Should he, as widely expected, be named Gor Mahia coach on Thursday, Steve Polack’s immediate role is to mastermind a win for the Kenyan champions against their Burundian counterparts Aigle Noir Makamba FC in the preliminaries of the 2019/2020 Caf Champions League.
The Englishman arrived in Nairobi at 2:42pm Wednesday to replace Hassan Oktay, who delivered his resignation letter to K’Ogalo chairman Ambrose Rachier on Tuesday evening, citing ‘personal’ problems in his native Europe.
Polack will sign a two-year contract on Thursday before departing with the team to Bujumbura Friday morning in time for Sunday’s Champions League first leg clash.
This game is set for the 10,000 seater Intwari stadium, formerly known as the Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium, in the country’s capital.
Gor assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo has been preparing the first team in Oktay’s absence, but Nation Sport understands club chairman Rachier had to move in fast and bring in Polack as the former Sony Sugar coach doesn’t have the requisite qualifications to take charge of a continental title.
“It is important to have someone who has African football management experience,” Gor Chief Executive Lordvick Aduda explained.
This impending appointment proves second time lucky for Polack as he came in third, behind Oktay, from among 40 applicants during a rigorous interview exercise conducted last November.
Now 58, Polack has coached several other clubs including Finland sides KPV and Viking. He also played professionally as a defender for a number of top-flight clubs in Finland.
Perhaps the lowest moment of Polack’s two-decade coaching career is when he suffered a road accident alongside the entire Asante Kotoko team on July 2017. The incident left one member of the technical bench dead, and scores others, including the coach admitted in hospital for several weeks with life-threatening injuries.
The Kumasi-based club was returning home from a Premier League game against Inter Allies in Accra when their bus hit a stationery vehicle.
Polack will become Gor Mahia’s third manager in as many years and his targets include retaining the league title and leading the team to atleast the group stage of the continental tourney this season.