Gor Mahia’s disinterest in youth a disturbing trend

Kevin Omondi came straight from Langata high

One of the trends that has become prevalent in the past 2 years at Gor Mahia is their penchant for signing only established players. This year for example, the new players at Gor Mahia were Innocent Mutiso, Abbey Nattey, Zachary Onyango, Israel Emuge and Paul Kiongera. Its bad enough that Gor Mahia has no coherent youth development policy. But the lack of interest in signing young players is a trend that needs to be addressed.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with signing established experienced players. In fact established players are useful for plugging immediate needs especially when the club is aiming for success at continenta level.

But there is something to be said about blending youth with experience. Coach Logarusic recently indicated that he has to teach his players basic tactical lessons that 14 year olds in Europe already know. Such things are best taught to the youth. It is easier to instill such lessons to young players. Older more established players find it harder to absorb such lessons. They have been playing for so long and the bad habits have been ingrained in them such that it is much more difficult for them to learn.

With a knowledgable coach like Logarusic, young players can pick up these lessons quickly and become good players.

Throughout its history, Gor Mahia has always been known as the club that identifies young players from the grassroots and turns them into superstars. In fact throughout the glory years, almost all the star players at Gor Mahia were signed from obscurity. Charles Otieno, Allan Thigo, John Okello Zangi, Bobby Ogolla, Peter Otieno “Bassanga”, Hezborn Omollo, George Onyango “Fundi”, Dan Ogada, Allan Odhiambo etc all came from obscure clubs and in no time were national team players.

Gor Mahia also often identified players directly from secondary schools and instantly turned them into superstars; Sammy Owino, Kempes, Nahashon Oluoch “Lule” , Sammy Onyango “Jogoo” , George Nyangi etc all joined Gor mahia while in secondary school and became superstars.

Len Julians in particular was very good at moulding young players into excellent players.

In this regard, Gor Mahia became a key provider of talent to the national team by identifying young talent and moulding them into international calibre players.

The club also benefited by having a more cohesive unit since some the players had been playing together since their late teens or early twenties. The players had been playing in the same system learning from the same coach and thus had a very good understanding.

By 1987, this group had matured and gained a lot of cohesion. Coach Jack Johnson came and was able to mould this team into a formidable unit that provided almost half of the national team that qualified for 3 succesive Africa Nations cups and won the continental diadem in 1987 along with the league and the domestic cup.

Even after the success of 1987 Gor Mahia were still not satsified. In 1988 they went to the grassroots and brought a new generation of young talent to challenge the established players. This is when players like Paul Ochieng, Mike Otieno, Ignatius Khaduli, Hezron Osuka arrived from lower division teams and became stars at the club. The club was always infusing young players into the playing unit to keep the established players on their toes and to regenerate.

In those days Gor Mahia had a network of scouts all over the country. These scouts would identify grassroots talent and recommend them to the club for trials. And there were some teams that were in effect feeder clubs for Gor Mahia. Such was the case with Kisumu Hotstars which produced Allan Thigo, Bobby Ogolla, Charles Otieno, Anthony Ndolo, Tom Odhiambo and others.

In recent years, Coach James Sianga who was very adept at identifying talent from the grassroots, plucked players Anthony Akumu, Ibrahim Kitawi and Eric Masika from obscurity and making them useful players. Others like George Odhiambo “Blackberry”, Edwin Lavatsa, Musa Mohammed and Kevin Omondi were identified while still in secondary school and became very good players for the club. Sianga even saw something in Peter Opiyo who had been ignored by Thika United and brought him to the club. From virtual obscurity, pass master Opiyo became a national team player.

It is also true that some players do not pan out. But the neat thing about young players is that you do not have to pay a King’s ransom for them. They are not in high demand which means you can offer them an apprentice salary. If they become good players then you can offer them a better full time contract. In other words, young players come cheap but a club can reap very high rewards from them.

Coach Logarusic will find that instilling lessons in young players is much easier than in established players.

The last two years Gor Mahia has shown no interest in unearthing the rough diamonds from the grassroots. And worse still, they have shown absolutely no interest in signing players from schools who have shown great potential.

Case in point, at the national schools championships various coaches expressed admiration at Michael Olunga of Kakamega high school. The player himself publicy stated that Gor Mahia was his first choice. There is no sign that Gor Mahia showed interest. Olunga is now at Tusker. There is also the case of Pattilah Omoto who received rave reviews while at Kariobangi Sharks and is now at AFC.

There is a lot of budding talent at the grassroots and at schools. At this point I am not sure if Gor Mahia has any scouts or whether they have assigned anyone the responsibility of identifying young talent. This would be a grave mistake.

Once again there is nothing wrong with signing established players. But blending youth with experience yields better results. And Barcelona have shown us that there is no substitute for a coherent youth policy. Almost half their players are products of their youth system.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a coherent youth policy for a club like Gor Mahia is the fact that it is much easier to sell a player to Europe for good money if he is young. European teams are typically interested in buying players below 23 years of age. In 2010, two of Sianga’s products, Akumu and Blackberry garnered the interest of a European team. And even though Blackberry’s career at Randers was a washout, the club made a good amount of money by selling him to Randers.  A well run youth program can pay for itself many times over. Clubs in South America earn most of their revenue by selling young players to Europe. A club like Gor Mahia with a coherent youth policy can sell 1 or 2 young players to Europe each year. This kind of money can be used to bolster existing structures to make the club better and perhaps even build a permanent training ground for the club.



30 thoughts on “Gor Mahia’s disinterest in youth a disturbing trend

  1. I think it is good to debate and respect others opinion while advancing ones own. It is true that without a well thought out youth programme we shall not gor far and bring back the excitement and risks that only the youth can bring. The case of Olunga going to tusker while prefering kogalo is sad. I suggest that coach Loga attends the national primary school games and the regional finals especially in the old nyanza, nairobi, western and coast regions abundant in talent.



    If we are thinking about the future of Gor Mahia, then a youth program was yesterday. Since i joined the club a few years ago, bloggers have continued to lament for lack of a youth side to bolster the senior team when it’s needed.

    I have learnt that a semblance of a youth program had been initiated by some of the leaders of yore. But somehow along the way, and with the change of guard at Gor Mahia, the vision was lost. The club was taken over by people looted it and brought to it’s knees.
    It is only by the grace of God the club is now up and running.

    Let us give credit where it is due. Ambrose Rachier, the current chair and his able team have done a commendable job. They have attracted sponsors, steamlined operations and systems and increased revenue collection. As a result, the club won two out of three trophies on offer last season.

    I do like to dwell on the past. Nothing is impossible to achieve. Let us elect the right leaders who have the club in their hearts. Men and women of unquestionable intergrity who are ready to take this club to greater levels of achievements. We cannot only achieve this when we unite and elect such leaders to the helm of Gor Mahia. As to who is to be elected, I leave it to wise counsel of conscience.

  4. The new signing the club did is below par. I’m worried if this the team to play in the continental competition.Against Muhoroni Youth the team was totally outplayed and people were left wondering whether it was K’Ogalo they were watching or a replica. It takes time before a player gell but we have to remind ourselves that theres no time as the continental games are just around the corner. While other teams took their time and brought players for trial and ensured they had the best K’ogalo was busy criss crossing the continents only to land on over weights who cannot even run. One area which need overhaul is the defence and if anyone in doubt lets wait untill we play Tusker then we can talk.

  5. Youth is very important in 1985/86 league season the first semi-professional side VOLCANO UNITED was established in Kenya.The team was purely youth and trained in SOUTH B…Very close to MOW(CURRENT CID TRAINING SCHOOL)where Gor trained under Julians.VOLCANO UNITED WON THE LEAGUE IN ITS DEBUT…shocking established clubs like AFC and GOR…the team was disbanded later due to funding issues much to the sigh of AFC AND GOR….GOR can IGNORE YOUTH AT THEIR OWN PERIL!!!!

  6. I think the dillema has been, the pressure to post good results to satisfy the fans considering the very dry period the club went through.To remain afloat to the demands of fans, they could not do any thing less.If we reflect back to the time that Siang’a tried to work with a very youthful team,Gor almost got relegated. My contribution is let there be a department that is tasked with identifying talents. By the way you do not only find them in schools but also in the village games.They drop out of Schools due to myriads of challenges and they end up wasting away. There are very many ways you can track them. I think this department could be headed by Siang’a. or Bob Oyugi.Their programm should be separate from the senior team.

  7. Ref: Annual AGM -27/01/2013.
    Fellow bloggers I attended the AGM and hereby would like to report to you the main highlights.
    • The meeting started off 2hrs late with prayers. 8 of the “executive community” were present. Apologies were received from Treasurer S Ominde who was away attending a funeral. Head of the Technical Committee Vice Chair D. Kilo, Asst. Secretary R. Ngala were away on official duty with the team in Awendo and 1st Vice Chair Faiz who is sick.
    • The Secretary General G Bwana read the agenda, then the minutes of the previous meeting which were adopted.
    • The chairman the read his report where he recalled the achievements of the last season. His main issues were-
    a) the development of the club’s stadium is still but a dream but he informed the meeting that plans for a club house were at an advanced stage
    b) Tuzo sponsorship was set to lapse by end of April 2013 and was being renegotiated hopeful for extension.
    c) Tuzo was to handle the replica jerseys last season but failed on this issue. For this season EC has negotiated with a South African agency owned by Musa Otieno. The replicas will be made by puma and prices will be released in due course. The GMFC logo has also been patented and this will give the EC some teeth in dealing with fake merchandise.
    d) The preparations for the CAF are at an advanced stage. A contingent of 25 persons i.e 18 players and 7 officials/bench (one from FKF) will make the away trip.
    • The treasurer then read his report which basically stated –
    a) that income for the 2012 season was about 54 million. Gate collections almost matched the sponsorship. The expenses were about 63 million. The deficit was financed by the chairman 6.5million and the EC 2.5million. Personally I don’t believe this.
    b) The budget for 2013 is 66 million with players’ salaries of 22million and Technical bench salaries of 15 being the major components.
    c) The club’s accounts are being audited by an audit firm called Mwangi & Co and the treasurer undertook to have the audited accounts published in the dailies, This was approved by the meeting.
    d) Sadly the meeting passed over a suggestion by the chair to suggest an auditor and left this to the EC.
    • The issue of the club’s plot was very heated. Apparently Mr.E.Okul a former chair claims he lost the original title deed. A.R has only seen a copy of it. The meeting very strongly told A.R to resolve this matter by the next meeting. Sadly again a request by the chair to be given a committee to tackle the matter was turned down and members told him to use his EC.
    • A Mr. Okwiri publically stated that he has connections with a South African firm willing to sponsor GMFC to the tune of Kshs.200 million. The EC took down the details.
    • On the Bralizian, basically though the A.R tried to defend this deal mainly that the guy was here at his own expense the general feeling was that he should leave. Am therefore surprised when

  8. contd…..
    A.R says in other media that the meeting endorsed that ‘Waiganjo” be given more time. KWANI GMFC is SLIMPOSSIBLE SEASON 5.
    • Conflicting information from officials, role of coach and team manager were touched on. This is where I saw potential of members (who may have been sent) to destabilize the club if the Chairman / EC is weak. Some demanded that Ogweno be reinstated. The question is despite Logarusic’s abrasive style(with the EC).Do we want Ogweno and be no.14th in the league or Logarusic and may win titles?
    • Mr. Okwiri suggested that EC should lease City stadium to reduce its stadium hire expenses. A.R assured fans that apart from the high risk matches .e.g against AFC , GMFC’s home games will be held at “Tok Kowanda”.
    • Organizing secretary defended the role of the GOR YOUTH but personally I failed to see their importance since it seems that their job is to “provide” security and allow free entry to “identified” individuals.
    • Large size of the EC was touched on however A.R pointed out that the constitution will need to be amended for this to be auctioned. Corruption among some EC members was also alleged and strongly condemned especially “10% when signing players”
    • Pole Mwakio and like the meeting was conducted in the official language of the K’galo Nation but translators were available. However chair’s and treasurer’s report were read in English.
    • There were some absurd suggestions / complaints like Mr. Okwiri’s issue of not enough “indigenous” players in K’galo.
    • Fundraising for CAF- Send donations of 50/- to clubs mpesa, friendlies with AFC / Tusker were among the suggestions.
    • Youth structures the current coach prefers are leaner system. Also setting up such structures are expensive. Potential layers are known to hike their signing fees for GMFC in particular.
    • By virtue that the bloggers branch has not been registered it meant that I could not raise issues since to ask questions one had to state their name and branch.

    With the current club structure a worse executive can easily ruin our beloved club. Fans must remain vigilant since the EC can easily orchestrate such meetings to rubber stamp negative ideas- e.g A.R’s defense of Waiganjo, EC interference/ frustration of the bench. However overall A.R was very democratic and allowed all queries. This EC is certainly better that the E.Okul’s that lost a title deed and almost got GMFC relegated. The question what will the next EC and its chair be like. We need structures.
    The Fun
    • Why is A.R insisting on a fat player while he himself is fit and trim. Kwani Gor inafanya SLIM POSSIBLE SEASON 5.
    • Ja Brazil should join K’galo Unfit &Overweight branch as coach. Existing members are the EC minus A.R. Jogi chamo Gor zaidi giyarore mar gi bar.

  9. contd…
    • If you are an official whose spouse controls your finances then resign from K’galo since you are most likely eating from the club.
    • A.R you will repeat (be relected) until you expire, lakini leave this Ja Brazil, he’ll spoil your legacy


  10. I did ask this because am branchless.However I ask it now in capital letters.


  11. @ ODUOR12 post 8-11 – Thanks for the updates. I could not make it for AGM due to timings but I’m happy you’ve given elaborate updates. I’m proposing this blog branch can meet possible in February on a Saturday afternoon. Who can co-ordinate? This ought to have been a full branch by now.

  12. @ 7 Richard Otieno – if the youth development programme is separated from the main/senior team that could be the best way to go. However, we cannot use them immediately, neither can we ignore the idea altogether.

    Take for instance Mathare United – all through they’ve been getting their players from their youth academy. Starting this year, I guess they will be very weak as they have since disbanded their youth programmes…

  13. Kogalo has a technical bench of 15 people ? Why do they need so many ? They have an expensive technical bench yet they claim youth development is too expensive ?

  14. @oduor12,thanks for the update on the AGM,I went to see the new signings in sony and muhoroni and for sure the signings that impressed me on the way they gelled with the team is otieno and emuge,and kiongera though he still needs his footing. still they is a problem with striking force as it was evidenced when subsition/second half started.other players need to blend with the team to understand there moves.I wish the kogalo fraternity the best this season.

  15. @Oduori, please tell us who are these 15 members of technical bench. Personally i can say only 4 are known to me. Loga, Boby,Iddi and Kilo. Hawa wengine sasa ni akina nani?
    From Oduori’s report, I think Ambrose Rachier will be the chair at Gor Mahia till he decides to call it a day. That guy is the best we can have at Gor.

  16. @oduor12,thanks for the update on the AGM,I went to see the new signings in sony and muhoroni and for sure the signings that impressed me on the way they gelled with the team is otieno and emuge,and kiongera though he still needs his footing. still they is a problem with striking force as it was evidenced when subsition/second half started.other players need to blend with the team to understand there moves.I wish the kogalo fraternity the best this season

  17. I believe that the best way to have a youth team is by ‘adopting’ some of the youth teams in Nairobi and partnering with them. As it is we cannot afford a youth team unless we have the structures in place. How about sponsorship? Is it enough to support a youth team. Maybe we should ‘force’ FKF to have a youth league to act as curtain raisers for the main team.
    This will force the teams to have a junior team

  18. @15 Mcosweto. My apologies for the error. What I meant to report was that Technical bench salaries budget is kshs.15 million.


    Comrade Oduor12,

    Happy new year. I have for a long time read many of your posts trying to provide information on how Gor Mahia through the EC spend the money. You have extensively borrowed your figures from other sources.

    While i thank you for your effort, this information may pass any credibility test for many reasons;

    1. You do not have the mandate from the people. Gor Mahia is led by a team elected by delegates during the AGM.

    2. The information you normally supply is not official and cannot therefore be relied even if we want to interrogate the figures.

    3. I suspect you are just a busybody being used to incite the fans against the club admininistration.

    Untill we give you the mandate, kindly keep this information to yourself because this site has more other pertinent issues to tackle. You are however very much welcome to seek for any elective seat including that of the SG. I will not tire to say K’Ogalo is a professional club that play by the rules. Pleaseee………

  20. @Pareiyo I admire you courage and straight talk. I however beg to differ with you. Comrade Oduor12 is only playing the role of a whistle blower and doing it so well. Personally I want to thank him for a job well done. Oduor12 is one consistent, objective blogger and that breed is not so common. One other thing: a well-meaning whistle blower does not require to be commissioned. It is all about the sense of community service for the good of the community.

  21. Pareyio
    This is very good info from Oduor12. In this case all that Oduor12 is doing is to tell us what happned. We should thank him.
    Football officials in Kenya cannot be trusted. I have worked with football officials. If people knew the chicanery and treachery that happens in these rooms they would stop being football fans. So if you think our officials will tell us the whole truth, you are wrong.
    I for one have always wondered what happened to the land in Embakassi. I dont think we will ever know

  22. Let’s give credit to @Oduor12 since at least he took his time to attend the meeting that many of us couldn’t attend at least we have some insight which some fans have since they were at the meeting but they kept to themselves.Keep it up

  23. @ 13 Walter Alando.I red something yesterday in one of the daily Newspapers that really caught my attention in regards to what may appear as a recruitment ground/adopted club. In the just concluded trip to western kenya and especially at Muhoroni Youth. The latter are organizing an event bringing all teams together after which some players could be recruited to even join Gor Mahia in the next transfer Window. Does this look like something could provide another inexpensive way forward?

  24. @ Pareyio. Thank for your view and i respect it.
    However let me clarify to you that my source was the GMFC AGM which I attended.
    Further more I, like many bloggers, like to be curious and do not just take information at face value. I admit that sometimes I do get it wrong or have a differing view but thats life, we all do.
    One fact which I can point out that you’ve gotten so wrong is that GMFC is a professional club. GMFC is a society association engaged in football led by elected officials.
    Lastly its seems some of us are inquistive in nature (I guess the difference is our diets),cannot keep information( which means letting others know) to ourselves while others are “lazybodies” and possibly part of the extended “execitive community”
    I want to thank fellow bloggers for their support in know doubt where I can I will always seek to report, inform, analyse, and even give my personal opinion.
    @ Ole Pareyio I withdrawal the word “lazybodies” and the comment on “diet” on the basis that they are unbloggery language.


    Comrade Oduor12,

    Thank you for your response. This is what i call sportsmanship. I had no feelings for you except that i was just challenging you to substantiate your claim.

    I know we many never agree on whether Gor Mahia is a professional club or not, however we must agree to meet somewhere- to agree to respect the simple rules of the game including our very own constitution. It is our guideposts.

    I don’t dispute your valuable contribution on this blog but if you must inform, educate or provide an opinion, provide some facts, at least so that your comments many not just pass as cheap and hollow pieces just to pass time. By the way, you were a strong opponent of a bloggers branch. Do you still pursuing the idea?

  26. @19 PAREYIO – if you have any proof that what Oduor12 is saying is untrue then you can give us the true version, otherwise we will wait for another person to give these reports/info Oduor12 gives but will never see anything. Sioni ubaya wowote…

    @23 Richard – I think that would be a very good idea to recruit as it will be more competitive

  27. Since i too am priviledged to air my views i will take this opportunity to comment thus:

    GM tremendously improved the gate takings (probably thrice or quadraple) towards the end of league last season. If the current budget stands at 66m, gate collections of 3.5m for home games and continental matches may be close to 70m leaving GM with 4m plus, sponsorship money and other fringe income or windfall.

    These may be estimated to tens of millions, more than enough to run a youth football project.

    Look at the above attempt to shut out bro Oduori12..its actually the belief by many GM fans that alot is being done for the better and that someone spends alot on the club.

    These are statements as good and as valid only as they’re said. I wonder if those are all the important club news we should be waiting for a whole year to assemble and listen to! Why year in year out does someone need to give his hard gotten money to spend on a venture he would manage well to fund itself. GM can be well managed to stand on its own without these i spent i spent…

    If i spent i spent is such a big deal why spend on questionable ridiculous projects and players. I too doubt the existence of the land donated to GM at Kasarani.

  28. 1.If I recall correctly didn’t Oduor12’s name appear among the list of bloggers who actually made payments to start the bloggers branch b4 the idea went cold.

    2.In fact Oduor12 has been a strong proponent of the bloggers branch and even suggested that its time members started contributing monthly in advance. Something abt Kshs.5 or 10per raising some millions.

    3.@28 Kassam Mwivangano- That’s what I call being analytical, reading between the lines and asking pertinent questions-
    a)WHY WOULD SOMEONE SPEND HIS HARD EARNED CASH TO THE TUNE OF MILLIONS, YEAR IN YEAR OUT, TO FINANCE DEFICITS,, when simple systems and controls effected would eliminate the so called “deficit”.

  29. “Educate” no, no that I cannot do. Anyone who is still “uneducated” by now should not rely on me to educate him/ her. Sita beba hio mzigo.

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