2012: A year of ups and downs for Gor Mahia

2012 was a year with plenty of ups and downs for Kogalo. The club came close to pulling of a miraculous win the Tusker premier league after most had left the club for dead in mid season. However the club was able to clinch the Super 8 trophy and the FKF cup thus earning a ticket to the 2013 CAF confederations cup.

January : A month of player turnover

Before the season started, Gor Mahia advertized for a coach. There were dozens of applications including from foreigners. Gor Mahia took the safe route and settled for Anaba Awono. In hindsight this was a mistake because Awono with his poor communication skills was unable to command the respect of players and enforce discipline. Plus he had no control over club activities including the recruitment if players.

Long time fan favourite Eric Masika shocked fans when he decided to leave Kogalo to join rivals Ingwe. After plenty of tug and pull between the two clubs, they finally settled on a transfer fee. Also leaving the club was Wycliffe Ochomo who joined Ulinzi.  In a bid to make amends and to strengthen the club for continental football, club officials went on a signing spree. In came Rama Salim, George Midenyo, Ali Abondo, Wycliffe Kasaya, Yusuf Juma, Ivo Mapunda, David Owino, Ibrahim Kitawi, Hugo Nzoka from SoNy Sugar and most notably Felix Nwosu “Felixinho”, Donald Mosoti and Anthony “Balotieno”. Felixinho soon ran afoul of the club after he sent threatening text messages to coach Anaba Awono who had posited that Felixinho was simply an average player pausing as a superstar. Felixinho soon apologized to the club and fans via online posts. But only days later he was dropped by the club and supposedly demoted to the non existent B team. As for Balotieno, much was expected from him. Many thought he was going to be the next superstar after he gave Gor Mahia defenders a torrid time when the club toured Kisumu in December of 2011.

Gor Mahia unveiled what looked like a formidable unit

Meanwhile Gor Mahia offloaded several players. Most notable was the flashy Hajji Mwachoki and long serving skipper, Julius Owino. After much hue and cry, Owino was reinstated to the club as the chief scout. After pursuing Rwandese sensation, Meddie Kagere for several weeks, Kogalo finally gave up after his club demanded KSH 4 million. Still Gor Mahia seemed content with the return of Camerounian Baldwin Ngwa.

And when Gor Mahia held El Merreikh 1-1 in a friendly, it looked like they were on their way to success. After all this was ateam that only 2 years earlier had whitewashed Kogalo 5-0. It did not quite work out. Perhaps the greatest lesson from this is that signings should be done by a qualified technical bench and not by members of the Executive Council.

February: Things start to unravel.

In the 1st week of February, Gor Mahia went down to Tusker on penalties in the 2012 Super Cup. Loosing to Tusker on spotkicks on its own was not bad. But Kogalo fans weree befuddled as to why only one player (Rama Salim) scored his penalty as 3 others missed.

Soon Gor Mahia faced an injury plague. No less than 10 players had suffered stress related injuries : Edwin Lavatsa, Demonde Selenga, Hugo Nzoka, George Midenyo, Solomon Nasio, Kevin Omondi, Baldwin Ngwa, Ivo Mapunda and Dan Makori ). Something was clearly wrong and it came at a time when the club was preparing for their first league match and for the 1st round tie with Ferroviario. Gor Mahia much later remedied this by hiring a qualified physiotherapist.

March: Matters come to a head

Matters finally came to a head when Gor Mahia went down 0-3 to Ferroviario in Maputo. Yet this was a team that many though Gor Mahia could overcome. It was then that it started to sink in that that the club was in crisis. The disciplinary problems of defensive midfielder Collins Okoth “Gattuso” started to bubble to the surface after he was sent off by the match referee.

When newly promoted Muhoroni Youth beat Kogalo 1-0 in a midweek match, the fans were up in arms and demanded answers.  The club reacted by sending the entire technical bench including Awono, Ouma Ole Tunda, Julius Owino and Zablon Otieno “pro”, as well as team manager Jolawi Obondo packing.  In came club legend Bobby Ogolla as head coach assisted by former harambee stars striker Tom Ogweno. It later emerged that there was plenty of infighting amongst the bench and hidden agendas amongst EC members some of whom sought to dictate who should play. The infighting had seeped into the playing unit with players picking sides.

In came Bobby and Tom Ogweno

But before the new technical bench could settle, Tusker inflicted more pain when they beat Kogalo 2-0. Next up was rivals AFC Leopards and fans expected the worst. But Kogalo gave a good account of themselves holding the then high flying Leopards 0-0. That match will of course be remembered for the fracas that ensued when Ali Abondo was sent off for a clumsy challenge. The match was held for 10 minutes. Embattled AFC chairman played to the gallery by demanding all points from the match and even vowing never to play Gor Mahia again. Gor Mahia were now barred by Supersport as well as Nyayo stadium. The next matches vs SoNy and Rangers also ended in disappointing draws.

As if things were not bad enough, combative midfielder, Collins Okoth announced he was quitting the team citing threats from fans after he missed a crucial penalty. By then however most fans were fed up with his antics and no one lost a wink of sleep at his departure.

April: In comes Loga

With Bobby overwhelmed, Gor Mahia recruited Zdvarko Logarusic who had been coaching in the Ghanaian league. However even with the arrival of Loga, the clubs fortunes did not turn around immediately. Meawhile arch rivals AFC were flying high under coach Koops. Carol Radull the famous TV personality poked fan at Gor Mahia saying “I guess not all foreign coaches are as competent as Koops“.  Logarusic soon indicated that club officials were hindering him from making much needed changes. When Ulinzi beat Gor Mahia at Afraha, the club was left with no option but to listen to Logarusic. The club now had 1 win 4 losses and 4 draws and was in the relegation zone. Players grumbled about unpaid signing bonuses.

Baldwin Ngwa scored crucial goals as Kogalo beat City Stars

Logarusic soon stated that he planned to purge the club of several players whom he termed rotten potatoes. “Some of them give their best but their hundred percent is not enough for a big club like Gor Mahia” said Logarusic. Little did he know that most of these players were recruited by EC. He had also introduced much needed discipline including a gag order forbidding players from talking to the media or calling officials many of whom were responsible for the disunity in the playing unit. Finally after a long drought, Gor Mahia beat former league champions and later beat City Stars 2-1 and it seemed the stormy waters were finally calming down.

As the mid season transfer season arrived, Logarusic finally made good his threat to overhaul the team. Gone was Fan favourites Ibrahim Kitawi, Joseph Kiplagat, Duncan Owiti and Baldwin Ngwa as well as Hugo Nzoka, Demonde Selenga, Dan Makori, Tony Nyang’or, Collins Okoth, Collins Omondi, Peter Juma and Felix Nwosu. Some players reacted with shock ; “If it is based on performance, I should not have been targeted because there are some strikers in the team who are yet to score even one goal,” said Hugo Nzangu. To replace them, Gor Mahia targeted Dan Sserunkuma of City stars and another Ugandan striker Eddie Mubiru who had been training with the club. In the end they could not sign Mubiru. But in came Itubu Imbem.

July: The sun rises

The second leg started on a sound note and by the end of July Gor Mahia had gone 6 games without a loss including wins over Chemelil, KCB, but the empahtic 4-0 win over City stars is what announced to the league that Gor Mahia had fully recovered from their abysmal start. The forwardline combination of Rama Salim and Dan Sserunkuma was sending shivers down opposing defenders. Gor Mahia went on to win 7 consecitive matches.

There was now much to celebrate

An interesting moment came when Logarusic stormed the Kenya U-23 training camp to remove Rama Salim after he had been ordered to report to camp. Coach James Nandwa was not amused. But Logarusic was trying to keep Rama who was still nursing a sligh injury from re-injuring his foot. Further drama occurred when AFC refused to play Gor Mahia in the opening round of the KPL top 8 tournament. Perhaps they were apprehensive about meeting a Kogalo team that suddenly was in fine form.

August: key wins in FKF and top 8

If anyone doubted Gor Mahia were back at full strength, those doubts were disposed of when Gor Mahia beat Tusker 4-0 aggregate to eliminate them from the FKF top 8. It was ample revenge for having lost the Super cup to Tusker. They also trounced Borabu Chiefs 5-2 in the opening round of the FKF cup. And on August 19, Gor Mahia wrested the KPL top 8 tournament by beating Ulinzi 2-0 in extra time.

September :  Kogalo in cruise control

In the beginning of September Gor Mahia fought gamely to beat Western Stima to progress to the next round of the FKF cup.  A week later Gor Mahia beat Ulinzi 1-0 thanks to a goal by Victor Ali. The club had now gone 12 games unbeaten. Gor Mahia had now leaped to joint second place much to the surprise of pundits who had written the club off after a disastrous start. Rama Salim and Dan Ssserunkuma had now established themselves as the top striking duo in the league with 22 goals between them,

The moment to remember in 2012 came in September 23 when Gor Mahia beat arch rivals AFC Leopards 2-1 thanks to goals from you know who; Rama and Sserunkuma. The win erased the gap between league leaders AFC and Gor Mahia. Prior to the game, Logarusic had gone home to Croatia for a week and only arrived a day before the match.

October : Crunch time

The race for the league was now tighter than ever with the top three teams all within 2 points of each other.  Playing 4 matches in two weeks almost took its toll in Gor Mahia as they struggled to beat Muhoroni youth on penalties in the quarter finals of the FKF cup. In Mid October there was disquiet between the club and sponsors Tuzo. It emerged that Tuzo had not released funds in months and players were going without pay. After Gor Mahia drew with Mathare, a furious Logarusic lashed out at Tuzo. It turned out that the ill advised  jacket deal which Gor Mahia reached with nation newspapers was in violation with the sponsorship deal with Tuzo. Then came a crucial win over Karuturi sport that kept Gor Mahia in the hunt. A week later Gor Mahia beat Tusker 1-0 and and suddenly their destiny was in their hands.


With Gor Mahia in pole position, Gor Mahia trounced Muhoroni 4-0 to set the stage for the final match of the league. It was the most anticipated weekend in the history of the Kenya Premier league. Unfortunately Gor Mahia did not rise to the occasion, drawing 1-1 with Thika United. The title had slipped away at the last moment.

However a week later Gor Mahia fans had a reason t celebrate when they beat archi rivals AFC 2-1 in the semi finals of the FKF cup. Goals came from Kevin Omondi and Moses Odhiambo. In the finals , Gor Mahia beat Sofapaka 3-0 on penalties with keeper Ivo Mapunda providing a penalty saving clinic reminiscent of the legendary Mahmoud Abbas.

Dan Ssserunkuma was voted Footballer of the year. Logarusic was voted coach of the year and  Anthony Akumu midfielder of the year. Thus there was much to celebrate despite the fact that the league slipped away at the last moment.

Had it not been for the poor start, Gor Mahia would have won the league by a significant margin. In fact over the past 4 years, poor starts have put paid to Gor Mahia chances of winning the league.

Zdvarko Logarusic will go down as one of the best coaches ever to coach Gor Mahia alongside Len Julians and Vojo Gardasevic.

Lessons from 2012

1. The club must have an established coach in place before the season to avoid poor starts.

2. Signings must be vetted by the coach to ensure the signed players can fit into his system.

3. A qualified physiotherapist is critical in order to avoid injuries.

3b. Injuries can be reduced by giving players plenty of off season rest. If the annual tour of Nyanza is undertaken, use second tier players who played limited minutes.

4. If a qualified coach is not available locally, the club must not hesitate to look overseas.

Kevin Omondi, Paul Were sent packing

Kogalo fans hope that Kevo will learn a lesson and not follow in Gattuso’s footsteps

Gor Mahia’s Kevin Omondi and Paul Were of AFC Leopards have been suspended from Harambee stars and sent home from camp. The two speedy wingers who frequently showed the South Sudan defenders a clean pair of heals were equally adept at escaping from the Harambee stars camp. The duo were suspended after they sneaked out of camp without permission after having been paid their allowances.

For Paul Were, this is not the first time he has been suspended for such behavior. Back when he was selected to play for the national U-20 side, coach Vincent Ombiji had no option but to suspend him. At the time Were was missing from camp, Ombiji was frantically calling him on his cell phone. When he finally reached him, he (Ombiji) could here loud music in the background. Thus despite Were pretending to be at home, Ombiji knew he was out clubbing.

For Kevin Omondi, this his first disciplinary faux pas. Kogalo fans will hope that he will have learned his lesson from this experience. FKF Chairman Sam Nyamweya has announced that further sanctions await the duo at club level. The flip side however is that Omondi can come back home and rest his muscles in readiness for next season.

The Effect of alcohol on sportsmen

Because it has now been reported that Omondi and Were were intoxicated with alcohol when they returned, it is worth visiting reasons why alcohol and footballers should not mix and hope that other players are reading:

1. Alcohol causes dehydration which takes several days to recover from.
2.  Alcohol decreases in testosterone are associated with decreases in aggression, lean muscle mass, muscle recovery and overall athletic performance.
3. Alcohol will also impair reaction time and mental acuity for up to several days
4. Alcohol consumption causes large amounts of lactic acid to be produced, this results in decreased energy, decreased muscle recovery, and increased muscle soreness and makes a player more prone to muscle injuries.

In Summary

Having said all this, it must be mentioned that this is Omondi’s first transgression. He is not a rogue player and if given good advice, he will learn from this. The man is talented but as of yet has not fulfilled his potential. Continuing to behave like this will hinder his progress. As has been noted above, alcohol severely hinders a players chances of fulfilling their potential. Lets hope he styles upp and focuses on becoming the best that he can be.

Kevo, Owino, Lavatsa in action as Kenya beat S. Sudan

Kevin Omondi was in inspired form as he helped Kenya overcome South Sudan by a score of 2-0. Deployed on his preferred wing position, he and Paul Were, the other winger gave the South Sudanese a torrid time throughout the 90 minutes.

It was “Kevo” who was the first to have an attempt on goal. But his 4th minute effort went inches wide. He was at it again on 35 minutes but his effort once again sailed wide.  In the meantime David Ochieng of Sofapaka had given Harambee stars a 1-0 lead when he headed home a corner kick.

Edwin Lavatsa came on as a substitute for Anthony Kimani. But it was the other substitute Clifton Miheso who scored Kenya’s second goal. David Owino once again stood tall in defence. Rama Salim did not see action this time, having been replaced by Mike Baraza.

Thw win albeit against South Sudan is a welcome relief for Kenya fans as the national team has been on a lengthy loosing streak. Stars fans have become so used to poor results that a loss or a draw against South Sudan would not have come as a shock to anyone.

Logarusic Future uncertain

Courtesy of futaa.com

Gor Mahia Coach Zdravko Logarusic admits he is unsure about his future after his contract talks with the Tusker Premier League (TPL) giants hit a snag.

In an interview with futaa.com before departing to Croatia for Christmas holidays, the award winning tactician said the two parties have not agreed on personal terms ahead of the 2013 season.

No deal yet 

-I am leaving for Croatia and I have not made any agreement for the next season with Gor Mahia until now.

Asked if he’s been approached by any other club, Logarusic reserved his comments.

-No. I am just talking about Gor and I am leaving without any agreement with them, insisted Logarusic.


Logarusic joined Gor in March 2012 turning around the fortunes of the club as he led them to a 27-game unbeaten record.

Under his watchful eye, K’ogalo won two trophies (Top Eight and FKF President’s Cup) and finished second on the log in the just concluded season.

Logarusic jetted-out of the country last evening (Sunday 25 November).

Leopards keen on Jerim

Courtesy of supersport.com

Kenyan Premier League December–January transfer window could well be set for major action with giants AFC Leopards going public to state that they are eyeing a swoop for Gor Mahia captain Jerim Onyango.

Leopards chairman Alex Ole Magelo confirmed the club has had contact with the player and even agreed to a meeting where a number of issues pertaining to the move would be discussed.

Ole Magelo said he was optimistic that the two parties will reach an agreement over a move ahead of the 2013 league season.

“We are interested in getting him to our team after a disappointing season in the goalkeeping department and we have even approached him over a possible move to Ingwe. So a meeting is scheduled where we will discuss a few matters over it and I hope we will reach an agreement because we want an experienced player like him,” he said.

On contacting the player, he acknowledged that indeed Leopards officials had spoken to him about a possible move but said no deal has been reached yet, verbally or in writing, and confirmed a meeting was scheduled.

“Some people from the club talked to me showing their interest in signing me for next season but it was just that; nothing was agreed, neither verbal nor written. I will be waiting to see how things go from now on.” Jerim said.

The player has been in fine form for Gor mahia as the team marched to a second place finish in the KPL.

Rama, Kevo, Owino is action as Stars go down

Harambee stars “B” went down to Uganda thanks to a 74th minute goal in their first match of the 2012 CECAFA cup. Kenya is sending what is essentially a second unit to Uganda after coach Henri Michel decided to focus on the CHAN encounter with Burundi.

Rama Salim and David Owino started the game. Rama was in the thick of action throughout the match. In the 39th minute he was harshly ruled offside by the Burundian referee. David Owino acquited himself well combining with Jockins Atudo and Abdallah Juma to keep the hosts at bay for most of the game.

Kevin Omondi came in in the 72nd minute for Clifton Miheso. He immediatelt made his presence felt with his typical runs down the flanks. In the 79th minute he set up Humphrey Mieno with an excellent throughball but Mieno fluffed the chance. In injury down he went racing down the flank and sent a cross which was handled by a Ugandan defender but the referee ignored pleas for a penalty.

Edwin Lavatsa remained on the bench and did not see action. All in all a dissapointing but not a bad performance by Harambee stars considering that this is a B team that had only 3 days to prepare. Once again, FKF and KPL failed to synchronize their activities in order to give stars adequate preparation time.


Profiling Dan Sserunkuma

Courtesy of Daily Nation

His looks may be deceiving, his size too, but the Ugandan stands tall above Kenyan footballers. Dan Sserunkuma has been crowned Kenya’s best player.

So tiny is Sserunkuma that the trophy he was awarded was nearly half his height. But there is no denying that the 22-year-old Gor Mahia striker deserved the accolade.

He is also quite shy, but what he cannot say with his mouth, he does with his feet. He has taken Kenyan football by storm, scoring almost at will.

His prowess saw Gor Mahia come within one point of winning the 2012 Kenyan Premier League title.

And when Sports assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando called out his name during the awards gala at the Safari Park Hotel on Wednesday night, he got a standing ovation.

He had become the first foreign player to be named most valuable player (MVP) in Kenyan football.

“It’s my happiest moment. I never believed I would reach this level in my career,” he said. “I dedicate this to all the people who have helped me grow as a footballer to this point.”

The sight of Sserunkuma with the ball has constantly sent chills down the spines of many a defender and goalkeeper in the Kenyan league.

Ask Muhoroni Youth goal-keeper Josek Gituma who found three shots from Sserunkuma too hot to handle, or AFC Leopards’ Patrick Matasi, who picked the ball twice from the net.

“He is lethal and difficult to mark,” said Tusker FC defender Jockins Atudo. Those who coach him say he is achieving all this because of his discipline.

“He is always the first in training. He is keen to learn,” says Gor Mahia assistant coach John Bobby Ogolla. “This boy will go places. We are yet to see the best from him.”

The 22-year-old, third-born in a family of four, joined Friends of Football Academy in Uganda at the age of 10. He says he was inspired by Ugandan legend, the late Majid Musisi, who many Ugandans regard as the country’s best football player of all time.

Sserunkuma started playing professional football at Ugandan team Express in 2008, and after one year moved to rivals Victors FC, where he stayed for two years. The Tusker Premier League side, Nairobi City Stars, signed him up early last year.

“I had heard about Harambee Stars and top clubs. I knew little about City Stars, but they are the ones who were to bring me to Kenya,” said Sserunkuma. At City Stars Serenkuma was rarely in the news for any wrong reasons. Even when the club had financial problems, he never publicly demanded pay.

He could have joined Gor Mahia in January, but the club was not aggressive enough to sign him. “I wanted to play for a big club like Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards, but as long as nobody came for me, I was with City Stars.”

Gor Mahia finally knocked at his door in June. He had already scored five goals for City Stars, including one against Gor Mahia in the league.

Immediately, he made an impact at Gor, scoring on his debut for the club. He went on to score for the 12th time in Kenyan champions, but eventually missed the golden boot award by a single goal.

With the MVP award in his cabinet, Sserunkuma says he is eyeing even bigger things — winning the league title next season.

Gor Mahia once again tops FOYA Awards

Gor Mahia was the most awarded team at the 2012 Footballer of the Year Awards.

Dan Sserunkuma won the coveted footballer of the year award , finishing ahead of Paul Kiongera (KCB) and Mika Baraza(AFC). Sserunkuma has been in sensational form scoring freely and giving defenders and opposing coaches plenty to think about.

Coach Zdvarko Logarusic was voted coach of the year after taking Gor Mahia from relegation candidates to contenders.

Anthony Akumu was voted midfielder of the year. After a down year (2011), in which he seemed to lack motivation, Akumu is now back in the form that saw him earn a trial at Randers FC.


Best Player

1. Dan Sserunkuma – Gor Mahia

2. Mungai Kiongera-KCB

3. Mike Baraza – AFC Leopards

Golden Boot Award

1. John Baraza-Sofapaka

2. Dan Sserunkuma-Gor Mahia

Coach of the year

1. Zdravko Logarusic – Gor Mahia

2. John Kamau – Thika United

3. Stanley Okumbi – Mathare United.

Best Midfiedler

1.Anthony Akumu – Gor Mahia

2.Francis Kahata- Thika United

3.Paul Kiongera- KCB

Best Defenders

1. Ivan Anguyo  – Gor Mahia

2. Eugene Asike- Sofapaka

3. Joackins Atudo – Tusker

Best Goalkeepers

1. Boniface Oluoch- Tusker

2.Jerim Onyango- Gor Mahia

3. Ben Roberts Mandela – Western Stima

Team Manager of the year

1.Josephat Okal-KCB

2.George Maina-Tusker

3.Wiliam Muluia-Mathare United

Fair play team of the year

1. Rangers FC

2. Ulinzi Stars

3. Muhoroni Youth

Fair Play player of the year

1.Winner – John Baraza-Sofapaka

2. Dan Sserunkuma -Gor Mahia

3. Obadiah Ndege -Tusker

New Player of the year

1.Abby Natty Kurunmi (Muhoroni Youth)

2. Hussein Zzinda(Karuturi Sports)

3 Position Edmund Murai(Oserian)

Referee of the year

1. Nasur Ndoka


FKF throws support behind Gor Mahia

Courtesy of futaa.com

Newly crowned 2012 FKF Cup champions Gor Mahia have been assured of the federation’s full support as they plan to represent the country at the continental stage.

Through the chairman Sam Nyamweya, Football Kenya Federation has revealed that it would ensure that the club went the full hog and with utmost ease by helping to mobilize resources.

Personal assurance

-I would personally spearhead an aggressive funds drive for Gor Mahia in January 2013 to ensure that the club raises funds to comfortably compete at the CAF Confederation Cup that year, assured the chair.

Gor Mahia will represent the country in the 2013 edition of the CAF Confederations Cup tournament in an effort to place Kenya squarely in the continental map.

K’ogallo was knocked-out of this year’s tourney following their 0-1 loss to Ferroviaro de Maputo, on Saturday 10 March, at Nyayo National Stadium.

The Mozambique based-side advanced to the next round on 4-0 aggregate.

Gor Mahia bag FKF cup

In a repeat of last year, Gor Mahia beat Sofapaka in the FKF cup final, this time on penalties. The hero of the evening was Tanzanian standout goalkeeper Ivo Mapunda who saved two penalties to sink Sofapaka.

Kogalo were certainly under no illusions as Sofapaka has over the past 3 years proven to be a very difficult nut to crack.  The match was evenly balanced. In the first few moments of the game, Kevin Omondi came close when he picked up a pass from Moses Odhiambo, made a dangerous run into the Sofapaka area but his shot was saved by the Soafapaka goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng.

Ivan Anguyo then saw his long range effort go over the bar. Sofapaka came close several times with efforts from Joseph Nyaga and Humphrey Mieno.

In the second half, Logarusic brough on Edwin Lavatsa for the off color Dan Sserunkuma. The match continued to be evenly balanced with both sides pressing for a goal.

In the penalty shootout, Eugene Asika and Abdalla Juma’s saw their penalties saved by Mapunda. Humphrey Mieno then sent his ffort over the bar. Meanwhile Gor Mahia had scored via Ivan Anguyo, Moses Odhiambo and Rama Salim.

The win presents Gor Mahia another chance to play continental football and perhaps redeems themselves after the disastrous campaign of 2012.