NAIROBI, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Gor Mahia FC head coach Hassan Oktay on Monday blamed his side's demoralizing 2-0 home defeat to RS Berkane of Morocco in the first leg of their CAF Confederations Cup quarterfinal on off-field problems affecting the club.
Gor, who made history by making the last eight of the second tier continental competition, have a mountain to climb in Morocco in a fortnight's time to continue their fairytale run and bag a second African crown, following their 1987 CAF Cup Winners' Cup success.
Gor played their biggest games in decades on the back of a player boycott, where players protested the non-payment of their bonuses from last season, with club management stepping in and clearing their salaries on Friday to ward off their threat of declining to line up against Berkane.
However, the players boycotted training on Saturday on the eve of the match, ruining the plans Oktay had to contain the Moroccan cup holders.
"It is not a secret, everyone is aware of what has been going on, the players were not prepared for the match. They have missed what could have been important sessions before the game. Remember we played on Wednesday in the league, and it could have been vital for us to have training sessions to plan for the game, and that did not happen," Oktay said.
The Kenyans were also missing five players who were suspended by CAF following an ill-tempered 1-0 victory over Petro Atletico de Luanda in their final Group D clash in Nairobi, where they held on to qualify for the quarterfinals despite having two men sent off.
In Sunday's defeat, Gor were lacking their tournament top scorer, Jacques Tuyisenge, skipper Harun Shakava, Ugandan defender Shafiq Batambuze, midfielder Ernest Wendo and keeper Fredrick Odhiambo.
"Bringing players for such a huge game knowing that they are not well motivated is not easy, they were not ready psychologically and you could see that," the head coach rued.