In a friendly match marking the culmination of the Brazilian East African exp, Gor Mahia went down 1-2 to the Palmeiras U23 side. Gor Mahia dominated huge stretches of the match and confidently knocked the ball around in a style that used to be reminiscent of the Brazil teams of the 1980s.
However in a style that is now used by Brazilian teams including the national team that played in the 2010 world cup, Palmeiras capitalized on dead ball situations and defensive weaknesses to score twice.
Francis Ocholla scored the match opener when he finished off a cross from Edwin Lavatsa. Gor Mahia dominated and Francis Makori and Lavatsa in particular gave the Brazilians several tense moments.
Palmeiras equalized via a controversial goal. Murilo Gomes headed a corner towards the goal. Wycliffe Opondo appeared to clear the ball from the goal-line but the linesman signalled a goal. Kenyan match officials are truly a piece of work. It is something KPL must look into. Gomes was on target again, this time heading home from a freekick.
Murilo Gomes double sunk Kogalo
All in all it was a good outing for Kogalo who managed to hold its own against a top team from one of the best leagues in the world. Some may say that it was only Palmeiras under 23 but keep in mind that more than half of Kogalo players are under 23 as well.
The game harkens back to the good old days of the 1980s when Gor Mahia went toe to toe with teams from top European leagues. Back in 1985, Gor Mahia played against Bayer Leverkusen and drew 0-0. The game would have ended in a win for Kogalo but goal from a goalmouth melee was dissallowed for an infringement much to the chagrin of Kogalo fans. A year later Gor Mahia beat Fortuna Dusseldorf which was in the Bundesliga at the time 1-0 thanks to a goal by Abbas Magongo. Perhaps the most memorable win was 1983 when Kogalo outplayed and beat premier league side Norwich city 4-2 thanks to goals from Okello “Zangi” Gideon Hamisi and Hezborn Omollo. But there was also the 1984 1-2 loss to Notts County which was also in the top English league at the time.
Sunday’s game exposed Gor Mahia’s weakness in defending dead ball situations which hopefully will be rectified. It also showed the consequences of a strikers inability to take chances. Unlike their Kenyan counterparts, Brazilian players are well drilled and have been working on their finishing religiously since they were 12. Thus they don’t need 10 chances to score one goal. All it takes is one or two chances. With Kogalo youth team now in existence, the young players must be made to work constantly on their finishing and dead ball skills. Coach Zico must perform endless drills to sharpen the Kogalo strikeforce. It is this poor finishing amongst Kenyan strikers that partially explains why the leading scorer in the Kenyan league usually has only about 14 goals.
The Brazilians were complentary of Gor Mahia players, praising their ability to play beautiful soccer. But they challenged Kogalo to work on their possesion skills.
Kenya Premier League 2010 runners-up Gor Mahia have lined up a friendly match against Brazilian Palmeiras U-23 who are scheduled to visit Nairobi next week.
Gor are looking play the Brazilian juniors on March 27, who will be in the country for a week as part of the first ever Brazil in Eastern Africa Expo and cultural week.
Gor Mahia assistant secretary General Ronald Ngala said the the friendly would be a good chance for his team to test their skills against one of the top Brazilian junior teams.
“Our players are looking forward to the match to test themselves and also learn a few skills from the talented Brazilian juniors.”
It will be the first time that the junior team whose senior side is coached by outspoken Brazilian Luis Felipe Scolari will be touring the East African region.
The Sao Paulo based team is expected play a series of matches and also hold players and coaching clinics during their tour, which will be the key highlight of the cultural Expo.
Palmeiras whose full name is Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, is one of the top teams in Brazil. It is based in Sao Paulo which is the largest city in Brazil. The team was founded on August 26, 1914. It is one of the most popular, traditional and successful Brazilian clubs with almost 17 million supporters including the majority of the Italian immigrants in Brazil. The team has won the Brazilian championship 8 times and the Libertadores cup once.
Historically the club has featured Brazilian legends like Roberto Carlos, Edmundo, Rivaldo, Vava, Mazinho and Kleber, all of whom were part of World cup winning squads. So fans attending this match could well be watching future world class players. The club has quite a bit in common with Kogalo. Not only do they share a similar colour of uniform, but Palmeiras has ethnic roots as it draws most of its passionate fan base from Italian immigrants in Sao Paulo.
So kujeni stadi muone football ya Kiwango cha juu. (Come to the stadium and watch top quality football.)
Lavatsa in action against Western Stima
In a tense duel held at the Nairobi City Stadium, Kogalo subdued Western Stima 1-0. The all important goal came via new signing, Edwin Lavatsa who latched onto a Kevin Omondi cross to score with an unorthodox backheel, a goal reminiscent of Algerian Legend Rabah Madjer scoring the winning goal to lead Porto to the European championship. The goal was set up by Collins Okoth whose menacing run and through ball freed up Kevin Omondi who in turn set up Lavatsa for the goal.
Gor Mahia will however have to thank keeper Jerim Onyango who made a series of daring saves to thwart Western Stima who played an excellent game. For Lavatsa, it was the culmination of the potential he has shown since he joined the club during the off-season.
Gor Mahia tied 1-1 with Karuturi sports club. The match was evenly balanced, which is surprising considering the difference in quality between the two sides. Whereas the hosts consist of a number of Nondescript players, Kogalo has a number of national team players, past, present and future.
Kogalo fans showed up in droves and went into a near delirium when Eric Masika scored after only 3 minutes from a Makori corner. The equalizer for the hosts also came from a corner kick on 61 minutes. Despite a series of raids at the Karuturi goal, Gor Mahia could not break through.
Gor Mahia now have a 1-1-1 record, at par with their sub-optimal start to the 2010 league.
Gor Mahia recovered from their disastrous start to the league when they beat defending champions Ulinzi 1-0 in a match played at City national stadium on Saturday.
Skipper Julius Owino, now fully recovered from an injury made a happy return as did Collins Okoth and Kevin Omondi. Ulinzi gave Kogallo as much as they received. Josiah Odhiambo of Ulinzi received his marching orders in the 51st minute for pulling down Makori.
The all important goal came in injury time via Kevin Omondi. The win over Ulinzi is impressive considering that Ulinzi have been in residential training preparing for their champions league tie with Zamalek. It is also critical because last season, Ulinzi ran away with the league early by winning most of their first leg games.