Two goals from Michael Olunga and two assists from Godfrey Walusimbi sink Tusker in the KPL Top 8 semis
Gor mahia striker Michael Olunga is proving to be a true revelation during the 2015 season. Yet again he literally rose to the occasion to head home the all important goal that enabled a poorly prepared harambee Stars side to register a 1-0 win over highly ranked Cape Verde in the 2018 World cup qualifiers.
It is a surprise win over a team that came into the game ranked number 32 in the FIFA rankings against Kenya at 125. It is also a surprise considering that Kenya had preparations that were shoddy even by Kenyan standards. Many players arrived 2 days before the match. There were no friendly matches. And key players like Arnold Origi and Ayub Masika were missing altogether.
Olunga’s fine form for the national team marks the first time since the 1990s that the main goal-scorer for Harambee stars is a Gor Mahia player. One would have to go back to the 1990s era of players like Steve Okumu and Steve Odiaga and Peter Dawo. But even they were not counted on in every game. Olunga is proving to be the much sought after replacement for Dennis Oliech. Put a good team around him and with proper preparations he can steer Kenya to the next Africa Nations cup./
Additional reporting via goal.com
Kenya dictated the game in both halves and should blames themselves for not registering a convincing victory ahead of the return leg set for Tuesday.
Olunga was quick off the mark and should have scored early on had Kay Carlos not stopped him. The assistant referee was unfair in denying Kenya an early corner. Then Cape Verde danger man Jorge Djanimy had a shot at the Kenyan goal. Djanimy has scored six goals for Cape Verde this season and he was always going to give the Kenyan backline trouble.
But in the 9th minute, it was Kenya, who went ahead first with Olunga heading home a well delivered cross from Clifftone Miheso. It was the third goal for the Gor Mahia forward and the ball found him perfectly placed to score. The goal looked to have rattled the visitors, who resorted to putting long balls behind the Kenyan backline but this was dealt with well by Haroun Shakava and David Owino.
The move did not work and it was the home side, who got the first corner in the 21st minute with a second coming after ten minutes as Harambee Stars looked to dominate the game. Kenyan captain Victor Wanyama was cautioned though it looked like Anthony Akumu, who should have been punished as he was the one, who had brought down Marco Suarez.
he visitors then resorted to pushing back the Kenyan backline but they went too far inside and were always caught in an off- side position. Mendes always caught in an offside position and Stars’ were glad to go to the break with a slim lead.
On resumption Kenya rested Clifftone Miheso for Kevin Amwayi and continued to control the proceedings. At the hour mark, Victor Wanyama nearly scored second goal but his well taken forced a finger tip save from Josima Dias in the Cape Verde goal.
Kenya were in trouble six minutes after that when Jorge Djanimy was denied by the wood work after beating Boniface Oluoch in goal with a long effort. That move once again exposed the frailty of the Kenyan backline. Kenya dominated the last few minutes of the game with Cape Verde looking to have been affected by the local weather and will have to wait for the second leg to overturn the result.
Harambee Stars face a tall order when they take on Cape Verde on Friday. Firstly they will be playing against a side that is ranked number 32 in the FIFA rankings which is fourth in Africa. It is a starke contrast to Kenya who are ranked number 125 in the FIFA rankings. They are coached by Rui Aguas, a vastly experienced coach who also was the top scorer in the European champions cup in 1988. The Cape Verde team is composed entirely of Europe based players.
harambee stars preparations are usually bad but this time they have been especially bad. Both FKF and the Ministry of sports declined to provide any support for the national team with each party pointing fingers at the other. At one point the team did not even have a field to train in. The lack of support lowered the morale of the players many of whom showed up late. The players have expressed dissapointment that despite pleading for proper preparations and friendlies, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“As usual the preparations have not been that good. It’s just up to the players to motivate themselves because we know the problems we are going through. We will give our best. Preparations are not always perfect but we are trying hard to work with what we have. Let fans come in large numbers and support us,” said Wanyama.
Nevertheless former Gor Mahia coach Bobby Williamson who now handles Harambee Stars was upbeat.
“I am happy with our training though the players keep arriving every day making it difficult to adjust. Preparations must be elaborate especially considering our opponents have pedigree and they are highly ranked in Africa and the World however I have told my players to use the home advantage though it is a pressure cooker situation they must remember they beat Mauritius scoring five goals away.”
“We are still waiting to see if our players such as Mandela,Origi, Keli will arrive in time for the game but the delay kind of worries me as most of them are part of our plans for the game. We will also dearly miss the services of Ayub Timbe who has been ruled out with injury. As a coach I am optimistic of good results and it is an opportunity to give our best in the prevailing circumstances while hoping for the best,” Williamson told supersport.com.
Foreign based players that have arrived in camp include are skipper Victor Wanyama of Southampton, Johana Omollo of Royal Antwerp, Allan Wanga of Azam Christian Bwamy of Follo in Norway and the former Gor Mahia duo of David Owino now at Zesco, and Teddy Akumu now at Al Khartoum.
Among the players who are likely to feature are Gor Mahia goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch who is sure to start between the posts given the absence of Kenya one Arnold Origi. Oluoch had a shakey performance against Congo in Brazzaville but his performance between the posts has shown steady improvement.
Spearheading the Kenya attack will be Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga. His performances for the national team has been stellar. He was on target when Kenya played Zambia at Nyayo during which he was one of the few bright spots on the team.
Against Zambia, the national team was plagued by indiscipline before the match, culminating in the suspension of players like Danson Kago and Jesse Were, both of Tusker. At the time FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya vowed to met out lengthy suspensions. But coach Williamson has now recalled the duo.
The last time these two sides met was in 2003, Kenya won both home and away legs 1-0 and went on to qualify for the 2004 Africa Nations cup. On that occasion, Dennis Oliech scored the crucial goal at in the last match at Kasarani and was carried shoulder high by jubilant fans. This time things will likely be different.
Kickoff is on Friday November-13-2015 at 4pm. The venue is Nyayo national stadium.
Gor Mahia organizing secretary Ronald Ngala has expressed dissapointment that the Kenya Premier League has not increaed the prize money for the KPL Top 8. Since 2011 the winners have received Ksh 1 million.
“Playing the tournament is now becoming a burden to us because we have to spend money preparing the team. Granted, KPL subsidises some of our costs, but it still does not make economic sense,” he said. ”It is disappointing the money has remained constant for all those years. There ought to be an annual increase of about Sh1 million. That would have made sense.” said Ngala to the Standard.
Ngala said by taking part in the tournament, his club actually helps KPL to make money, since the league company retains the gate collections.“What will happen when we don’t take part or when we are eliminated in the first round?” continued Ngala.
But KPL’s Chairman of Finance Committee George Odhiambo defended the company, saying they can only pay what they have. “It is unfair to compare ourselves with the PSL without looking at what they get in terms of sponsorship and what we have. The fact is we can’t pay what we don’t have, but we need to start from somewhere,” he said.
For winning the Kenya Premier League, Gor Mahia will receive Ksh 4.5 million. Should they win the GoTV shield, they would collect another Ksh 2.5 million, bringing the total to Ksh 7.5 million.
The winner of the Tanzanian league receives the equivalent of Ksh 3.81 million. But the winner of the South African League receives a whopping Ksh 80 million !
In August of this season, the KPL signed a new sponsorship deal with Sportpesa that is worth Ksh 80 million per year.
Nuttall keen on retaining Walusimbi
>Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall wants to see Ugandan international Godfrey Walusimbi retained by the club. Walusimbi’s contract ends at the end of this year. The club has not initiated any talks to renew his contract. Some reports on social media suggested that Walusimbi put some of his household items on sale.
“Personally I want Walusimbi here at the club. I am very happy with him. He is a top player and one that has contributed immensely to the success of the club, during my time here and I am very happy to have him. I know that there is a contract situation that needs to be solved but all I can say is that I am happy with him and would like him to stay. The club will look at his situation and I believe something will be agreed between the two sides,” said Nuttall to supersport.
Walusimbi’s all round brilliant play has been instrumental in the club’s successful league campaigns. He has scored goals and provided timely assists. Most notable were the two goals he scored that sunk Bandari 2-0 in Mombasa. His understanding of the game and tactical astuteness makes him a valuable player for Frank Nuttall.
If there is one adjective that can describe Gor Mahia’s performance over the first two months it is Resilient. If you are looking for another one then perhaps focused is the best fit.
Resilient because every team that plays against Gor Mahia brings forth their best effort because every team wants to be known as the team that ended Gor Mahia’s unbeaten run. Thus every team is playing their heart out and using every trick in the book. Some like Tusker and Ulinzi have resorted to rough play in a bid to disrupt Gor Mahia’s rhythm but it has been too no avail. Some have resorted to gamesmanship by accusing match officials of helping Gor Mahia. None of it has taken Gor Mahia off their rhythm.
Note also that Gor Mahia have played far more matches than any other team in Kenya today. Not only are they still playing inthe GoTv shield, but they were also in the final of the KPL Top 8. They played in the CECAFA club cup, the Africa champions league, the Supercup as well as the KPLC Charity cup earlier in the year.
Gor Mahia players are also actively involved in various national teams. Michael Olunga, Boniface Oluoch, Harun Shakava, Musa Mohamed, Karim Nizigiyimana, Abouba Sibomana, Khalid Aucho, Geoffrey Walusimbi and also Dirkir Glay are all constantly in international action. Olunga for his part has played for both the senior national team and the U23 team. This fatigue has on occassion appeared to take its toll on Gor Mahia players but they have found ways to overcome it.
And finally Gor Mahia players and officials have had to play all year through erratic pay schedules. Salaries have not always been paid on time for players. And for some officials, months have gone without seeing any pay. But yet again the technical bench and team have risen above it.
This resiliency was on display this past weekend when Gor Mahia played against a tough and determined SoNy Sugar side that had recently dispatched Sofapaka 3-1. Against Gor Mahia they took an early lead and held onto it as if they were holding onto dear life. With twelve minutes left, many Gor Mahia fans had given up. Some were writing posts on social media suggesting that if Gor Mahia’s unbeaten record were to end then it is acceptable that it end against SoNy Sugar.
But Gor Mahia players had other ideas and never gave up. A double sunk SoNy Sugar leaving them with no alternative but to usethe Standard excuse that referees were to blame.
“As a team we were not happy with decisions which were made on the material day, it was like we were not supposed to win, but them. That the final was already won before being played and that was not good at all. Kagere scored from an offside position, and the goal was allowed, and that penalty, our player was down, and in other occasion we have seen referees waving play on, but it was a different case here.” said Andrew Sekayombya of SoNy to goal.com.
Never mind the fact that Gor Mahia outplayed Sony for most of the match.
Gor Mahia wrapped up the league title almost two months ago on September 16 when they beat SoNy Sugar 1-0. One would have thought that after having won the league, Gor Mahia players would rest on their laurels and take their foot off the accelerator pedal. Instead Gor Mahia have gone on yet another winning spree. In the league, they dispatched Sofapaka and Muhoroni 2-0, while Western Stima and Tusker were beaten 1-0. And Gor Mahia went on to beat Tusker yet again in the KPL Top 8, marking the 3rd time Gor Mahia has beaten Tusker this season.
While Gor Mahia has continued to win, every other team in Kenya has lost at least one game since September 16. Second placed Ulinzi succumbed to a loss to Bandari last week in the GoTv shield. And on October 18 they were drubbed 2-0 by Thika United. Meanwhile Sofapaka, Ingwe and Tusker have lost more times in the last two months than this author can count. All the while, Gor Mahia are still going strong.
Unlike past seasons, Gor Mahia are not overly dependent on one player. This has been a key factor in maintaining the unbeaten run. When Olunga is having an off game, Kagere will step forward and score crucial goals. When neither of them can find the net, Ali Abondo will rise to the occasion.
The supply of passes also shows similar variety. Attacks are built either from the flanks or through the middle and players like Wafula, Nizigiyimana, Sibomana and Walusimbi are all capable of providing decisive assists. Opposing teams are stretched to the limit because they cannot focus on any particular player.
This is unlike past seasons when the Gor Mahia offence was known as “Patia Sserunkuma”. Coach Frank Nuttall has rejuvenated the attack and provided much needed variety.
Players like Blackberry, Agwanda, Jerim Onyango etc who are used to being in the starting line-up have shown patience and when called upon have delivered results. Even Ali Abondo went through a stretch on the bench. But he came back rejuvenated and is now scoring regularly again.
GoTV Shield next
Coach Nuttall and other technical bench members including Bobby Legend, Mathew Ottamax and Frank Ouna deserve praise for keeping the players focused. Ouna has vowed that Gor Mahia will keep their eyes on their next target which is the GoTV shield.
“We thank God for our win on Saturday against Sony, it was a difficult match but we managed to win and in the process bag our second trophy. Thanks to the fans, they cheered us through the entire match and we are very happy with the outcome. It has been a good season to everyone associated with this big club.
“The GOtv Shield is up next, and we do not want to lose it, we want also to give the same commitment like the other competitions we have won. So we will give our best and try to take it home too. We know it will be difficult but we have what it takes to secure it.” said Ouna go goal.com
With the resiliency, patience and focus that Gor Mahia has shown, there is no reason to doubt that they will secure their fourth title of the season. They will take on Administration Police in the quarter-finals. Dates and venue have yet to be finalized.
Gor Mahia continued with their Grand March to a historic season when they beat SoNy Sugar 2-1 in a hard fought encounter to win their third trophy of the season. It was not easy for Gor Mahia. SoNy who had beaten Sofapaka 3-1 put on a battle. And with Gor Mahia players showing signs of fatigue, SoNy Sugar led for most of the match after having taken the lead in the 9th minute via Andrew Sekayombya whose overhead scissors kick put his side in the lead. The hero of the day was Rwandese striker Meddie Kagere who equalized and sent the game to extra time ebfore he later slotted the winner in the 114th minute from the penalty spot following a handball from Eugene Ochieng.
After having scored early, SoNy kept Gor Mahia at bay. Particularly outstanding was goalkeeper Allan Owiny who one could make an argument for man of the match. He pulled off point blank save after point blank save to frustrate Gor Mahia attackers. Michael Olunga missed numerous chances and is likely showing signs of fatigue. In the 35th minute he received a pass from Kagere but with the goalmouth begging, he could not connect. In the 39th minute he sent the ball overboard from close range. Kagere too was guilty of missing chances in the first half.
In the second half Gor Mahia, coach Nuttall replaced Collins Okoth with Enock Agwanda. Gor Mahia continued to press and maintain the Lions share of possession. In the 57th minute, Agwanda’s throw in found Olunga whose header was saved by Allan Owiny. Gor Mahia pressed and finnaly found an equalizer in the 78th minute when Ali Abondo’s freekick found Meddie Kagere who headed home.
At 90 minutes the score was 1-1 and the game went into extra time. George Odhiambo came in for Innocent Wafula as coach Nuttall continued to bring on attackers. The first half of extra time ended without incident. The all important goal came in the 114th minute when Kagere placed a well taken penalty passed Owiny in the SoNy goal.
KPL Top 8 record
Gor Mahia last won the KPL Top 8 in 2012. On that occassion they had beaten Tusker 4-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals with goals coming from Moses Odhiambo, Edwin Lavatsa, Rama Salim and Ivan Anguyo. In the final they beat Ulinzi 2-0 with two extra time goals from Rama Salim and Itubu Imbem. The KPL Top 8 was inaugurated in 2011. Both Gor Mahia and Tusker have now won the cup twice.
Just as important, Gor Mahia have maintained their 2015 unbeaten record in 2015. And yet again they did it against a determined SoNy side.
Having beaten Tusker in a stormy semi final, Gor Mahia will take on SoNy Sugar in the final of the 2015 KPL Top 8 on Saturday. Gor Mahia won 4-3 aggregate over their intense rivals. The first leg ended 2-2 while Gor Mahia won the second leg 2-1. It marked the 3rd time that Gor Mahia has beaten Tusker this season.
But SoNy will be no pushovers. They beat Tusker 3-1 for a 5-3 aggregate win. That is an impressive feat for a side that was battling relegation early in the season. SoNy battled Gor Mahia gamely when the two sides met at Nyayo stadium in September. Only an Innocent Wafula goal separated the two sides.
The match will be played in Kisumu where Gor Mahia receives fanatical support. And SoNy Sugar are braced for what is likely to be an intense atmosphere.
“We have worked so hard to get to the final. Against Gor Mahia, there is a lot of intimidation from the fans and very little margin of error,” Sony’s Justin Monda to the Nation.
SoNy will have to deal with the in form Gor Mahia attack led by Michael Olunga and Meddie Kagere. Though Olunga missed out on the KPL top scorer award, he will likely win the title of domestic leading scorer in all competitions. His second goal against SoNy is typical of what makes Olunga a great striker, his ability to be in the right place at the right time. Against Tusker, he intercepted a backpass from a Tusker defender.
“It is all about anticipation because I scored a similar goal here against Ushuru. As a striker you have to read the intentions of a defender and when I realized he (Musana) was undecided I knew he would give a back pass, that is why I ran towards the keeper” said Olunga to futaa.com
Could Cheche join Gor Mahia?
Former Tusker defender David Ochieng Cheche could join Gor Mahia in the coming season. The dependable central defender was seen among Kogalo players during the trophy ceremony on Sunday. He has also been seen in Gor Mahia attire lately. Cheche’s contract with Al Tawoon ended months ago and he has been without a club since then.
Also at the trophy ceremony last weekend was Liberian stopper Dirkir Glay whose contract with South African side Mpumalanga Black Aces was terminated less than a month after he signed for them.
A double from Michael Olunga is what Gor Mahia needed to dismiss Tusker FC from the KPL Top 8, advance to the final and keep their hopes of a quadruple title run alive. Gor Mahia won 2-1 thus eliminating Tusker 4-3 on aggregate.
Report courtesy of goal.com
K’Ogalo, who are chasing for a treble after being crowned league champions on Sunday, needed a comeback double to book a final date with Sony
Gor Mahia will now face Sony Sugar in the final of Kenyan Premier League Top 8 after they bundled out defending champions Tusker on Wednesday night.
K’Ogalo, who are chasing for a treble this season after being crowned league champions on Sunday, needed a comeback double from towering striker Michael Olunga to silence the brewers’, who had taken an early lead through Kevin Kimani.
Sony Sugar had earlier qualified for their first ever final of the knock out competition after eliminating Sofapaka on 5-3 aggregate at the same venue. Tusker under coach Leonard Odipo, were clearly the more determined side coming into the match and did everything to get an early goal.
A ninth minute goal by Kevin Kimani was proof of their determination. But Tusker always looked into trouble when Clifford Alwanga was cautioned in the 25th minute and was eventually sent off in the 38th minute by center referee Amos Ichungwa.
This was always going to work against Tusker in the second half as Gor Mahia started strongly and put their opponents under intense pressure as they searched for the equalizer. An in swinger from Ali Abondo in the 47th minute was kept out well by Martin Musalia in Tusker’s goal. But Gor Mahia’s pressure was always going to work and it did eight minutes after resumption.
Karim Nizigiyimana, who has been impressive with his assists, picked out Godfrey Walusimbi with a laid cross which the Ugandan headed into the path of Michael Olunga. Olunga with a predator’s instinct turned and beat Martin Musalia with a low shot to equalize.
Tusker stand in coach Leonard Odipo was forced to pull out Lloyd Wahome after the defender got injured and his place was taken by Ugandan Ronald Musana. The change created some problems for the Tusker coach, who had to juggle around his men at the back and was forced to assign Fredrick Onyango a new role as a stopper.
Jesse Were the league’s top scorer had his effort go just wide but it was the brewers who were still under a lot of pressure as they struggled to hold the ball for long periods of time. Tough tackling Collin ‘Gattuso’ Okoth was cautioned as Gor Mahia were forced to make mistakes in their own half.
Tusker were right to complain about a free-kick awarded to Gor Mahia in the 70th minute as James Situma was judged to have brought down Michael Olunga though the Tusker defender looked to have got the ball. A defensive blunder by Tusker allowed Olunga to score his second goal and with it helped his side to make it to the final
On Tuesday, Gor Mahia met with CORD leader Raila Odinga who presented the players with Ksh 500,000. He then challenged the team to perform better in continental events.
“My only request is to ask this team to perform well in Africa. I know they have the potential and with support from fans and management they can conquer Africa. That should be the team’s motto going into next season. I will also urge the team’s top brass to make sure that they maintain their best players for next season. This will give the team continuity that is very vital. Also let’s have coach Frank Nutall’s stay at the club extended.” said Raila.
Having just finished celebrating their third successive league title, Gor Mahia players will need to get out of celebration mode in order to focus on the next task ahead which is the KPL Top 8 return leg against Tusker. The first leg ended 2-2 which means a draw of 1-1 or 0-0 will see Gor Mahia through to the next round and avenge last season’s loss to Tusker at the same stage. Coach Frank Nuttall has vowed that the team will not rest on its laurels.
“Tusker is a big team and we must give them all due respect. I have instructed the players not to be carried away by the league win but keep the candle aglow,” said Nuttall to supersport.
George Odhiambo Blackberry who is experiencing a resurgence in the last few games echoed hos coache’s sentiments and vowed that the playing unit would remain focused.
“We are happy with the KPL win and as you saw, we celebrated as much as we could. The team has been magnificent and we have deserved to be where we are and we thank God for everything. On the other hand, we have two other trophies to work on and we hope to win them make history.” said Blackberry to supersport.
Aside from staying unbeaten in the league which they have accomplished, Gor Mahia are also aiming to stay unbeaten in all competitions. Tusker would like nothing better than to be the team that ends Gor Mahia’s glorious run. But full back Karim Nizigiyimana has warned that it will not beat easy.
“I’m very happy that we have won the league unbeaten but tomorrow (Wednesday) we will play to win,” Nizigiyimana said. “Were is a great player, very fantastic, but I don’t think he will punish us.” said the Burundian to the Nation.