Kenya: Ze Maria Wants Impressive 'Marcelo' to Remain at Gor Amidst AFC Interest
Nairobi — After the match against Sofapaka on Wednesday afternoon in Kisumu, Gor Mahia's 18-year old left back Erick 'Marcelo' Ouma will be out of contract.
However, head coach Jose Marcello 'Ze Maria' Ferreira has said he would want the Kakamega High School alumni to be part of his squad for the second leg saying he still has a lot to offer the club and is not in any mood to let him go.
"I have talked to the club, they know what I want and I have let them know I want Eric to remain with us. He is a very good player with a bright future and I would not want to lose his services before the season ends," 'Ze Maria' told Capital Sport.
Ouma has been impressive having completely taken over as the preferred left back choice ahead of experienced Rwandese international Abouba Sibomana.
He put up a man-of-the-match performance on Sunday evening as Gor dispatched Mathare United 2-0 and his every touch of the ball was cheered loudly by the Gor faithful who took to social media to lavish the youngster with praise.
Gor's arch rivals AFC Leopards have been trailing the left back with the aim of luring him over to the den but with the love being shown on him by the green army, he is most likely going to pen a new deal with the 15-time league champions.
"It is true, Leopards approached me saying they want to sign me, but I have not committed anything to them. We have been talking to Gor and they have tabled an offer. I am still looking at it and if we agree on the terms, I wouldn't mind staying over. However I just want a short term contract probably six months or one year at most," Ouma said.
Capital Sport understands the youngster has a pending European offer and a long term contract would jeopardize the deal.
He has been called up to the senior national team for the very first time and will have to compete with returnee Aboud Omar. Ouma, nick-named Marcelo after Real Madrid's Brazilian left back Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior believes he can make the national team left back position permanently his.
"I believe in myself, that is the biggest thing. What has been pushing me is working hard and the coach showing faith in me each game," Ouma opined.
Meanwhile, 'Ze Maria' is confident that his side can successfully defend the SportPesa Premier League title after rising from the ashes to move to within two points of leaders Tusker FC.
If they win against Sofapaka on Wednesday in Kisumu and Tusker loses to Leopards in Machakos on the same day then they will finish the first leg top of the standings.
"I think it is not much of what I have done. It is these players who should be praised. I have a very good group of players who work hard and push themselves and they use the small keys I give them to unlock their potential," Ze Maria said.
"We are playing well, improving daily and we put in a good performance against a big team, Mathare United and it is such victories that will make us defend our title," the Brazilian tactician added.
He has at the same time hinted at possible additions in the June transfer window, though ruling out massive changes. Among the areas he wants to strengthen is his striking force with Gor's former striker Meddie Kagere topping the list.
Though the coach says he has never watched Kagere play, he admits to have received good reports about his single season donning the green and white of Gor last season.