Rachier discusses travel plans and return

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier discusses the club’s plans for travel to Nigeria for the return leg against Lobi stars

Story courtesy of citizen sports

Uncertainty surrounds Gor Mahia’s departure to Nigeria for the Caf- Champions League first round return leg clash against Nigerian football giants Lobi Stars scheduled for Saturday.

Club chairman Ambrose Rachier says there is scarcity of space on planes plying the West Africa route hence have not been able to secure enough seats for the whole contingent of 26 players and officials.

Should the situation persist, Rachier noted the team may be forced to travel in two batches with some team members flying a Kenya Airways while others may use RwandAir.

“We only have three options; Kenya Airways, Rwanda Air and Ethiopian Airline. But none of them has enough seats for all of us,’’ Rachier told Citizen Digital.

Having won the first leg 3-1 at Kasarani last Sunday, the Kenyan football giants will require a draw of any kind to progress or at worst limit the defeat to 1-0 to progress to the money spinning group stages where a cool Ksh. 56 million lie in wait .

For Enugu, the odds are higher and they must beat the Kenyan representatives by two goals to advance on away goal rule.

Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in Enugu where the return leg will be played

Rachier was however quick to caution players against taking the return leg for granted urging them to give it their all, as in football, the final whistle is the determinant.

“We have not progressed yet and we must give it our all. Anything can happen in a game of football and we have told our boys to treat this game with all the seriousness it deserves if they want to progress,’’added Rachier.

Last season, Gor Mahia lost 1-0 on aggregate to the eventual winners Esperance of Tunisia, having settled for a barren draw at home and ended up conceding a solitary goal in Tunisia in a match played under harsh climate.

In an earlier interview, Gor Mahia captain Harun Shakava hinted that they have prepared well and will not disappoint their fans, adding that the goal is to make it to the group stages.

The inclusion of Francis Kahata in the squad a strong indication his much talked about transfer to Algerian top-tier club Constantine may not materialize after all.

Notably absent from the team to Enugu is midfielder Ernest Wendo after getting two bookings in the tournament, while Ivorian Ephrem Guikan will not make the trip as he is not registered for the tourney.

The man to watch in the return leg will be Samwel Onyango. The marauding winger bagged a brace in the first leg match at Kasarani last weekend

Report: Gor Mahia on the verge of signing Oliech

Oliech in action against Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo

Gor Mahia are still looking to strengthen their side further. To that end they appear keen on securing the services of Dennis Oliech who is making a comeback after a two year layoff.

Goal reported that the Kenyan champions were leading the race to sign the speedy striker before the transfer window shuts Gor Mahia has admitted that they are in talks to sign striker Dennis Oliech .


Additonal reporting from goal.com Goal reported on Monday that the Kenyan champions were leading the race to sign the former Harambee Stars striker before the transfer window shuts down in January. And a top K’Ogalo official, who did not want to be named, has now confirmed that indeed, they are negotiating to sign the player.


“Where there is smoke, there is always fire. I don’t want to talk much in regards to Oliech but I know there is something going on but not for publishing yet. He has shown keen interest to play for us and we are keen to listen to him.”

On Monday, a close source to the player told Goal.com that the striker could be a Gor Mahia player by the end of this week. “It is true. I spoke to the player today (Monday) and he was heading to Gor Mahia offices to discuss on the contract and could possibly be unveiled before the end of the week.

“Gor Mahia is very keen to sign the player because they are involved in a number of competitions this season and want a strong squad.”

Video Highlights: Gor Mahia vs Lobi Stars

The two coaches had contrasting reactions to the match.

Coach Hassan Oktay: Its a good result but we had more chances to make the score 4-1 or 5-1 easily.

Coach Solomon Ogebede: It was not a good result. But I still have some of my good players who will be available

Samuel Onyango, the two goal hero, spoke to the media after the match. He noted that the win was a confidence booster but the club still has an uphill battle during the return leg in Enugu.

On why the team did not score more in the second half, Onyango noted that they wanted to score more goals. But the second half was not easy as Lobi Stars proved a tough nut to crack in the second half.

On why the team started the season poorly with sub par performances against Bandari, Kariobangi and Nyasa Bullets, Onyango noted that the team has worked hard since then, the new players have gained an understanding with the rest of the team and the team is adapting to the new coach’s tactical approach.

On his expectations for the return leg, Onyango said the team has high hopes for emerging triumphant and he called on the fans to continue supprting the team.

Gor Mahia should expect to be mistreated in Nigeria

The return leg of the Africa Champions League first round match against Lobi Stars is set for next weekend. Going by the recent experience of Kenyan teams that visited Lagos, Gor Mahia had better liase with the Kenyan embassy and start creating their own plans for accommodation and travel.

When Harambee visited Nigeria in 2013, they were subjected to shoddy treatment by their hosts. Among other things:

  • Players were given chilly food with so much pepper. They declined to eat
  • The team was promised a connecting flight to Calabar, the venue of the match upon arrival in Lagos but this was not to as the chartered plane they were to use is said to have left before their arrival.
  • The Kenya team arrived in Lagos at midday only to be met by a bus driver who did not have any instructions on where to take them. It is only after the driver communicated with NFF officials in Abuja that the players and officials were booked in a ‘sub-standard’ hotel in downtown Lagos next to a nightclub.
  • A training venue was not provided to Harambee Stars.
  • The person who had been assigned to receive the team switched off his phone at 4pm when the team was expecting to be taken to the training venue.
  • With no suitable venue available., Harambee Stars had to conduct their training inside a primary school in Lagos. 

A similar scenario played out at the 2018 African athletics championships that were held in Nigeria. Hundreds of athletes from several countries were stranded and spent several nights sleeping at the airport without proper food. .

While these athletes were sleeping at the airport, their Nigerian hosts, athletes and officials were situated at a luxury hotel and had no such problems.

Gor Mahia should expect similar treatment. It is therefore incumbent on the club to be proactive and start creating their own travel and accomodation plans. Note that the return leg will be played in Enugu which is 500 km from Lagos but could be 800 km if there are connecting flights. This could be a logistical nightmare if not well planned.

In 1988, Gor Mahia visited Congo-Brazzaville to play Inter Club. They were subjected to shoddy treatment and even denied a suitable training ground. They ended up losing 4-1. And in all these cases, filing a complaint or an appeal to CAF or FIFA will fall on deaf ears.

Gor Mahia beat Lobi Stars 3-1

Samuel Onyango is mobbed by team-mates after scoring

Gor Mahia’s chances of qualifying for the champions league group stage look excellent. This after they beat Lobi Stars of Nigeria 3-1 at Kasarani. Jacque Tuyisenge scored the opener. Samuel Onyango scored the second goal. The Nigerians then pulled one back before Samuel Onyango added a third. All goals came in the first half.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia took a giant step at qualifying for the lucrative Caf Champions League group stage after a 3-1 win over Nigeria’s Lobi Stars in their first round first leg match at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.

Kenyan international winger Samuel Onyango struck within 12 minutes to add onto Jacques Tuyisenge’s sixth-minute opener. Mathias Samuel had pulled one back for the visitors in the half-hour mark.

Tuyisenge, who started up front for the on-form Ivorian striker Ephrem Guikan, the latter ineligible for this round, was audaciously put through on goal by Francis Kahata to fire home with a ferocious right volley past goalkeeper Ospina Egbe sending the close to 5,000 Gor faithful in the stands into a frenzy.

Onyango doubled the lead on 21 minutes with an outrageous bicycle kick from inside the six-yard box.

Francis Mustafa had failed to connect with Tuyisenge’s clipped cross from the right flank and with Lobi defenders unable to clear their lines, Onyango capitalised on the scuffle for his first goal in this campaign.

Samuel reduced the deficit at the half hour mark with a glancing header from a Kwambe Solomon corner kick that hit the upright of the left post, before sailing into the back of the net with Gor goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch stranded.

Lobi had been forced to their first change two minutes before by pulling out injured defender Umar Zango for Austine Ogunye.

On 33 minutes, Onyango completed his brace in an outstanding fashion thanks to a porous Lobi defence.

The former Ulinzi Stars man dispossessed left-back Duru Chidiebube, darted down the right flank before rounding the onrushing Lobi custodian Ospina Egbe and weaved through defenders Umar Zango and Emmanuel Agbaji, who had recovered in time to stop him, before smashing in an empty net to end an action packed first half.

The second half was a tale of missed opportunities for the hosts. Tuyisenge thought he had claimed a brace on 66 minutes after lobbing the ball over Egbe, but his follow up effort missed the target with the Rwandan striker collapsing to the ground in shock – as was his coach Hassan Oktay.

A minute later, Mustafa forced Egbe into a fingertip save with a shot inside the area, before Oktay withdrew Onyango for George “Blackberry” Odhiambo.

Gor made two changes from the team that brushed aside Zoo Kericho 4-0 in a league match here on Wednesday.

Tuyisenge rested Guikan as Joash replaced Paschal Ogweno at the back.

Boniface Oluoch easily collected Kadri Timileyin’s shot to force the first save of the match three minutes into time.

Gor Mahia vs Lobi Stars preview

Will Gor Mahia celebrate again?

Gor Mahia will take on Nigerian champions Lobi Stars at Kasarani today, in a Africa champions League first round match. At stake is a place in the group stage.

The boys have an opportunity to make history. No Kenyan side has ever eliminated a Nigerian side in a continental tourney. And no Kenyan side has ever made to the group stage of the Africa champions league.

It will not be easy against Lobi Stars who are based in Makurdi, Benue state. They currently sit atop the league with 43 points, two ahead of their closest competitors Akwa United.  And since the league was suspended due to problems with FIFA, Lobi Stars were declared the representatives in this year’s champions league despite the fact that there were still 14 matches to play.

Nigerian teams typically make it to the group stage of this competition. Nothing less than that is expected from Lobi stars. They proved their mettle when they eliminated UMS de Loum of Cameroun by a score of 2-1 aggregate. Prior to that they had beaten Enugu Rangers 1-0 to lift the Nigerian Super cup.

Lobi stars are motivated to show Nigerians that they are worthy of playing in this event. Many Nigerians are unhappy  that Lobi stars were given the ticket to play in the champions league under controversial circumstances. They also want to redeem Nigerian football after the country lost a slot in the Champions league due to their recent under-performance.

Lobi stars was formed in 1981. They are sponsored by the state of Benue. They have only won the Nigerian league twice (1999 and 2018). The last time they participated in the Champions League was in 2000, and they reached the group stage. 

As such, Gor Mahia are far more experienced in this event. And their coach Solomon Ogbeide is well aware of Gor Mahia.

“Of course we know that Gor Mahia are a very big club from Kenya but the business…is the match on the field of play and Lobi Stars are also a big team,” he told the official Caf website.

Ogbede went on to insist that he is confident that his side is equipped to beat the Kenyan champions.

“We are not worried because we have all it takes to do well on the continent. We have the personnel in terms of players, sound administrators and we have the support of government and people of Benue State; but above all, we have God which is our major weapon.” he said

Like Nyasa Big Bullets, Lobi also is comprised of local players. They don’t have any foreigners. After winning the league, they strengthened their side by signing key performers from other Nigerian teams: Kelly Kester, Samuel Mathias, Nojeem Olukokun and Sikiru Alimi .

Alimi who joined from Warri Wolves, is one of their key performers and will be looked upon for goals. He scored one of the goals against UMS de Loum.

The other dangerous player to watch is striker Samad Kadiri. He scored the winner when Lobi lifted the Super cup three weeks ago.

Nigeria does not have any high altitude venues. To deal with the high altitude of Nairobi, they decided to arrive as late as possible.

“We have heard a lot about Kenya and we are making effort to ensure that we are not affected by the high altitude there. We know that the game will come up in Nairobi and that it will hold at the Moi International Stadium in Kasarani which is a grass pitch,” said their Chairman Mike Idoko.

Gor Mahia for their part will be hoping to build on their overhwelming victory over Zoo Kericho a week ago.  It has not been a happy few weeks for Gor Mahia having lost to Bandari in the league opener and lost to Kariobangi Sharks in the Super cup.

But the arrival of Hassan Oktay as the new coach has rejuvenated the players who are eager to impress.

Skipper Haron Shakava who scored one of the penalties that propelled Gor Mahia to this round is certain that Kogalo will put in a good show.

“We are ready for the game,” he said adding, “we want to win at home with a big margin so that we head to Nigeria with a good result in order to qualify for the group stage. This is our main focus to up our achievement from last season where we reached the Confederation Cup last 16.” said Shakava to the Nation

There is plenty of video of Lobi Stars available online so one hopes that coach Oktay has done his homework.

The return of Jacque Tuyisenge if fully fit would be a huge boost to Kogalo whose strike force has been blunt. Much will be expected from new signing Butambuze who has been possibly the best player on the side this season.

In midfield, Francis Kahata will likely be unavailable. Kenneth Muguna is injured. The burden of creating chances will fall on Samuel Onyango, Humprey Mieno and George Odhiambo. Ernest Wendo will anchor the midfield.

The match will be officiated by centre referee Slim Belkhouas from Tunisia Slim assisted by compatriots Khalil Hassani and Jridi Faouzi as first and second assistant referees respectively. Nasrallah Jaouadi will be the fourth official.

Gor Mahia players on strike

Yet again Kogalo players are on strike due to unpaid salaries.

Additional reporting from goal.com

With just two days before they take on Nigerian champions Lobi Stars, K’Ogalo have threatened to down tools over salaryGor Mahia players have now vowed to skip their Caf Champions League match against Lobi Stars of Nigeria on Sunday.

The players, who have always staged such go slows ahead of Kenyan Premier League matches, have now promised to stage a huge strike that will awake the office. “We might skip the match and give them a walkover. This is becoming too much. Can you imagine staying without salary and they want you to perform on the pitch?” a top player, who sought anonymity told Goal.com

Goal also understands that the players were summoned to meet club chairman Ambrose Rachier after their training session on Thursday at the Camp Toyoyo Stadium but nothing tangible came out of the meeting.When reached for comment, Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda admitted that the club was yet to pay the players and that the issue was being sorted out. We are aware of that and it is not a story to write about.

.”We want positive coverage now that we are having a huge match coming up and those players must understand that we are looking for money to pay them and should be patient and must also remain focused for the match on Sunday.”Aduda also admitted that they are yet to receive an official note from their rivals on when they are arriving in the country for the fixture. “They are yet to talk to us, so we wait, maybe they want to sneak in but we are ready to take them on.”

Dennis Oliech eyes KPL return possibly with Gor Mahia

Kenyan legend Dennis Oliech is interested in a return to active football. He has expressed an interest in joining either Gor Mahia, Sofapaka or Mathare United.

“Currently I have three options that include Gor Mahia, Sofapaka and Mathare United. I will for sure play in the Kenya Premier League this season. I am itching to make a return and I am confident that by January, I will have nailed a deal to mark my return,” Oliech told Milele FM Sports.

Oliech who is no doubt the best striker Kenya has ever produced has been training and playing in grassroots tournaments for the past year or so. Earlier in 2018, he was reported to be headed to South Africa to join a top PSL side.

Oliech who is 33 is, played in Qatar and for several teams in the French top tier including Nantes, Ajaccio and Auxerre for whom he played in the European champions league.

He has not played active football in a long time. It remains to be seen what he has left in the tank. Coach Hassan Oktay will be the best judge of that. Oliech is also eyeing a return to the national team with a view to playing at AFCON 2019.

I am yet to retire; I can come back to Harambee Stars. First of all, let me return to the local league and be the top scorer, then I will be good to return to the national team. I know I am good and I will score goals.”

Oliech never played for Gor Mahia. But two of his brothers did: Steve Okumu who played for Kogalo in the late 1990s and Andrew Oyombe whose stint at Gor Mahia was around 2007 and 2008.

Asante Kotoko coach says Ghanaians only know Gor Mahia

Asante Kotoko coach Charles Akonnor says he knows nothing about his opponents Kariobangi Sharks as the only team that Ghanaians know about is Gor Mahia.

“I have not heard about Kariobangi Sharks before. In Ghana, we only know about Gor Mahia,” Akonnor told reporters on Thursday.”

Gor Mahia is indeed a big name in West Africa especially among the older generation, many of whom remember the club’s continental exploits in the 1980s.

Gor Mahia beat the Ghana national team in a friendly in 2011 by a score of 2-1. The goals came from Ezekiel Odera who scored from Moses Odhiambo’s cross and Collins Okoth.

The loss left the Ghana coach shell shocked and wondering how he would explain to Ghanaians back home that their national team lost to Gor Mahia.

Tuyisenge confident of returning for Lobi stars

Rwandese striker Jacque Tuyisenge, who has been out on injury list, resumed training on Tuesday December 11. He is confident that he will be at full fitness by the time Gor Mahia play Lobi Stars on Sunday December 16 and will be available for selection.

“I hope to return to full fitness soon, I am almost there. I am not sure if I will be able to play [against Zoo Kericho] on Wednesday, but certainly I will be available on the weekend for the Lobi Stars clash in Champions League,” the said to the Rwanda Times.

Tuyisenge said he sustained an injury on his left foot in November during Amavubi’s 2-2 draw against Central African Republic in the qualifiers for the Afcon 2019 finals in Huye.

He then aggravated the injury when he played against Nyasa Big Bullets when he left the game after only fifteen minutes. A return to full fitness would be a huge boost for Kogalo. However should he return too quickly he may aggravate the injury again.

1980: The last time Gor Mahia played a Nigerian team

Gor Mahia face an uphill battle as they take on Nigerian League Leaders Lobi Stars on December 14. Its a similar situation to 38 years ago, the last time Kogalo faced a Nigerian team. This is the only time Gor Mahia has ever played a Nigerian side. It was in the second round of the 1980 Africa cup of champions, the predecessor of today’s Africa champions league. The team they faced was the then Nigerian champions, Bendel Insurance.


These were among the players who faced off with Bendel Insurance

1979 Africa Player of the year voting

  Player Club Country
1. Thomas N´KONO          CanonYaoundé Cameroon
 2. Adolf ARMAH            Hearts of Oak Ghana
 3. Kerfalla BANGOURA      Horoya Conakry Guinea
 4. Abdoulaye CAMPAORÉ     AS Bobo-Dioulasso Upper Volta
 5. Nahashon OLUOCH       Gor Mahia Kenya
 6. KIYIKA  Tokodi CS Imana            Zaire
 7. Felix AGBONIFO         Bendel Insurance Nigeria
 8. Pascal MIEZAN          ASEC Abidjan Cote’d Ivoire
 9. Muda LAWAL             IICC Shooting Stars Nigeria

1980 Africa Champions cup

Goalkeeper Dan Odhiambo (far left) during a national team training session with Mahmoud Abbas