kimanzi of Mathare United, Salim Babu of Sony Sugar, Francis Baraza of Chemelil Sugar and Henry Omino of Western Stima who remains the only coach to win it twice.