Abondo in action as Stars sink to Zanzibar

Ali Abondo had not featured in the Harambee Stars starting line up since the CHAN qualifier against Ethiopia. His return was an unhappy one as Stars were beaten 3-1 by Zanzibar. He was the only Gor Mahia player fielded in the starting line-up. Coach Bobby Williamson appeared to under-rate the Zanzibaris and fielded a decidedly different squad than the one that played in the opening two games.

Just as was the case against Cape Verde, a good start by Harambee Stars was ruined because players were demoralized. This time it was due to unpaid allowances that saw the players threaten not to play.

Additional reporting courtesy of the Nation

Suleiman Kassim bagged a brace for the Heroes striking in the 45th and 75th minutes of the game while Khamis Mcha Khamis was also on target in the 57th minute to inflict Kenya with a painful defeat.

Substitute Jacob Keli pulled Kenya’s late consolation. “We are extremely disappointed. We never looked comfortable today,” Williamson said. More embarrassing for the Stars is the fact that the Zanzibar Heroes had been the whipping boys of the group losing 1-0 to Burundi and 4-0 to Uganda Cranes.

Stars build-up to yesterday’s game was overshadowed by demands for allowances and subtle threats not to honour the match.

Anthony “Teddy” Akumu was deployed as the sole defensive midfielder in the new-look 4-1-3-2 formation that saw Jesse Were and Allan Wanga partner upfront while Kevin Kimani and Kevin Amwayi operated on the wings allowing Ali Abondo to play centrally behind the strikers.

However, Kenya’s tactics failed to work and Williamson summoned Michael Olunga and Eric Johanna respectively fo Were and Amwayi in the second half but there was no way out. It was left to late sub Keli to net the consolation goal.


Olunga scores again to salvage draw for Harambee

Olunga was marked by clubmate nizigiyimana Image courtesy of Citizen TV

Michael Olunga continued his prolific scoring form for the national team on Wednesday when he scored the equalizing goal as Kenya’s Harambee Stars were held to a 1-1 draw by Burundi. It was Olunga’s 4th goal in 5 games for Harambee Stars, having scored against Zambia, Cape Verde and Uganda.

Burundi were featuring Gor Mahia ace full back Karim Nizigiyimana as well as Fuadi Ndayisenga of Sofapaka.

Additional reporting via Capital FM

Nizigiyimana man-marked club mate Olunga, denying him in the space to operate in the box as soon as proceedings got underway in a packed stadium where home fans were waiting for the Walia Ibex were to take on Somalia in the second game of the day.

The Burundians sparked into life when Ndayisenga dribbled past skipper, David Ochieng, on the left to cut in to Tambwe who tapped the ball past keeper Boniface Oluoch to force the champions chase the game.

Finland based winger, Clifton Miheso then headed wide from Omar Mbongi’s delivery before seeing his cross intercepted.

Stars mounted more pressure on the Burundians and got the equaliser when Miheso delivered a deep ball into the area for Jacob Keli, who scored the opener in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Uganda, who knocked it down for Olunga.

The K’Ogalo forward notched his 37th goal of a memorable year when he brushed past David’s Nshimirimana with a clever dummy before smashing past Arthur Arakaza with a low right foot shot for his second of the tournament.

Williamson rang the changes in the second half; introducing Christian Bwamy in midfield for K’Ogalo’s Collins Okoth to seek the advantage.

For all his scoring prowess, Olunga and Miheso combined to spurn the opportunities that fell their way with the lanky forward first forcing Arakaza to dive and parry away his long range thunderbolt as Mbongi recovered swiftly on the other hand to block Tabwe’s strike in the box when Burundi attacked the other end.

Azam FC forward, Allan Wanga came in for the ineffectual Keli as the Scotsman sought more bite upfront as the half drew to a close.

Miheso them cut in for Bwamy who saw his shot blocked but it was Mathare United’s Eric Johanna who could have been the hero when he shinned Didier Kavumbavu to unleash a ferocious low shot but Arakaza but blocked with his legs for a fruitless corner at the near post.


Now is the time to plan for 2016

To say that Gor Mahia has had a successful 2015 season would be an understatement. It is especially impressive considering that in 2014, Gor Mahia lost a whole host of players who had been the backbone of the team. Dan Sserunkuma, Geoffrey Kizito, Rama Salim, Edwin Lavatsa, Paul Kiongera, Shaban Kenga, Timonah Wanyonyi, Anthony Akumu and Kevin Omondi among many others left at various points during the season. To make matters worse, coach Bobby Williamson also left in August. However with decent planning and recruiting, Gor Mahia recovered and had what can only be described as a spectacular season, perhaps second only to 1987 when Gor Mahia won the Africa cup winners cup, the league and the Moi Golden cup (now known as GoTV shield).

As things stand now, the season is coming to an end. Once again many players are set to leave. The contract of Geoffrey Walusimbi who has played a pivotal role over the past two seasons is coming to an end. Walusimbi has been instrumental with his all round intelligent play, tactical awareness and brilliant passes near the penalty box that often result in goals.

Meddie Kagere whose goals have been instrumental and who has given fans plenty to remember, also has a contract that is coming to an end.

“I cannot comment on my future, because I also do not know whether I will be here next season or not. Let us finish the season before thinking about the future, but the truth is, I have enjoyed my stay at this club. I have not felt good when I finish the match without a goal. My job is to score goals as well as create chances for my teammates to score. So when I fail to do any of the above, it really saddens me, and that is why I work hard for my team.” said Kagere to goal.com

Another key player whose contract is ending is George Odhiambo “Blackberry”.

“My contract ends out and I am not very certain I will still be in Gor next season. There are a number of offers which have come from Europe and I will look at all of them and see what is good for me and make a decision,” he told Soka.

The performance of several Gor Mahia players has caught the eye of several teams in Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa and the

Gor Mahia has had a formidable unit in 2015 . If the core of this team is kept together for 2016, they could reach even greater heights. Now Kenyan team has reached the second round of the African champions league. Gor Mahia could be the first. With a bit of luck in the draw, they could even reach the group stage. In 2015, Gor Mahia lost narrowly to AC Leopards yet they were forced to play without key players like Kagere, Nizigiyimana and Sibomana. Perhaps even more important is to keep the services of coach Frank Nuttall whose tactical brilliance surpasses any coach in Gor Mahia’s history.

Gor Mahia will need to work overtime to keep the core of the team together and also to recruit players who are capable of stepping into the breach and effectively replacing the players who are set to leave.

To keep the core of the team intact will require a lot of planning on the part of the officials. Once again all the financial initiatives that were initiated to keep the club financially moribund have seemingly fallen by the wayside. The SACCO, the #35010 paybill number, the membership drives, Gor Mahia bread etc, are no longer being promoted much as this columnist predicted in July. The chairman will need to bring these initiatives back to the forefront.

Ambrose Rachier performed well in his capacity as club chairman in 2015. We hope that his campaign for the FKF chairmanship will not distract him from the planning that the club needs for 2016.


Olunga on target as Kenya dispatch Uganda

Olunga scored against Zambia,Cape Verde and now Uganda

Harambee stars put aside their tribulations and put on a spirited performance to beat the Uganda Cranes 2-0 in the opening match of the 2015 CECAFA senior challenge cup.

Kenya dominated possession in the first half. It therefore came as no surprise when Zambia based Jacob Keli scored the opener with a well taken finish in the 28th minute following a through pass from Eric Johanna. Keli was menacing throughout the first half and almost doubled the lead in the 43rd minute but his grasscutter was saved by the Ugandan keeper.

Coach Bobby Williamson introduced Michael Olunga as a second half substitute. Olunga responded almost immediately with a typical calm and poised finish to double the lead. Olunga’s fine form at club level has also translated to the national teams where he has been prolific, scoring three times in the last four games.

Also in action was combative defensive midfielder Collins Okoth who partenered in midfield with former Gor Mahia ace Anthony Akumu.

After the match coach Bobby Williamson was upbeat and refused to be drawn into discussing the Cape Verde fiasco.

“Cape Verde is gone now. Everyone knows the challenges that we had there but now we are on a different assignment. I have heard the Uganda Cranes coach say that he only played his second string side, but that is up to him really. I brought the best available players and I am very glad that we have won. Winning the first game of any competition is always a good thing,” said Williamson.

Kenya Starting XI:  Bonface Oluoch ,  David ‘Calabar’ Owino, David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng , Omar Mbongi, Noah Abich, Teddy Akumu, Collins Okoth, Eric Johanna, Clifton Miheso , Jacob Keli, Jesse Were

Subs: David Okello, Harun Shakava, Musa Mohamed, Ali Abondo, Michael Olunga, Allan Wanga

Uganda Starting XI: Alitho James, Faruk Miya, Denis Okot, Isaac Muleme, Shafik Bakaki , Joseph Ochaya, Ssekisambu Erisa, Muurshid Jjuko, Muzamir Mutyaba, Ceasar Okhuti, Hassan Dazo.

Subs:  Mathias Kigonya (GK), Frank Kalanda, Kizito Keziron, Richard Kasagga, Nelson Senkatuka, Joseph Nsubuga


GoTV Shield: Gor Mahia Floor Administration Police

Eric Ochieng in action against Administration Police
Image courtesy of the Nation

Gor Mahia beat Administration Police 3-1 in an entertaining GoTV shield match played at City stadium. George Odhiambo “Blackberry” struck twice in the first half and Meddie Kagere added a third late in the game.

In the process Gor Mahia kept their hopes of winning all four domestic trophies on offer alive.

Additional reporting via goal.com
George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo grabbed a double with Meddie Kagere scoring late on for the Kenyan champions to down the hard fighting law enforcers, who had threatened after second half with a consolation from Salim Mzee.

Gor Mahia will now face Nakumatt FC in the semis with the winner setting up a final with Bandari FC. K’Ogalo started the match as favorites considering the fact that the team had many experienced players with unmatched form this season, but Administration Police also had a record to be proud of having eliminated Sofapaka in the knock-out phase.

Michael Olunga started from the bench with Abouba Sibomana fit enough to be given a run alongside Godfrey Walusimbi, Collins Okoth and Karim Nizigiyimana, who were tasked with international matches in the last ten days or so.

The Division One side showed what they are capable of, scaring in the early minutes of the game, with the dangerous Webale missing to hit the target twice within the first ten minutes with Ernest Wendo trying hard to justify his inclusion in the team in place of Olunga.

owever, it was George Odhiambo, who struck in the opener in the 18th minute, as his shot beat the opponent’s custodian in the near post, after AP had wasted a glorious opportunity to take the lead three minutes earlier. The goal gave the hosts much needed confidence, pinning the inexperienced Police in their own yard, with the latter relying on counter attacks to unlock their opponent’s defense.

With Meddie Kagere, Ali Abondo and Ernest Wendo wasting chances, it was ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo again, who rose to the occasion almost ten minutes to the break, as he cut in from the left, leaving defenders for dead before unleashing an unstoppable shot past the goalkeeper to double the advantage and ensure the first half ended with his team on top.

The second half saw a determined AP side pressing for an equalizer, with the Green Army also creating a number of chances with neither side clinical to finish them off. However, in the 58th minute, Salim Mzee took advantage of Jerim Onyango’s wrong positioning to place the ball well far from his reach to half the scores.

That goal turned out to be a consolation however, as the team failed to beat the league champions defense to get an equalizer, with Kagere adding the team’s third late on in the game to ensure K’ogalo sets a date with Nakumatt in the semi-finals.


Sam Nyamweya threatens Innocent Mutiso

An audio recording between president Sam Nyamweya and former Gor Mahia winger and now KEFWA Chairman Innocent Mutiso is currently doing rounds on social media.

In the recording , FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya is heard threatening to deregister KEFWA because its officials led by chairman Innocent Mutiso are supporting a rival group ahead of December national soccer elections .

In his phone conversation with Mutiso, Nyamweya says ” Mutiso, Mutiso, Mutiso hii siasa ya mpira wachana nayo, I will suspend you na utakwisha milele.You are supposed to be neutral , Who are you endorsing na hata hiyo nini yako we don’t recognize it. Tumeandika barua hiyo organization yako ipotee kabisa.”

Mutiso for his part vowed not to be cowed and even stated that he would organize a demo against FKF on Saturday


Gor Mahia players dominate FOYA nominations

As is the case each year, Gor Mahia has the most nominations in the annual Footballer of the year awards. Gor Mahia has players in each category: Musa Mohammed, Michael Olunga, defenders Karim Nizigiyimana and Harun Shakava, Meddie Kagere, Khalid Aucho, Collins Okoth as well as goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch are all in the run in for top accolades in the preliminary list that has eight players in every category.

The topmost category is the mopst valuable player award that comes with a Ksh 1 million prize. Michael Olunga  and Karim Nizigiyimana have been nominated. They will battle it out with Jesse Were (Tusker), David King’atua (Bandari), Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards) and Gambian striker Ebrimma Sanneh (Nairobi City Stars).

It is refreshing to note  that Nizigiyimana is a defender yet his performance have been noted. Aside from being a solid defender, the Burundian has been a key component of Gor Mahia’s fluid record setting attack. He leads the club in assists and likely leads the league. His inch perfect crosses are reminiscent of the legendary Sammy Onyango “Jogoo”.

Michael Olunga may be second in the KPL scorers chart. But he has scored more goals in all competitions than anyone else. This includes superb performances for the national team (U23 and senior team).

Previous winners of the award were George Odhiambo “Blackberry” in 2010 and Dan Sserunkuma in 2012. Last season, most observers thought Gor Mahia midfielder Geoffrey Kizito deserved the award but he inexplicably lost to Ekaliani Ndolo of Sofapaka.

Coach Frank Nuttall has been nominated for the coach of the year award. This is an award he should win with no difficultly considering that he has taken the club through an entire season without losing. Tactically, Nuttall has been brilliant; Adapting his tactics to the present situation and creating a dynamic offense that scored 60 goals in the league. Zdravko Logarusic was the last Gor Mahia coach to win. That was in 2012.

Full List of Nominees

Goalkeeper of the year: Boniface Oluoch (Gor
Mahia), Jairus Adira (Chemelil Sugar), James
Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Farouk Shikhalo
(Muhoroni Youth), Wilson Obungu (Bandari),
Allan Owiny (Sony Sugar), Gabriel Andika
(Western Stima), David Okello (Sokapaka).

Defender of the year; Musa Mohammed, Harun
Shakava, Karim Nzigiyimana (Gor Mahia), Noah
Abich (Mathare United), Eugene Asike (Tusker
FC), Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards), Collins
Shivachi (Sofapaka), Shariff Mohammed

Midfielder of the year; Khalid Aucho, Collins
Okoth (Gor Mahia), Bernard Mang’oli (AFC
Leopards), Eric Johannah (Mathare United),
Kevin Amwayi (Ulinzi Stars), David King’atua,
Anthony ‘Muki’ Kimani (Bandari), George
Mandela (Muhoroni Youth)

Most Valuable player; Michael Olunga, Meddie
Kagere, Karim Nizigiyimana (Gor Mahia), Jesse
Were (Tusker), Bernard Mang’oli (AFC
Leopards), John Mark Makwatta (Ulinzi Stars),
David King’atua (Bandari), Ebrimmah Sanneh
(City Stars)

Coach of the year; Frank Nuttal (Gor Mahia),
Henry Omino (Western Stima), Paul Nkata
(Muhoroni Youth), Robert Matano (Ulinzi Stars),
Twahir Muhiddin (Bandari), Ken Kenyatta
(Ushuru), Zdravko Logarusic (AFC Leopards),
Stanley Okumbi (Mathare United)


Shambolic Harambee Stars succumb to Cape Verde

On Friday, Harambee stars registered an impressive 1-0 win over Cape Verde. It was impressive because Cape Verde are ranked almost 90 places above Kenya in the FIFA rankings and Harambee stars preparations were mediocre even by our own low standards. However a combination of FKF thievery and Ministry of Sports incompetence conspired to throw away the 1-0 advantage. Firstly the players had gone on strike citing non-payment of allowances. Secondly, the government had offered to book a chartered flight to take the team to Praia Cape Verde. However the players were stranded at Wilson Airport for 10 hours. They eventually left only to arrive mere hours before the match. A fatigued Harambee Stars offered only meek resistance. By the first five minutes, it was obvious that Harambee Stars were not going to have any say in this game.

This is the second time this year that shambolic travel plans have doomed the national team. Similar problems beset the U23 team against Botswana resulting in an 0-3 loss.

Sam Nyamweya was picked up at his Karen residentce by the police for questioning. Reports suggested that Ksh 18 million was availed to him by the Ministry but Nyamweya never saw it fit to use it to facilitate travel.

Nairobi CID boss Ireri Kamwende told goal.com that they had questioned Nyamweya on why the team had delayed to leave Nairobi yet the government had released money to facilitate their departure.

“We wanted to find out who was at fault on that matter. We will summon people from the Sports Ministry to also explain their part in this issue.”

But Nyamweya defended himself saying the money was released too late.
He further blamed the Sports Ministry for the delay in departure pointing out that they took time to release money to enable the federation facilitate their travel. “We only received the money on Monday morning and that is why we were able to pay the players.

“I am dissapointed by the ministry because we have been in communication with them regarding this trip but they never made any plans to ensure the team traveled on time.”.

Gor Mahia players
Among the Gor Mahia players who traveled to Praia are Boniface Oluoch, Collins Okoth, Michael Olunga who played and Ali Abondo who was on the bench. Given the travails they have suffered, coach Frank Nuttall will be wise to rest them on Friday when Gor Mahia take on Administration Police in the quarter final of the GoTV Shield.

Match Report courtesy of futaa.com
Harambee Stars dreams of building on to their 1-0 first leg victory against Cape Verde and advance to the 2018 World Cup group stages were dealt a blow in Tuesday night return leg as Heldon Ramos’ double saw Islanders dispatching Kenya 2-0 to advance by a 2-1 aggregate.
The Blue Sharks made their intentions in the home clash known kicking the tie off to a pacy display from flanks with Odair Fortes smashing an effort across the bar in the first minute of play.
Host hit the ground running
As if keen to capitalize on Stars shambolic preparations for the clash, their dominance intensified with Boniface Oluoch called to action nine minutes later. The keeper was however brilliant pulling out a full stretch save to deny Djaniny from a one on one from inside the box.
Omar Mbongi was to find early proceedings tough after his brilliant debut at home, conceding a 25th minute free kick that the host put into the net. The joy was however short-lived as Ghanaian lines man disallowed the goal with three of their players having encroached from an offside position.
Star concedes from set piece
Stars sole display in the attacking territory came after the hour mark, Johanna Omollo broke free from the left wing before galloping into the enemies box only to over hit his pass past an advancing Stars payers joining the foray.
Stars budge late on
Last ten minutes of initial half had Cape Verde fancying chances from serried of awarded free kicks outside the box to no avail.
Star would however budge late in the half under the myriads of attack. Heldon Ramos’s 42nd minute free kick that took a deflection from the wall before bouncing off keeper Oluoch and past bodies of Stars defenders manning the goal mouth.
Cape verde’s second
Skipper Marco Soares plundering powering run from the right flank and cut back to Heldon, saw Cape Verde doubling their lead early in the second half.
Bobby responded to the goal with set of offensive changes, Jacob Keli and Jesse Were entering the fray place of Kevin Kimani and Cliffton Miheso.
Bwamy in for debut
It was Christian Bwamy’s introduction mid into the second half for his debut that seemed to remotely ignite Stars offensive spark. The Norwegian based attacker seeing his strike from edge of the 18 yard box veering just narrowly wide before forcing custodian in to a decent save five minutes later.
Looking to consolidate their advantage Rui Aguas opted to for a defensive change late in the game a bringing on Rocha for Fortes as the hosts resorted to maintaining possession to run the clock down as they successfully held out to turn the table on visiting Stars.


Gor Mahia resume quadruple chase on Friday

Having won the 2015 Supercup, the 2015 Sportpesa Premier League and the KPL Top 8, Gor Mahia will resume the chase for a perfect domestic season when they take on Administration Police on Friday November 20. The unfancied APs reached the quarter-finals after eliminating Sofapaka whose 2015 season has turned into a nightmare after they started really well and at one point looked like the team that could challenge Gor Mahia. AP won 5-3 on penalties.

The winner of the Gor Mahia AP quarter-final will play Nakumatt who also eliminated SoNy Sugar on penalties. Gor Mahia cannot under-rate the APs considering that they beat Sofapaka. But with coach Frank Nuttall, Kogalo are likely to maintain the focus. The players understand that this is a once in a lifetime chance.

“We want to win everything this year because we are capable of. You never know when we will ever have such an opportunity again and so we want to make use of it as we have it this season,” said Ronald Ngala to goal.com

Michael Olunga who is having a sensational season is the man Gor Mahia will once again count on for goals.

“It has been a good season to me. We won the league unbeaten, had a fine run at the Cecafa Kagame Cup and have already bagged the Top 8 title and looking forward to wrap it up with the GOtv Shield,” said Olunga.

Olunga will be in Praia Cape Verde as he leads the Harambee Stars attack against Cape Verde on Tuesday as he continues what has been a superb season at club and national level.

“I have made a massive strides this year. Apart from scoring goals locally, I have played at a bigger stage which has boosted my confidence and taken my career to another level. I just hope that this continues even in the upcoming season,” he added.

Also in action has this week was the duo of Khalid Aucho and Godfrey Walusimbi who had excellent games as the Uganda Cranes dispatched Togo in Kampala by a score of 3-0.

Luckily for Gor Mahia, there is enough time to recover before the match on Friday.