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.