Coach Polack travels home

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack announced after Sunday’s match against Zoo Kericho that he would traveling home.

“I have a flight to catch at the airport,” Polack told Goal after the team beat Zoo Kericho 1-0 at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru.

His trip back home sent alarm bells ringing as many Gor Mahia coaches have failed to return from overseas trips be it Logarusic or Dylan Kerr or Hassan Oktay.

But Polack says he is visiting his native home to see relatives.

“I want to visit my native home and see my family members. It has been long since I came here [in Kenya] and I know I am leaving the team in safe hands.” he said according to goal.com

His native home is the UK as opposed to Finland where he became a citizen.

Polack is unimpressed thus far and noted that the team must work on a number of issues.

“We have a number of things we need to work on during the international break because I want the team to come back even stronger. I was not very impressed with how we played against [Zoo Kericho] because it is not how we are supposed to play. We switched off completely and gave them room to take on us. We will rectify the mistakes and be ready for our next league assignment.” he concluded.

Some fans

Gor Mahia edge Zoo Kericho 1-0

Scorer: Boniface Omondi

Gor Mahia earned a hard fought 1-0 win over Zoo Kericho on Sunday.

The all important goal came from Boniface Omondi

Additional Reporting from the Nation

Boniface Omondi scored the lone goal as champions Gor Mahia defeated Zoo FC 1-0 in their Kenyan Premier League match at the Afraha Stadium on Sunday.

The win saw the defending champions make it four wins out of four and maintain their lead at the top of the table with 12 points.

K’Ogalo were made to wait until the last 10 minutes of the game before Omondi received a well weighted cross from Kennedy Otieno inside the danger zone and side stepped his markers, and fired a powerful shot that was first blocked by Zoo custodian Martin Elungat, before it rolled into the empty net in the 81st minute.

Gor head coach Steve Pollack admitted that his charges were sluggish in the first half and praised the Zoo defence for frustrating the Gor strikers.

“After the halftime pep talk, the boys heeded my advice and this changed the way they played in the last 15 minutes. However, I am happy they laboured to score a single goal and that to me is satisfying,” said coach Pollack.

On his part, Zoo coach Herman Iswekha blamed lack of concentration by his defenders in the final quarter of the match.

Gor Mahia floor Nzoia Sugar 2-0

Gor Mahia put aside the disappointment of the 2019-2020 Champions league when they decisively beat Nzoia Sugar 2-0.

Additional Reporting from the Nation

Captain Kenneth Muguna and Clifton Miheso were on the mark as Gor Mahia saw off Nzoia Sugar 2-0 in a mid-week Kenyan Premier League match at the Mumias Sports Complex on Wednesday.

The win took the defending champions back to the top of the table with nine after three matches.

Nzoia on their part, drop to 13th place on the log with four points, unable to replicate their 2-0 win over Kisumu All Stars last time out.

Nzoia Coach Collins Omondi attributed the defeat to loss of concentration by his charges.

“We conceded the early goals due to lack of confidence. My boys made costly mistakes and at this level and against such kind of opposition, you will get punished,” said Omondi.

Steve Polack’s charges took an early lead in the ninth minute when captain Kenneth Muguna beat Nzoia goalkeeper Humphrey Katasi with a shot that diverted off Nzoia’s offensive midfielder Antony Njeru.

Philemon Otieno undergoes surgery, thanks well wishers

Gor Mahia defender Philemon Otieno “Mbish” finally underwent surgery on Thursday of last week. He says he was abandoned by both Gor Mahia and by FKF and had to depend on well wishers.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia player Philemon Otieno has been sidelined for four months after undergoing successful knee surgery on Thursday last week.

This is after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) failed to cater for his treatment for an injury he sustained while on national duty with Harambee Stars.

Otieno was injured during the return leg of the first round 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier pitting Harambee Stars against Taifa Stars at Kasarani in August.

Otieno told Nation Sport that he was operated on in one of the hospitals in Nairobi after raising the required Sh450,000 for surgery. He revealed that the amount was realised through contributions by family members, friends, fans and part of his savings.  

“I underwent surgery on my knee on Thursday (last week) and I’ve been continuing with physiotherapy since then according to doctor’s instructions. I am very grateful to my family, friends, fellow players and fans for coming to my aid at the time of need and for their prayers,” an emotional Otieno said.

KEFWA SUPPORT

tieno also thanked Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (Kefwa) for supporting him.

“Apart from Kefwa, I want to specifically thank Musa Mohamed, Michael Olunga, Joash Onyango, Johana Omollo and Aboud Omar. Indeed they are true friends plus all those who helped me,” he added.  

Mbish, as he is fondly referred to by fans, also insisted that he has no hard feelings against FKF saying he is willing to feature for the national team in future.

“What transpired is now history to me and my main aim is to embark on a process to recovery and play football again. I am in touch with my club, players and the coach and I think I will be able to play again in January next year. I haven’t ruled out playing for the national team in future since it provides a platform for one to grow in his career. I have consulted with my family and decided that we let go all that happened,” he added.

Neither Gor Mahia nor FKF – who have been tussling over Otieno’s treatment – contributed towards the surgery.

Aduda: Hooliganism scaring away sponsors

CEO Omondi Aduda is unhappy with the behavior of a section of fans following the match against USM Alger

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda has hit out at fans following scenes of hooliganism during the Caf Champions League clash against USM Alger on Sunday at Kasarani.

K’Ogalo lost 2-0 on Sunday to bow out of Africa’s premier club competition 6-1 on aggregate having gone down 4-1 in the first leg in Bilda, Algeria.

Disappointed, the Green Army resorted to breaking the gate to the stadium, disfiguring chairs, throwing stones and other forms of missiles on the pitch during and after the match.

Aduda revealed that the club is contemplating partnering with security officials in its upcoming local and continental matches to deal with the ‘criminals’ soiling the image of the club.

“The conduct of our fans cannot be tolerated anymore and now it is evident some of them have turned into criminals. Why should they use acts of hooliganism to vent their anger after losing a match? I was shocked that they broke the gate, destroyed chairs and threw stones in the stadium while hurling abuses at the club officials. It is not right at all,” he said.

“We have been looking for sponsors and part of the Keroche management which had supported us financially were in the stadium. Which brand can accept such kind of behaviour and still invest in the club? It is good to tell them the truth even if I will be crucified. Unless they style up, we are working on a mode of dealing with their criminal acts,” he added.

The veteran administrator hinted at a fine from the continental governing body, Caf, at a time when Gor is in deep financial crisis.

“Gor Mahia fans don’t learn and their actions have cost the team a lot in the recent past. Last season we had to pay Sh2.5 million as fine yet they are the ones yapping all over that the officials misuse clubs money. They are the ones who elected the current office bearers and are those fines not paid from the club coffers?” posed Aduda.

Aduda also took issue with a section of the fans who wanted to gain entry into the stadium without buying tickets yet the online portal was open since Tuesday last week.

“Some fans send one shilling to buy a ticket for a match worth Sh200 and above while others use forwarded text messages to show they have paid. We are fed up with their behaviour and something has to be done to stop them,” he offered.

The 18-time Kenya Premier League champions resume league action on Wednesday against Nzoia Sugar.

Polack: Mistakes cost us

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack has rued mistakes and poor organization which in his mind, cost Gor Mahia against USM Alger.

Additional reporting from goal.com

The K’Ogalo coach admits his side was left in trouble when the Algerian side scored the first goal at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has admitted his side was undone by their own mistakes against USM Alger in the Caf Champions League.

The Kenyan champions were facing a tall order going into the return leg clash having lost 4-1 away and it took only three minutes for the visiting Algerian side to take a deserved lead at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday.

K’Ogalo defender Wellington Ochieng’ panicked under pressure from a USM Alger player and conceded a throw-in. Abdulrahim Omar hurled a long throw into the box for Aimen Mahious to flick past Fredrick Odhiambo via a deflection from Joash Onyango.

USM Alger got their second in the 14th minute when a long ball found Mahious in the box and the forward superbly controlled it and fired past Odhiambo to earn his brace. It was game over for Gor Mahia as they lost 6-1 on aggregate to drop to the Caf Confederation Cup. “Every [Gor Mahia] player was in a learning process and they should now know the level and quality of teams in the Caf Champions League and improve next time,” Polack told Goal after the match. “It is very clear if you make mistakes at this level, then you get punished.

We were done immediately [USM Alger] scored the first goal.” Polack, however, admitted his side put up a good show in the second half but could not find the back of the net. “If you look at our quality of display in the second half, we improved a lot and even created at least 10 chances,” Polack continued. “My only worry was, we could not score the goals, and I think even if the game continued until the following day, we could not score.” On dropping to the Caf Confederation Cup, Polack said: “It will be also another big challenge for us and we must get ready to play again. “Nothing will come easy, we must start better preparations and also make sure we register all our players for the competition. We only had 15 fit players against [USM Alger] and should not be the case in the final round of the next competition.”

K’Ogalo will now shift their focus to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) where they have a match against Nzoia Sugar at Mumias Complex Stadium on Wednesday.

Gor Mahia eliminated from Champions League

Joash Onyango in action against USM Alger

Gor Mahia were bundled out of the 2019-2020 champions league in unceremonious fashion. On Sunday they lost 2-0 to USM Alger in the second leg of the 1st round at Kasarani

Additional reporting from the Nation

Dangerman Ahimen Mahious masterminded K’Ogalo’s exit after grabbing a brace with his opening two chances to kill off the game.

In contrast, the hosts curved out nine chances in the first-half, six of these clear-cut.

But none of these could trouble visiting custodian Smail Mansouri.

Mahious’ first goal came just after four minutes courtesy of an improvised header after a quickly taken throw in.

But how he managed to reach to the ball with his head and direct into the net ahead of Gor goalkeeper Fredrick Odhiambo’s stretched arms, will perhaps be a matter to be discussed in Gor coach Steve Polack’s post mortem.

Eleven minutes later, Mahious was again on target.

This time around, he cheekily evaded an offside trip laid out for him by the hosts’ defence, which was marshalled by Harambee Stars defender Joash Onyango.

Thereafter, he easily controlled a forty yard pass with with the first touch, and then fired a bullet shot that easily beat Odhiambo.

At this point, Gor needed seven goals to progress, but couldn’t find even one.

Instead, Nicholas Kipkurui, their most potent attacker this season, missed a one-on-one chance with Mansouri with the latter coming out on top.

Dickson Ambundo then fired narrowly wide with a half-chance and then captain Kenneth Muguna twice saw his shots saved by a relaxed Mansouri.

Gor continued dominating in the second half with Kipkurui, Onyango and Muguna coming close, before the match was briefly stopped as fans protested the presence of the arriving police officers by throwing missiles on the pitch.

Gor Mahia vs USM Alger Preview

Gor Mahia face a tall order as they try to qualify for the 2019-2020 Africa champions league group stage. Having lost the first leg 4-1, Kogalo needs to win by a score of 3-0.

“We all saw what happened in the first leg, we can’t defeat USM with the kind of football we played today.  We played well in the first half but come the second half things were really different. I will talk to talk to my players about it,” told Polack to Citizen Sports.

USM Alger will start parking the bus as soon as they land at JKIA. They will also apply the typical cynical Gor Mahia will need to be ingenious. Coach Steve Polack was unhappy with his side’s display against KCB last weekend.

“My plan is to guide them not to concede a goal in the whole match but try as much as possible to score goals, more so in the first half. I understand clubs from the North Africa are used to playing attacking football which can give us a lot of pressure to defend as we attack, but will give our best,” explained the tactician

Gor Mahia are missing key players. But coach Polack is unperturbed.

Shafiq batambuze has a long term knee injury. Philemon Otieno is sidelined with a long-term achilles injury, while Nicholas Kipkirui, Francis Afriye are also out with injuries.

“I have more than 23 players in the squad and apart from few players who are injured; we still have options,” he said.

Keeper Robert Mapigano, who had a nighmare first leg, is still optimistic.

“They defeated us in the first leg, what makes it hard for us to do the same? We have what it takes to get the 3-0 needed to qualify for the next stage. It will need more work on the pitch, every player has to give more than 100% and if we do so, I am sure we will make it.”

Rachier explains why Kogalo left Kisumu

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier says that violent cartels at Moi stadium Kisumu prevented the club from generating sufficient revenue from gate proceeds.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier is not about to offer any apologies for his drastic decision to remove the team’s home matches from Moi Stadium, Kisumu despite the headwinds the action is running into.

“I am doing this with a heavy heart. Of all the towns in this country it is Kisumu where Gor Mahia’s pulse is. You can see it in the fans’ faces. People travel from as far away as my village in Gem Yala, in fact, all over the former Nyanza province to come cheer the team they love.

“However, I have a club to run professionally and the Mafia operating in Kisumu has been robbing the club blind and I cannot continue this way,” he said.

Speaking in his Rachier and Amollo Advocates offices at Mayfair Centre near Nairobi Hospital, the face of the chairman of the multiple league champions shows some strain, revealing a man making a weighty but necessary decision which might not be popular with all.

The ban was necessitated by the invasion of the Moi Stadium by cartels intent on lining their dirty pockets, not giving a care on the state of the club and its players and staff.

What rankled the chairman the most was the blatant thuggery seen on August 31 when Gor left Tusker FC staggering after a thorough beating at the stadium.

According to Rachier, the thugs, brandishing knives and also armed with what the Kenya Police normally refer to as crude weapons, chased away the club’s official stewards and then went on a gate collection spree. Or a looting spree, if you would.

Gor’s treasurer Sally Bolo was quoted in the press giving vivid account of how she had to run for dear life when the yobs came calling.

“They came with crude weapons and openly harassed us. They beat some of our staff, forced dozens of persons to access the stadium for free and still at the end demanded payment for work not done,” she narrated her woes in the picturesque town of Kisumu.

“First they declare that there is no way stewards from Nairobi can go to Kisumu and work there yet there are people in Kisumu who can do the work. What they are forgetting is that these stewards are our staff and they are strangers to the club management,” Rachier lamented.

“We have suspended all our matches in Kisumu and we shall be using alternative home grounds. Even though the lake region is a huge fan base for Gor Mahia, it is sad that we use a lot of money to travel to the city for league matches and end up getting nothing due to cartels and bouncers who pocket our money at the gate and many a times allow the fans to watch our matches free of charge,” said Rachier.

Of course, this news will shatter into pieces and leave a trail of blood in the hearts of K’Ogalo diehard supporters in the lakeside town but Rachier insisted he was acting in the best interest of the club.

He said that the club uses between Sh600,000 to Sh700,000 to prepare the team for a single outing in Kisumu.

He said he is convinced there is some serious Chinese accounting that takes place whenever Gor Mahia plays in Kisumu.

“Take the Tusker match for example. The stadium was packed to the rafters and a person known to me who is well versed with such kind of logistics said he could do a lower estimate of the gate collections totalling at least Sh1.8 million,” he said.

At the end of the day Rachier and his fellow officials were left holding the short end of the stick.

After all deductions, Rachier was handed Sh120,000, and he confesses that this left him heartbroken.

“Can you believe it Tom? After sinking more than half a million in a match all I came back with was some Sh120,000?”

Taking the view of a seasoned businessman Rachier said: “I would not have minded if we broke even. But this one is a bottomless pit and I don’t think it makes business sense to continue throwing good money after bad. I am really sorry for our Kisumu fans.”

But where are the police in all this, I press the chairman.

In all their expense reports the club officials normally list security as one of the items that leave a dent the size of an adult’s head in the budget.

“Honestly I don’t know. Maybe they are normally so focused on crowd control in the stadium and have no time for the gates which maybe they feel we can handle,” Rachier answers.

According to the chairman, the absence of police at the gates is an answered prayer to the goons.

That is if goons say a prayer before a robbery. He says that the guttersnipes usually start a commotion at the gate and in that melee, many get the chance to get into the stadium without parting with even a single cent.

However, it emerges that it is not only those who don’t have two pennies to rub together who enjoy waltzing into the stadium without paying.

Rachier said he had come across cases where people who are well off by any definition of the word intimidating stewards by invoking his (Rachier) name.

“It is in our culture that people love freebies. It is also a culture of ‘you must know people’. Some of these people will tell the stewards how we are fast friends and they don’t see the need to pay. On the other hand my view is that if they are true friends they should help me succeed at the club by paying the gate charges,” said the chairman.

In a candid admission, Rachier said even some of his own stewards have been caught with their fingers in the till, batting on the side of the goons who are hell bent on fleecing the club, perhaps paying heed to the adage of if you can’t beat them join them.

“I know we have had a few cases of some rotten eggs in our steward section and each case has been dealt with accordingly,” said Rachier.

Added to this is the sorry state of affairs that the club does not have a shirt sponsor after SportPesa took a walk because the betting company also had a visitation of pestilences from the authorities over the small issues of taxation and licencing.

All these factors have left K’Ogalo hanging on the cliff with fingertips, financially speaking, a situation Rachier is keen on turning around. For one, the seasoned lawyer believes that e-ticketing is the way forward.

“Some people are using the initial problems we faced and now want us to abandon e-ticketing in its entirety. I don’t think this is the right way of doing things,” he said.

I ask if he could consider printing tickets. “Tickets is also a bit demanding. Number two, reason we usually release the tickets for sale just hours before a match is because of the same cartels who have the ability to forge the tickets which means we will have earned no money,” Rachier states.

On this e-ticketing thing Rachier and his AFC Leopards counterpart Dan Shikanda seem to agree that it will provide the lock step and barrel solution to the financial woes facing two of Kenya’s oldest and most followed clubs.

On Friday, Shikanda was quoted in this newspaper calling on Ingwe fans to embrace the e-ticketing technology to avoid crowding at the stadium gates during the team’s home matches.

He appealed to the club’s entire fan base to hitch a ride on the e-ticketing ship.

“I urge all our fans whom I appreciate for their continued support to buy tickets early enough through e-ticketing so as to avoid last minute rush,” Shikanda implored Ingwe’s followers.

Back to Rachier and the Gor Mahia boss admitted that the piloting of the e-ticketing system had seen some expected teething problems, but he was adamant that e-ticketing would, if not totally eliminate, grossly reduce the corruption at the gates and help the club spruce up its dreary looking books of accounts.

As the interview draws to a close I remember the phone conversation we had when we were fixing the appointment Thursday night.

I wanted an early meeting which would free up my time for other engagements. But Rachier told me, “don’t make it too early, you know us Mugabes we are not early risers.”

Then we both broke into laughter.

You see, for the fact that he has stayed in Gor for quite some time — at 11 years he is the longest serving chairman ever — some of his detractors refer to him as Mugabe in reference to the late, long serving Zimbabwean head of state.

The joke ended up being on me when I sauntered into his office Friday morning and found him already seated waiting for me.

Aduda: The club needs Ksh 12 million

Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda says the club is in a deep financial crunch.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Kenyan Premier League defending champions Gor Mahia is in deep financial crisis and needs almost Sh12 million to pay two months salaries to its players and cater for this weekend’s continental assignment against Algeria Champions USM Alger.

According to club CEO Lordvick Aduda, the 18 times league champions need Sh10 million to offset salaries arrears and another Sh2 million to fund their Caf Champions League first round second leg encounter against USM Alger to be staged at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Sunday.

“We are at our very lowest moment because we lack funds. We are hosting USM Alger on Sunday and apart from Sh10 million we owe our players as two month salaries, we also need Sh 2 million for the Caf match, an amount which we don’t have as at now,” said Aduda.

According to him, the club has to cater for return air ticket for their guests totalling to Sh500,000 and transport for the four match officials and match commissioner for the four days which they shall be in the country, an amount totalling to Sh200,000.

Other expenses are accommodation for the match officials and commissioner which takes up to Sh300,000, stadium hiring which goes for around Sh300,000 and local transport for the away team and security during the match which is around Sh400,000.

The club also has to further pay the match commissioner and referees around Sh300,000.

“Those are our estimates but the problem is that we don’t have money to meet them. Honouring a home match is also as expensive as traveling to play an away game,” added Aduda.

It is this expenses that have overwhelmed the club and the leadership are now calling on the fans to come to their rescue and help them pay players and meet the Caf match expenses.

USM Alger are set to arrive in the country on Friday afternoon for the return fixture after hammering Gor Mahia 4-1 at home on September 15.

Gor will have to beat them 3-0 so as to advance to the group stages of the competition, but that will be an uphill task and the current financial challenges rocking the club do not help.

Club chairman Ambrose Rachier told Nation Sport that the players have been suffering, but he has no option since the club has no funds and is yet to get a sponsor.