K’Ogalo have blown hot and cold since the season started, losing three and winning four of the opening seven matches including Wednesday’s routine 3-0 victory over bottom-rooted Zoo at Kasarani Stadium.
Prior to the win over Zoo, the seventh-placed Gor Mahia, who still have two games in hand, had suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat to Vihiga United at the same venue.
Goals from Samuel Onyango, captain Kenneth Muguna and substitute Sydney Ochieng is all that Gor Mahia needed to continue with the dominance over Zoo. Zoo have never beaten K’Ogalo since they were promoted to the top tier in 2017.
But even as the champions prepare for a tricky trip to Mombasa on Sunday against Bandari, the Portuguese who has been in charge of four league matches since succeeding Brazilian Roberto Oliveira on January 10, says fixture congestion is taking its toll on his players.
“The team will need at least six weeks to adapt to my philosophy and style of play. I have only managed four games and I came at a time when the team has congested fixtures with not enough time to recover, train and prepare for the next game. Time is very important for me and I know if we get it the team can grow better,” said Pinto.
“The team has played five league games since I arrived here and the players had also been involved in CAF Champions League, meaning they had six games in 18 days. That’s very difficult for players and that’s why some of them are looking a bit tired. At the moment, we have less than three days for players to recover for the Bandari game, but we will try our best.”
While Pinto hailed his team for the quick response against Zoo, he has already set his sights on his first Mashemeji derby against AFC Leopards on February 10.
“I think we responded very well to the Vihiga loss. Just like the last match, today we dominated the game, managed to score and kept a clean sheet. But I feel we should have scored a lot of goals today,” said Pinto.
“This win will give us a lot of confidence ahead of our trip to Mombasa (Bandari), but I believe we still have room for improvement and grow our game.”
But for Zoo coach Herman Iswekha, immaturity in defence and blunt strike force is the reason for their poor start to the season.
Zoo, who travel to Nzoia Sugar on Sunday, are rooted at the bottom of the table with two points after drawing their opening two matches followed by three losses.
“I think our main undoing has been poor defending and blunt striking force. Our defence lacks maturity and the strikers are not very sharp. The midfield has been doing a good job, creating a lot of chances but we fail to convert them,” said Iswekha.
Meanwhile, Wazito host Kakamega Homeboyz at Kasarani Stadium on Friday.