Welcome to Karim Nizigiyimana & Sibomana

The Gor Mahia defence should be solid this season following the signing of the Rayon sports duo of Karim Nizigiyimana and Abouba Sibomana.

Rayon sports official, Aimee Emmanuel Ndayisabye said that Gor Mahia paid $8000 for the duo.

“It is true that they have gone to Gor Mahia and we have given them everything they needed to go, we wish them all the best,” Ndayisabye said to the Rwandese daily New Times.

Karim Nizigiyimana impressed when he played against Bidco United on Saturday. Abouba Sibomana has represented Rwanda since 2010. He thus brings a wealth of experience.  With the duo available, there will be competition for positions in defence with Musa Mohamed, Simon Pierre and Godfrey Walusimbi also able to play at left back.

However it is worth noting that the CAF deadline for registering players for the 2015 Africa champions league was on January 15 which means Gor Mahia most likely missed the window to register the two players.

The defence now looks okay with the addition of Dirkir Glay and Bernard Odhiambo in central defence. But whereas the defence looks ready, there is plenty of work that needs to be done on the attack.

Up next: Western Stima then Power Dynamos

Gor Mahia to return to Kisumu


Having beaten Bidco FC  in a friendly match this past weekend, Gor Mahia will now face a sterner test against KPL side Western Stima. According to goal.com, the match will be played on Wednesday at Moi stadium Kisumu. This stadium was the scene of wild celebrations when Gor Mahia won the league last season.

Though this is a friendly match, the turnout is bound to be high given the passionate support that Gor Mahia has in this town. It is therefore important for Gor Mahia and the county of Kisumu to cooperate in providing adequate security. The club cannot afford any lapses.

For coach Frank Nuttall, it is an opportunity to once again test his new and existing players and continue to explore various combinations. Nuttall expressed his happiness at the win over Bidco last weekend:

“I’m happy we have started the New Year on a sound note. I believe we are on the right track and I look forward to a good season. To me, it doesn’t matter who scores, the team victory has to come ahead of everything else” he said to michezoafrika.com

However Nuttall should be concerned about his strikeforce which appeared blunt. Whereas at the beginning of last season, we knew going in that Dan Sserunkuma would spearhead the attack, it is not clear in 2015. Nuttall has about one month to find the two players who can play well together upfront.

Assistant coach Frank Ouna also expressed satisfaction with the win over Bidco and expressed the club’s intent to beat Western Stima.

“We want to win the game. It is an important game for us. We have a new team and every match for us counts a lot. We are taking every match very seriously. This is perhaps the second time we are playing together in a friendly match after playing Bidco United.”

For Gor Mahia fans its another opportunity to assess the new signings. Some players did well on Saturday most notably, Karim Nizigiyimana, Khalid Aucho and Bernard Odhiambo. In particular, new signing “Rooney” Omino will play against the team his father coaches.

But It is one thing to play well against Bidco which is a lower tier team. Fans will be interested to see what the team can do against KPL calibre players. Others who did not impress should be using this opportunity to show improvement.

 Power Dynamos

Famous Zambian side, Power Dyanamos will be camping in Nairobi in preparation for their CAF confederation encounter with Al Khartoum of Sudan. While in Nairobi, they will play a friendly against Gor Mahia on February 1.

Club secretary Ricky Mamfunda said in an interview from Kitwe yesterday that weather conditions in Kenya are similar to Sudan. “We decided to take the team to Nairobi because its proximity to Sudan and the weather conditions,”.

Power are expected to leave for Nairobi on January 25. They will face Al Khartoum on February 14.

Julius Situmbeko who is famous for the botched deal with Gor Mahia in January of 2014 was in the Power Squad until November of 2014. It is not clear if he has re-signed with Power.


Update on Julius Owino

K24 caught up with former Gor Mahia captain Julius Owino who explained what he has been up to. He says that all his plans came apart when he was dropped by Gor Mahia. he has since started various ventures like recycling, dog breeding and now runs a youth team in Kayole.

This is a cautionary tale for players who do not plan their post football activities. The case of Owino is especially egregious since he was 34 years old by the time his career ended which means he had over a decade to plan for his post football career.

Players know that football does not last forever and should therefore plan ahead.

Gor Mahia 1 Bidco 0

Showing shades of Calabar is Bernard Odhiambo

Gor Mahia narrowly squeezed a win over Bidco whom they beat 1-0 at the City stadium on Saturday. The all important goal was scored by Simon Pierre who capitalized on a through pass from George “Blackberry” Odhiambo.

In action were several Gor Mahia new signings among them returnee Ali Abondo who was captain and played in midfield with Khalid Aucho coming in later and displaying astute passing. Bernard Odhiambo who is the brother to David Owino Calabar also played. Odhiambo made an impressive debut and shows the potential to achieve what his elder brother achieved. Most impressive in the Gor Mahia defence is right back Karim Nizigiyimana. He looks good going forward, has good positional sense and is composed and a good crosser.

Whereas the defence looked solid, the attack looks blunt. Blackberry played well but it will take some time before his combination with other strikers like Olunga, Tim Otieno and Taofiq clicks. Remember that Blackberry hardly even played with Tim Otieno last year.  Coach Frank Nuttall has his work cut out to identify combinations and gain some cohesiveness upfront before the match against CNAPs of Madagascar.

Gor Mahia take on Bidco

After missing out on an opportunity to play KCB, Gor Mahia will now play Bidco FC in their first match of 2015.

Coach Frank Nuttall has had an opportunity to work with his new charges for a week now. This is first chance to test combinations.

Though this is not a real test, it will Gor Mahia fans a chance to see the new signings in action. Collins Okoth and Dirkir Glay will likely not play after they picked up minor injuries.

Gor Mahia fans for their part will be eager to see the new signings in action.

The perils of roadside signings

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.

Farouk Ssentongo

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.

Gor Mahia vs KCB friendly canceled

The build up match between Gor Mahia and KCB that was scheduled for Wednesday evening at 4 pm has been canceled.

“KCB did not show their willingness to take part in the friendly for understandable reasons and we can’t play without opponents.” Gor Mahia’s Assistant Coach Frank Ouna said according to the club’s site.

The withdrawal of KCB denies fans an opportunity to watch the new players in action.

Oboya Joins Tusker

Patrick Oboya who has been playing for Gor Mahia for the past two seasons has signed a three year contract at Tusker. Oboya joined Gor Mahia in 2013 but has been far from the form that saw him earn a contract in the Czech league. He has been plagued by injuries and has missed much of the past two seasons.

Gor Mahia to benefit from high profile friendlies

Musa Mohamed vs KCCA in 2014

Last year, Gor Mahia’s preparations for the CAF champions league consisted of a friendly match against Supa Loaf whom they beat 5-0. They were due to play US Bitam on February 8 while the league did not start until February 15. As a result Gor Mahia had not had enough time to build any cohesion. This was exacerbated by the fact that Gor Mahia signed 12 new players.  Meanwhile their opponents including Esperance were in the middle of their season.

Gor Mahia appear to have learned from last season. Chairman Ambrose Rachier says the team will line up a number of quality friendlies to prepare for continental duty.

“We have lined up a number of friendly matches before our season kicks off in early February 2015. We shall play various teams both here (Kenya) and those outside the country.

Wednesday, save for this coming one, and Saturdays have been set aside as the days picked local sides will faceoff with the champions at a chosen venue.” said Rachier according to futaa.com

Gor Mahia are said to be negotiating with teams from Uganda and Tanzania.

First Friendly

The first pre-season build up match will be against KCB at City stadium. The match will kick off on Wednesday at 4pm. Fans will have an opportunity to see the new signings in action. While coach Frank Nuttall gets an early opportunity to try out new combinations.

Ssentongo ready for challenge

Newly signed midfielder Farouk Ssentongo is elated at the prospect of playing for Gor Mahia and is

“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.

Abondo happy to be back home

Ali Abondo who has rejoined the club after having left for Tusker in 2013 is happy to be back playing in fromt of Kogalo fans.

“Even when I left Gor Mahia to sign for Tusker, my heart and soul was still with K’Ogalo. I enjoyed playing for Gor because of their support. The fans make you put extra effort and I trust I will give them something to cheer about. We will also have our home fans supporting us there and I believe that will give us motivation. We will be prepared for the match because we need to qualify for the next stage,” he said.”

Abondo said he has been a Gor Mahia supporter since his childhood days.  His primary goal is to improve on recent performances in continental events.

“We have the ability to do it but we need to go step by step, focusing on each game. If we can get to the group stages of the qualifications, it will be very good for us.”

Abondo was in the starting line-up when Gor Mahia went down to Ferroviario of Mozambique in 2011.



New signings speak out on expectations

Glay and Zachary

Gor Mahia’s new signings are speaking out on what should be expected from then in the coming 2015 season.

Central defender Dirkir Glay, who joined from Thika United is imploring fans not to compare him to the recently departed David Owino “Calabar”

“I don’t want fans to compare me with Owino, I’m joining the team to assist them win titles. I know it’s a challenge because they expect me to prove myself since they lost Owino.

“They expect me to do more than him but I assure fans I will do my best in partnership with my colleagues to succeed this season,” Glay told Capital Sport.

Glay who signed a two year contract went on to say that he was motivated at the prospect of playing for Gor Mahia.

“Gor is the biggest club in Kenya so it’s a great achievement for me and it’s the club that I wished to play after three years with Thika. I came for a challenge and I’m sure with the good environment as time goes by; I will adapt,”

Jerry Santos

Jerry Santos, a defensive midfielder is also motivated at the prospect of playing for Kogalo.

“It’s been a challenge playing outside my country but I have gained experience I want to use in my future career. K’Ogalo is a big team and it’s an honour joining Kogalo.

Santos also said he is his own person and rejects comparisons with the departing Kizito.

“I hope I will help Gor achieve whatever they plan for the season. We can’t match what Kizito offered because he is a quality player but as Santos, I’m bringing in what cannot be compared with anyone,” Santos, a former Harambee Stars midfielder declared to capital FM.http://gormahia.net/latest/wp-admin/post.php?post=5996&action=edit&message=10

Santos, who is 26, was first discovered in 2008 while playing for Dandora Youth in the Extreme Super 8 tournament. He was soon recruited by Tusker. His career also took him to Vietnam, Tanzania and Albania. In 2012, he won a case against Albanian side KF Tirana after they terminated his contract prematurely. He was awarded US $35,000.

Taofiq Zachary

One thing the 20 year old Ghanaian does not lack is confidence. He says he scored 18 goals while playing for Al Shaab in the United Arab emirates and he has put Kenyan defenders on notice that he plans to replicate that form in Kenya. Prince Tagoe who played for Ghana at the 2006 world cup is also a former Al Shaab player.

Zachary says he left the UAE due to racism. “I have been with the Arabs for over a year now but I must say they do not like black people, when things do not go right; you are at loggerheads with them. ”

Zachary revealed how former Gor Mahia player Dan Makori enabled him to land at Gor Mahia.

“I was at Al Shaab with a friend, Makori, who happened to have played for Gor Mahia. He (Makori) however didn’t succeed at staying at the club after negotiations didn’t go well so he came back, that was about a year ago, Taofiq narrated to futaa.com

“Then after that, I received a call recently from Gor management saying they needed a clinical striker, I told them if there is a chance, why not? I will give it a try. I am here now, very happy with how they welcomed me and though I do not have a true picture of the Kenyan league but being Africa, I am sure it’s more or less similar.”

Zachary hopes that his exploits will enable him to someday play for the Ghanaian national team.



Rest in Peace Fidel Odinga

Fidel Odinga the Grandson of Kenya’s first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and first son of  Kenya’s foremost people’s rights fighter Raila Odinga was laid to rest.

Fidel Odinga was an avid Gor Mahia fan. Unbeknownst to most, he was involved in various activities including the youth team. It is for this reason that Gor Mahia fans turned out in droves for his funeral.

According to the Standard,Gor Mahia Football Club carried out the day as they turned up in large numbers to pay their last respect to Fidel Castro during his emotional send-off on Saturday. The fans hummed praise songs and dirges to eulogise the late Fidel Odinga stating that he was a true Gor Mahia hero. “Fidel was a friend of all the people and to be specific the Kogallo family. I sell peanuts in Kisumu, but when games are held in Nairobi I travel all the way to sell to the fans. Fidel would use as much as Sh3000 in purchasing peanuts just for the fans,” said Ezekiel Kawere an ardent fan.

“I have lost a customer and real fan who motivated most of us. Someone who would chip in to support the club, not everyone has such a heart,” added Kawere. The emotional fans who mourned in peace stated that the late Fidel deserved respect and a peaceful send-off. “We have not been harassed by anyone and we will not create any tension. We have lost a dear friend and disciplinarian. Too sad for us and he can never be replaced,” said Jack Omondi a fan from Kisumu. Youths from the county eulogised the late Fidel as a social person, who loved giving out without complaining.
Jaro Soja and others below represented the Gor Mahia contingent at the funeral Image courtesy of Michael Onyango

Fidel also supported other sports.

In 2014, Fidel stepped in to offer financial support to Kisumu Rugby Football club. The club had been in a dire financial situation having lost their previous patron. They had forfeited many matches because players simply would not show up. Fidel came to the rescue. It is for this reason that the Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRFU) mandated a moment of silence to remember Fidel.

“He bought some of the uniforms our players wear during games and sometimes he chipped in financially, because he has walked with us we are here to give him a decent send-off . The last time I saw him was during Rugby Dala sevens in Kisumu and he was jovial and a simple man,” said Tecklar Wasongo a fan of Kisumu RFC.
A moment of silence was observed before the match between Homeboyz and Harlequins in order of Fidel
Former KRFU chairman Mwangi Muthee eulogized Fidel Odinga thus:

“I met Fidel Odinga about 10 years ago. Fidel liked rugby very much, had many friends among rugby players, but followed the game very much in the periphery. Only very recently I appealed to him and encouraged him to help out in rugby management; by assisting Kisumu Rugby Football Club which was then struggling in many aspects” said Muthee

“He effected a remarkable, almost immediate, turn-around. He became the Chairman of the team that had been relegated from the top-flight competition and which, in just half of the current season, is topping its second-tier division, virtually guaranteeing itself a place in the play-offs for promotion back to the Kenya Cup”

“Fidel had become my friend whom I admired for the commitment to support rugby in one of the high potential regions in our country, Kisumu, in particular and Nyanza and Western in general. He was so effective in stablising the game, bringing in freshness and boosting morale that the game was looking up like never before”

“Fidel’s humbleness, calmness and easy-going nature was unbelievable. His background was in the top echelons of society but he was the finest example of wonderful Kenyans who get along across diverse class, regional, religious, age or philosophical lines”

Because of his love for sports, rugby players and fans were among the thousands of mourners who made it to Bondo.

Rest In Peace

On behalf of Gor Mahia bloggers branch, Gor Mahia online supporters club and GORMAHIA.NET, this author would like to offer condolences to the family of Fidel Makarios, Castro, Odhiambo, Odinga, May the Lord rest his soul in eternal peace and give his family strength.
Artwork courtesy of Victor Oti Owach