Gor Mahia seek to go top of Group A

Gor Mahia warmup at national stadium Dar es Salaam: From left: Walusimbi, Glay, Agwanda, Sibomana, hidden, Kagere, Nizigiyimana, Olunga, Aucho, Abondo

Having already qualified for the quarter-finals, Gor Mahia will be seeking to finish atop group A when they face Djibouti Telecom on Sunday. Gor Mahia are currently in second place behind Al Khartoum who have a superior goal difference. Should Al Khartoum beat Yanga then Gor Mahia would need to beat Djibouti Telecom by at least 5 goals or more depending on Al Khartoum’s winning margin against Yanga. Gor Mahia will thus be going for a win while hoping that Yanga grab at least one point.

Friday’s match against the Sudanese was a bit of a let down for Gor Mahia who will be seeking a better outing.
“Khartoum had better ball possession session compared to us, but we shall play better in our last match,”  said coach Nuttall said on Friday to the Standard.
“For some reason the boys were not themselves in the last match. Not that we expected an easier outing against Khartoum but we performed below par and that needs to be corrected,” he continued.
Nuttall thinks his side gave too much space to the Sudanese.

“We only did about 41 per cent in the field compared to our opponents who enjoyed 59 per cent of ball possession,” said the Scot.
Though Djibouti have put on a poor show this time, their coach Amos Niyongabo will want to leave the tournament with at least one good performance.
“I want to salvage my image by beating Gor Mahia and go back home with a win,” said the coach.
And Gor Mahia will be in mood to under-rate the Djibouti side considering that they almost beat Gor Mahia at this tournament last year. Only an injury time equalizer from Musa Mohamed enabled Gor Mahia to salvage a point.

““Telecom might not have won any of their matches but I have watched them play and I know that they defend very well so we still have to be at our very best if we are to get results,” the Scottish coach said to the Nation.

Godfrey Walusimbi will likely sit out this match due to a sore knee. The good news is that Collins Okoth “Gattuso” who had a sore thigh is now available for selection though coach Nuttall may choose to rest him and save him for a tough quarter-final

Gor Mahia force draw with Al Khartoum

Musa Mohamed with former team-mate Anthony Akumu

Gor Mahia came from behind and forced a 1-1 draw with Al Khartoum of Sudan.  Gor Mahia’s goal came via Eric Ochieng who headed home a Khalid Aucho cross.

Despite the draw, Gor Mahia still have a chance at topping the group. To ensure they win the group, they must beat Djibouti Telecom then hope that the match between Young Africans and Al Khartoum ends in a draw or Young Africans win.

courtesy of goal.com

Ousmailia Baba put Al Khartoum ahead in the seventh minute and here K’Ogalo goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch will blame himself for the goal. Oluoch, who has been in good form, failed to clear an earlier danger allowing Baba to tap home.

Then Eric Ochieng’ netted the equaliser in the 43rd minute allowing Gor Mahia to pick a vital point as both sides have now collected seven points after three matches. It was just the second time in the competition that Gor Mahia were trailing in the competition and it is a situation that once again tested their character as a team.

They did well to attempt a comeback with Khalid Aucho getting a free-kick in the ninth minute from a very prime position. Aucho easily picked out Mike Olunga but the effort went out. Two minutes later, Ali Abondo from a free-kick in an almost similar position sent the ball past the Al Khartoum backline and the goalkeeper Adil Eltahir in goal spilled out the ball. Olunga, who was close by had a poor follow up.

Then in the 18th minute, Innocent Wafula picked out Olunga with a well curved free-kick but the towering forward hesitated just a bit and put the ball out when he finally recovered. On the other side of the pitch, Atif Khalid hit the Gor Mahia post with goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch well beaten. Karim Nizigiyimana did well to clear the danger. By this time, the Sudanese side were clearly in charge of the match and gave the Kenyan champions plenty of trouble.

The match changed to Gor Mahia’s favour in the 42nd minute when Eric Ochieng’ headed home a Khalid Aucho well taken free-kick. The Al Khartoum backline watched in disbelief as Ochieng’ headed home the equaliser.

The second half was a see-saw affair but Gor Mahia looked to have an edge. Haroun Shakava was cautioned for a bad tackle on Ahmed Adam. The same fate also befell Khalid Aucho, who picked his third yellow card of the tournament and is now in danger of missing the quarter-final match. In the 52nd minute, Innocent Wafula lobbed the ball towards Al Khartoum goal and it was punched out by Eltahir in goal.

Al Khartoum then rested Mohammed Hassan for Antony Okumu while Gor Mahia benched Ali Abondo for Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth. At this point in the match, Gor Mahia appeared to enjoy advantage in the match as they managed to keep their opponents in their own half for most of the second half.

Gor Mahia line-up : Oluoch, Aucho, Kagere, Walusimbi, Ali Abondo, Musa, Olunga, Wafula, Sibomana, Nizigiyimana and Shakava. Subs: Jerim Onyango, Collins Okoth, Wendo Ernest, Dirkir Glay, Odhiambo George, Ronald Omino and Enock Agwanda.

Al Khartoum : 1. Adil Eltahir, 12. Mohammed Hassan [14. Anthony Akumu 55’], 15. Samawal Merchani, 5. Omer Ali, 26. Hamza Zakaria, 25. Murwan Salih, 16. Wagdi Wad Abdalla [10. Domenic Abul 53’], 8. Amin Ibrahim Elmani, 19. Ousmaila Baba [18. Hassan Eldon 73’], 17. Ahmed Adan Mahamoud, 11. Atif Khalid Eltayeb

Unused Subs:  30. Mohammed Ibrahim, 4. Moawia Elamin, 6. Salah Eldin, 20. Badru Eldin

Gor Mahia vs Al Khartoum preview

Gor Mahia will be on a high after two convincing wins in the 2015 CECAFA club cup aka Kagame cup. It is a stark contrast to what pertained in the 2014 edition where Gor Mahia put on a listless performance even against minnows like Djibouti Telecom.

This is the confident backdrop against which Gor Mahia will take on Al Khartoum. The Sudanese side are also full of confidence, having beaten Djibouti Telecom 5-0 and KMKM 2-1.

In the Al Khartoum line-up will be former Gor Mahia midfield ace Anthony Akumu. It was he who scored the winning goal when his side beat KMKM.

Though he (Akumu) says he supported the club as a youngster and still has friends at the club, Akumu says he will be a professional first.

“I still have many friends in the club but I don’t think that will complicate things for me. Winning the title is our ambition in this tournament and I know that I have a great responsibility to make that happen. The coach has spoken to us about the match and I am planning to give my best performance to ensure that we record a winning result,” he said to the Nation.

Akumu also thinks that a good performance at the Kagame cup will open up doors to Europe.

“My ambition is to play in Europe but in the mean time I want to focus on giving my best performances for Khartoum. We have a job to do here and nothing else will be on my mind on Friday other that victory,” he continued.

So Gor Mahia will be facing a familiar but  determined foe. But truth be told, unlike last season, this year Gor Mahia has enough petrol in the tank to neutralize Akumu. For one thing, Collins Okoth is preferred ahead of Akumu at national team level. And even if Okoth is still stifled by his thigh injury, there is the ebullient Khalid Aucho whose performances have been impressive of late along with Walusimbi, Abondo and Wafula plus Nizigiziyimana and Sibomana whose playmaking and passing skills are as good or better than any midfieder at this tournament.

The Sudanese side have in John Kwesi Appiah, a good coach with vast experience. He guided Ghana to qualification of the 2014 world cup, a feat which included beating the mighty Egypt 6-1. Ghana played extremely well at the world cup including a 2-2 draw with eventual winners Germany.

However in coach Frank Nuttall, Gor Mahia have an imaginative coach who has proven that he can match wits with any coach. He comprehensively the Young Africans coach Hans Van De Pluijm despite the latter having coached in the Dutch first division.

Al Khartoum who finished 4th in the 2014 Sudanese league, have a squad that is made primarily of Sudanese players with the exception of Akumu, Léonard Njousso (Cameroun) and John Arthur (Ghana). Of the Sudanese players, none of them feature in the current national team which is dominated by players from their more illustrious rivals, Al Merreikh and Al Hilal.

Salah Bilal is the one player Gor Mahia will need to watch closely. He has scored three goals so far in the tournament.

Olunga draws keen interest from Bidvest

South African side Bidvest, have offered fast rising Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga a contract worth Ksh 12 million per year. They had earlier tried to sign Allan Wanga.

“We got an email from Bidvest offering to pay Olunga a Sh1million per month salary for an initial period of one year. We are looking at the offer but no decision has been made yet,” one of Olunga’s handlers exclusively told goal.com on Wednesday.

The agent stated that Olunga could never play in Tanzania.

“We are very categorical that he will not play in Tanzania. His standards are higher than what we see in that league and our best bet is Europe.” he continued.

Olunga’s sudden rise has been nothing short of meteoric. The last time a Kenya striker commanded such attention was in 2003 with Dennis Oliech. Olunga is finally fulfilling the potential that some experts saw in him when he played in the national schools tournaments in which coach Mohamed Kheri annointed him a a “future Mike Okoth Origi”.

Former Gor Mahia coach Zedekiah Otieno has advised all Gor Mahia players not to consider Tanzania as a destination.

“Players, who tried it in Tanzania, failed miserably, and they had to struggle to bring their careers back on track. Just a few have made it there, but look at recent cases, Dan Sserunkuma, Donald Mosoti, Humphrey Mieno, George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo even Rama Salim have struggled there,” ‘Zico’ told goal.com .

Zico advises players to focus on working on their skills and target playing in a more competitive league.

“It is not a bad league, we know of its quality, but it is just not meant for our players. All I can advise them is to be patient, and wait for an offer from Europe, and that will be good for them. If they become greedy, it might cost them. In football, if you make one wrong move, then you are doomed.”

Olunga advised against leaving

All three top Tanzanian teams have shown an interest in signing Gor Mahia talisman Michael Olunga. The 21 year old has earned rave reviews following his performances in which he destroyed both Young Africans. Azam coach Stewart Hall, who recently signed All Wanga from Al Merreikh has told the Standard that  Gor Mahia was asking for $200,000 (Sh20 million).

“This is a crazy price tag, but those asking for this money are not true representatives of Gor Mahia. “They are brokers who want to go in between for their own benefits,” said Hall. “He is a young player and we can use him as one of our projects. He is tall and physically strong and can partner well with my captain John Bocco,” said Hall.

Hall said he will engage the proper representatives of Gor Mahia with time to settle for the price.

Simba FC for their part are also interested in Khalid Aucho and Boniface Oluoch in addition to Olunga.

 Until Gor Mahia secures its finances, they will continue to be constantly  threatened by Tanzanian sides who have access to all manner of sponsorships. Yet a move to Tanzania very rarely pays off for Kenya players.

Former Yanga striker Boniface Ambani who was once top scorer in the Tanzanian league has advised Olunga against leaving Gor Mahia too early.

“I believe he can manage the pressure that comes with playing in Tanzania and I am not surprised that Simba want him. However, my advice is that he takes his time before making such a move. He needs to stay in Kenya for at least two seasons before going professional.

The biggest danger we have had with local players is that they rush to turn professional. For Olunga’s case, he needs to grow and become mature first. He should not rush. He needs to build himself in the national team first.” said Ambani to goal.com

Many former Gor Mahia players who went to Tanzania recently did not excel there, be it Kiongera, Sserunkuma or Rama Salim and even coach Logarusic. Ambani himself had to sue Yanga for backpay.

Nuttall to rest players

Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall has announced that he will rest key players in their Friday match against Sudan representatives, Al Khartoum.

“Since we have qualified for the quarter-finals with two matches to play, I will give more players a chance to play,” said the coach in an interview. “I have a very strong bench and it would be wise to explore all the talents I have here by giving them a chance to play,” said the coach.
Among the players who could be rested are Meddie Kagere and Michael Olunga. The rest will enable the players to recuperate after playing three  games in the space of 6 days.

Gor Mahia floor KMKM

Gor Mahia were in sensational form as they beat KMKM of Zanzibar 3-1 in their second CECAFA club cup match. Goals were scored by Meddie Kagere and Michael Olunga who scored twice.

Gor Mahia were in scintillating form throughout the match. They took a 2nd minute lead. Michael Olunga made a good run down the flank and sent a cross to Kagere for an easy tap. Gor Mahia were up 1-0.

KMKM came back into the game strongly, searching for an equalizer. The equalizer came at minute 12. A Tizzo Chomba corner kick found was met by Anthony Simon who had been given too much space by the Gor Mahia rear guard. Simon rose unchallenged and headed home to level the score.

Olunga who was in fine form throughout continued to torment the Zanzibaris each time he had the ball. In the 50th minute, his well taken free kick was parried by the KMKM custodian. The resulting rebound fell to Kagere whose effort was also saved by the keeper.

Gor Mahia took control of the game in the second half and were more dominant as the game proceeded. The Zanzibaris seemed to tire as the game progressed which is shocking since they are used to the climate.

Coach Frank Nuttall rung changes in the second half and as usual, his substitutions were on point and effective. Ronald Omino  was replaced by Eric Ochieng while Godfrey Walusimbi departed for Enock Agwanda. The KMKM coach also made changes benching Nassor Omar and Faki Sharif for Haji Simba and Maulid Ibrahim.

The winner came in the 69th minute when Karim Nizigiyimana yet again effected one of his pinpoint crosses which Olunga headed home. The third goal came in the 78th minute. Substitute Enock Agwanda sent a long throw which Olunga took with textbook ball control  and firmly planted in the net.

The win puts Gor Mahia in excellent position to qualify for the next stage.


Nuttall focused as Gor Mahia take on KMKM

Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall while happy that Gor Mahia beat Yanga of Tanzania in their first game, has urged his players not to get too high on that win. The journey ahead is still long and paved with potential pitfalls.

“It is just three points in a first group stage match. It doesn’t mean much. Against ten men, it looked easy but there is a psychological element attached to the whole situation.” said Nuttall after the game.

But winning what is likely the most difficult match of the group in front of a partisan crowd has put Gor Mahia in the driving seat.

“It was never easy, our first game of the tournament away from home in front of such a big ground cheering the home team, the red card was never an advantage, Nuttal added.” continued Nuttall.

Gor Mahia silenced Yanga fans


Gor Mahia will now take on KMKM (Kikosi Maalum cha Kuzuia Magendo) of Zanzibar.  Matches between Gor Mahia and KMKM are few and far between. In 1981, Gor Mahia played KMKM in the opening match of the CECAFA club cup. The match was played in Kisumu. Gor Mahia emerged victorious by a score of 2-0 and went on to win the tournament.

Nut Nuttall is correct not to under-rate the Zanzibaris. They gave a good account of themselves in the 2015 Africa champions league. They lost to Al Hilal of Sudan 2-1 in the preliminary round. But Al Hilal went to beat Bullets of Malawi 5-1 and Sanga Balende of Congo DRC 2-0. They are now atop group A. The last time KMKM played Kenyan opposition was at the 2014 Mapinduzi cup when they held AFC Leopards 0-0.

But Gor Mahia will be playing with plenty of confidence , buoyed by their opening game win. Their good performance was capped by the fact that Meddie Kagere was voted man of the match.

Skipper Musa Mohamed is certain that the side will perform better this time due to a higher level of experience.

“When you look at the current squad, you can see a lot of maturity. Most of the guys on the team are internationals and I guess this is a big reason behind the good form. There are lots of options. The squad is big and full of quality this time round. The bench is as good as the starters.” said Musa Mohamed after the match.


Winning start for Gor Mahia

Shakava and Glay celebrate

Gor Mahia opened their 2015 CECAFA club cup campaign with a solid 2-1 win over Young Africans of Tanzania. This is unlike last time when Gor Mahia started by not only losing to KCCA of Uganda but were comprehensively outplayed. This time Gor Mahia were in the driving seat.

It was Yanga who took an early lead due to an unfortunate error by Gor Mahia central defender Dirkir Glay : Glay had attempted to clear a dangerous cross from winger Donald Ngoma, but his mis-timed clearance ended up sending the ball over goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch.

Gor Mahia equalized in the 18th minute from a freekick. The freekick resulted when Godfrey Walusimbi was fouled. Karim Nigiziyimana sent one of his inch perfect deliveries into the danger area and Haron Shakava headed past Ali Mustafa in the Yanga goal. The towering Shakava is quickly joining the ranks of other Gor Mahia heading legends like George Otieno “Vigo”, Allan Odhiambo and of course Peter Dawo.

5 minutes later, Zambia winger Ngoma received a second yellow card for attacking Shakava, and he was sent off as Gor Mahia and Simba fans cheered. Simba fans were actively chanting “Gor Biro”. This raised Gor Mahia’s morale and they dominated the exchanges with far more attempts on goal.

At minute 32, a wide open Olunga controlled the ball well but sent his shot over the bar, thus missing a glorious opportunity.  5 minutes later, a the dangerous Olunga was felled by a Yanga defender but the referee waved play on thus denying Gor Mahia what should have been a penalty.

Michael Olunga who had been active all day saw his efforts rewarded when he scored the second goal soon after the start of the second half.

Godfrey Walusimbi also found himself in the referees book when he was cautioned for a foul in the 62nd minute.

In the 73rd minute, Boniface Oluoch became a hero when  he saved a penalty from veteran Kelvin Yondani.


Gor Mahia vs Young Africans through the years

Gor Mahia will face off with hosts Young Africans (Yanga) of Dar es salaam in the opening encounter of the 2015 CECAFA club cup aka Kagame cup.

In previous years, Gor Mahia has had a torrid time playing against Simba FC. Their results against Yanga, while better, also show that Yanga FC are no walk in the park.

Encounters between these two sides go back to the 1970s and 1980s. In 1982, the CECAFA club cup was played in Kenya and Gor Mahia were placed in group B which was based in Kisumu. This was a Gor Mahia unit with players like Bobby Ogolla, Abbey Nassur, Tim Ayieko, Sammy Owino “Kempes”, Austin Oduor. George Ayuka and Nahashon Oluoch among others. Gor Mahia played Yanga in the 3rd match after having drawn 1-1 with Bata Bullets of Malawi and beating KCC of Uganda 1-0. On that occasion, Gor Mahia beat Yanga 3-1 to top their group.

The period around 1980 was when Tanzanian football was at its peak. That year they thrashed Kenya 5-0 in a world cup qualifier and had qualified for the Africa nations cup. Among the Yanga players in Taifa stars was Juma Mukambi who scored against Nigeria at AFCON 1980 and Charles Boniface

In 1984, Gor Mahia faced off with Yanga in the opening round of the Africa champions cup. Prior to traveling to Dar es Salaam, Gor Mahia camped in Mombasa for 2 weeks in order to acclimatize to the hot and humid conditions in Dar es Salaam. In addition to the experienced duo of Boniface and Mukambi and Boniface, Yanga also had Ahmed Amasha who was far and away the best left full back in the CECAFA region at the time. All were household names in Kenya.

On that occassion, the first leg was played in Dar es Salaam. In the Gor Mahia line-up on that occasion were were two Tanzanians who had defected to Kenya: Abdallah Shebe and Abbas Magongo. Both returned to their old stomping grounds to reign terror on their compatriots.

The match ended 1-1. Gor Mahia had taken the lead in the 67th minute via new signing, the 18 year old  John Okello “Zangi” before Yanga scored a late equalizer. The return leg was a tense encounter as Yanga played Gor Mahia tough and gave as much as they received. Gor Mahia prevailed 1-0 thanks to an 84th minute goal by Sammy Onyango “Jogoo” who beat Joseph Fungo in the Tanzanian goal with one of his long range grass cutters. It was a thunderous drive.

The following day, the daily Nation headline read as follows: “Sammy Onyango blasts Gor Mahia into round 2”.

The line-ups on that day:

Gor Mahia: Tirus Omondi, Peter Otieno Bassanga, George Otieno Vigo, Austin Oduor, Abbas Magongo, Hezborn Omollo, Abbey Nassur, John Okello Zangi, Abdallah Shebe, George Onyango Fundi, Sammy Onyango

Yanga: Joseph Fungo, Yusuf Bana, Ahmed Amasha, Athumani Chama, Ishtaka Hassan, Juma Mukambi, Hussein Iddi, Charles Boniface, Abeid Mziba, Elisha John, Ali Mchumila.

In 1996, The CECAFA club cup was played in Tanzania and Gor Mahia faced Yanga yet again in the preliminary round. It was a strong Gor Mahia side with players like Joseph Asembo, Dan Shikanda, Tom Ochieng, Joseph Owino, Dan Ogada, Tom Okaya, Allan Odhiambo. They had just won the league for the fourth time in six years.

On that occasion, Gor Mahia held the hosts 1-1. They topped group B but lost 0-1 to Simba in the semis.


The 2015 edition will not be an easy encounter either. Yanga warmed up for the match by beating Police Combined 3-0.  After the match, their Dutch coach Hans van Pluijm signified that they still had room for improvements.
“I don’t want to judge my players after two matches…we still have one week to prepare for the tournament and that’s when I will be in a position to comment on their performance”, Pluijm said.

“Some new players have come in and have yet to synchronise. But we have new players like (Deus) Kaseke that have been impressive…we can get better in time”.
Yanga are a star studded squad. Among the players to watch are Rwandan international of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) origin, Mbuyu Twite who is an excellent passer and playmaker.
Right Winger Simon Msuva who recently attended trials in South Africa  will keep Sibomana, Musa Mohamed and Nigiziyimana busy all day. Despite his short stature he is a handful. He is fast, a good dribbler , good crosser and scores plenty of goals. He is the reigning top scorer in the Tanzanian league.
Defender Nadir “Cannavaro” Haroub is one of the most experienced players. he is a good reader of the game and will have studied and prepared for the Kagere-Olunga combination.