Coach Frank Nuttall has been back for only three days but he wasted no time stamping his imprint on the club. On Wednesday he axed two new signings, Farouk Ssentongo and James Ohawa.
A source indicates that Nuttall The coach evaluated the squad and recommended that the two be released, he says the two are too slow and lazy thus falling short of the coach’s expectations and will not fit in his 2015 plans. This according to a report on futaa.com
Unknown Players – No trials
More than half of the players Gor Mahia signed in 2015 were hit or miss players. In many cases it appears very little is known about them. It is difficult to find any information about players like Taofiq Zachary, James Ohawa or Farouk Ssentongo.
Most big clubs typically invite players for trials before they sign them. In the case of Gor Mahia it appears they offer contracts first before seeing what the player is about. Note that chairman Ambrose Rachier indicated that all the players signed have been offered contracts. This is an issue Gor Mahia has to be careful about because FIFA always sides with players when arbitrating between a club and a player whose contract has been terminated. With this kind of carelessness, Gor Mahia could be on the hook to pay salaries of players who are no longer with the club, something Gor Mahia cannot afford.
One can only hope that the contracts have not been signed or they have an “Out-Clause”.
Its also worth noting also that Chairman Rachier indicated that Frank Nuttall was kept in touch with the rest of the technical bench
The curious case of James Ohawa
How this guy ended up at Gor Mahia is quite a mystery. He was supposedly signed from Mombo FC, a team that is not even in Uganda’s top tier. How did a player who does not feature in Uganda’s top league end up at the KPL champions? It stands to reason that if Ohawa was such a good player, he would have been scouted by one of the top Ugandan sides before he ended up at Gor Mahia.
The case of Farouk Ssentongo is slightly more understandable given that he young and has shown some potential. He first came to the limelight when he played in Uganda’s Copa Coca Cola. Upon joining Gor Mahia he showed some determination.
“I came here for a challenge and will not disappoint Gor Mahia fraternity. As a footballer, each player wants to make an impact. I knew I will get a bigger challenge as a player because this is a club preparing for continental duty and I want to be of help to the team in the Champions League.”
“I have played in a competitive and lean league in the United Arab Emirates and I know I will fit in well in the Kenyan league. I will give my best and replicate what my countryman Geoffrey Kizito did for this glamour club,” he said a few days ago.
It is therefore surprising that he would show laziness or lack of effort on the field. Perhaps it is part of the learning curve of a young player.
Where does that leave the club?
The good news is that coach Nuttall appears to think that Taofioq Zachary who is the club’s most expensive signing is of a calibre high enough to stay at the club. The other good news is that the decision was taken before the CAF deadline for submitting player names for the 2015 Africa champions league.
It is also possible that coach Frank Nuttall has taken this action to put all players on notice that if they do not shape up and work hard, they will either be axed or they will find themselves perpertually on the terraces.
There was a time when Gor Mahia were Astute at signing.
Back in the 1970s, 1980s and even 1990s, Gor Mahia had a network of scouts all over the country. These scouts would recommend players for trials at Gor Mahia. In those days several players were signed from grassroots teams and quite a number made an impact on the team. Players like John Okello “Zangi”, David Ochieng, came direct from lower division teams.
In some cases, players were recomended by fellow players. Peter Dawo came recomended by his fellow Railways players when he played at the KECOSO games. Yours truly once spoke to Owino “Kempes” and he told me that it was he who recomended George Onyango “Fundi”. At the time Fundi was still a secondary school student.
Gor Mahia also had a ready made pipeline in the form of Kisumu Hotstars from whom Gor Mahia signed several players as far back as Allan Thigo, Bobby Ogolla, Charles Otieno and Anthony Ndolo.
It was also commonplace for Gor Mahia to sign players directly from school because their network of scouts often attended school games. The two supernovae Sammy Owino and Nahashon were both scouted while in school. In fact Lule started to play for Gor Mahia while still a secondary school student. The Daily Nation dubbed him the “Schoolboy Wonderboy”. Sammy Onyango was also at Gor Mahia while still studying at Equator High school. While the likes of George Nyangi, Charles Omondi “Korea” joined Kogalo right after finishing at Kakamega high and Githumu respectively.
In those days Gor Mahia was known for signing young players with potential and moulding them into great players. If you look at the squad that won the Africa cup in 1987, you will find that almost none of them were established before they joined Gor Mahia. Many came unknown, were tried out by Len Julians and moulded into high calibre players.
And more recently it is James Sianga who was the last person to carry out the tradition of using grassroots scouts to recruit players who would then come to the club for trials.