Sportpesa cancels all Sports Sponsorships

In what will prove to be a big blow to Gor Mahia and other sporting organizations, Sportpesa has canceled all sponsorships.

Additional reporting from the Star
SportPesa has cancelled all sports sponsorships after a prolonged battle with KRA over taxes.

In a statement on Friday, the firm said, “We regrettably wish to announce that due to the uncertainty of this situation SportPesa will be cancelling sports sponsorships effective immediately. All clubs and partners will have received notices as provided for in their contracts.” SportPesa said it has been subjected to punitive measures by regulators such as delayed license renewal and the suspension of Paybill numbers, which have reduced the level of business operations.

The firm said these measures have brought immense pressure on the business. “This despite the existence of a court order prohibiting the regulator from taking such actions,” the firm said. SportPesa said it is passionate about sports development in Kenya and the decision to stop sponsorships was difficult to make. “We greatly value our partnerships and we will endeavour to resume support to the best of our ability when the business recovers,” the firm said.

On April 1, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i vowed to introduce tough measures to regulate betting sector, which he accused of leading youths astray. He gave all firms three months up to July 1 to seek fresh renewal of licenses upon proving tax compliance. Among the conditions that betting and gaming firms had to meet before having their licences renewed is to be tax-compliant.

SportPesa is among the 27 betting firms whose licences the government refused to renew over a tax row. The firm, however, insisted it was tax compliant. Other firms whose licences were not renewed were Betin, Betway, Betpawa, Premierbet, Lucky 2 U, 1X Bet, Mozzartbet, Dafa bet, World Sport Bet, Atari Gaming, Palmsbet and Betboss. Others were Betyetu, Elitebet, Bungabet, Cysabet, Nestbet, Easybet, Kick Off, Millionaire Sports Bet, Kenya Sports Bet and Eastleighbet.

They were expected to prove that they had been operating within the law, and prove that they are sufficiently liquid and have performed financially well for the past four years. On July 22, KRA cleared Betway, OdiBets, Mozzartbet, Ken Bookmakers, Lucky 2u, Eazi Bet, Kick off, Eastleighbet, Palms Bet and Bet boss.

Eric Obura has passed on – Rest in peace

Former Gor Mahia attacker Eric Obura has passed on. Obura played for Kogalo from 1992 to 1995.

Obura is among the dozens of top tier players who honed their skills playing at Jericho grounds aka Camp Toyoyo learning under legendary grassroots coach Oti Father. In those days camp Toyoyo was a dry pitch with not a blade of grass.

Prior to joining Gor Mahia, he had played for teams like Speedway, before being recruited by Re Union FC. There he played with the youth brigade of Felix Otieno, Tom Okaya and Mathew Ottamax who joined veterans like John Odie, Ali Timami, Washington Odhiambo and Alex Mwalo.

In 1992, he crossed over to Kogalo at a time when Kogalo were in a goal drought and were desperately looking for a reliable striker. He joined along with a crop of other youthful players like Tom Okaya, Aggrey Obonyo, Tom Ochieng

Obura featured prominently against Zamalek in 1994

He would stay at Gor Mahia until 1995 when he left the country to pursue a career in Bahrain where he played for Muharak FC. He then returned for another stint at Gor Mahia.

Upon retirement, Obura has been active in grassroots football. He has also been active in reforming football along with former players like Sammy Shollei. He has also contested for FKF elections.

With fellow veterans Sholei and Motego

Earlier this year a tumor was detected on the left side of his head. He had been hospitalized for four weeks. He passed away on Thursday August 8 2019. He will be missed by the football fraternity in Nairobi. May he rest in peace.

Kenneth Muguna named team captain

Midfielder Kenneth Muguna is now officially the new team captain. This follows the departure of Harun Shakava to Nkana FC.

Muguna first joined Kogalo in 2015 and excelled under coach Frank Nuttall then Ze Maria. He and Musa Mohamed left to join FK Tirana in 2017. Muguna returned last season.

“I am happy to be named the captain of one of the most successful teams in East Africa and I am hoping we will work together as players and management to win more titles this season. I am aware of the huge responsibility that comes with captaining a club of Gor’s stature but I am banking on my experience in top flight football as well as the support of everyone at the club to ensure we succeed as a team.” Muguna told Nation Sport.

Muguna follows in the illustrious footsteps of club legends like Austin Oduor, Peter Otieno “Bassanga”, Paul Ochieng, Sammy Omollo “Pamzo”, Allan Thigo, Julius Owino and others.

Defender Joash Onyango has been nominated as the Vice Captain. Gor Mahia will travel to Burundi on Saturday.

Gor Mahia unveils new coach and 17 new signings

New Kogalo coach Steven Polack was officially unveiled at a ceremony on Thursday.

The enthusiastic Polack promised results.

“I always strive to be number one. And this is a new challenge, a big one. We will have to get it right and the first impression is we will.” he said according to the Nation.

New signings List

Caleb Omondi, Alphonce Ombija, Lloyd Khavuchi, Godfrey Ombijo, Richdonald Bolo, Samuel Osok, (promoted from the club’s youth team), Abdalla Shira and Tobias Otieno (from Sony Sugar), Elvis Ronack (Nzoia Sugar), Maurice Ojwang (Western Stima), Robert Mapigano (Singida United, Tanzania), Dickson Ambundo (Alliance, Tanzania), Curtis Wekesa, Dennis Oalo (Nairobi Stima), Francis Afiriye (Ivory Coast), Gieslin Gikpe (Ghana)

Tobias Otieno
Kennedy Otieno “Agogo”

Mieno and Blackberry join Tusker

Long time Gor Mahia attacker George Odhiambo “Blackberry” who has been training with Tusker has officially joined the side alongside former Gor Mahia midfielder Humphrey Mieno who left St George of Ethiopia after an unhappy sojourn there where he spent most of the time on the bench.

Thank you coach Hassan Oktay

Former Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay has left an indelible mark on the club, despite being coach for only a year. He will be remembered as the first coach who steered a Kenyan team to the group stage of a continental event and beyond. In the process, Kogalo recorded famous victories over Egyptian giants Zamalek as well as Hussein Dey of Algeria, Union Douala of Cameroun and Petro Atletico of Angola.

Oktay also steered Kogalo to the league title. This came despite a torrid start that saw the club lose to KCB and fans calling for the firing of the coach in only his second match.

In the end Oktay had to leave for Turkey in order to be near his parents who are both ailing from cancer. On leaving, Oktay said he will always have a high regard for Gor Mahia.

“I have coached in Turkey and won the league title there, also coached in Saudi Arabia and now Kenya with Gor Mahia, I will always respect Gor Mahia of all the teams I have handled in my career,” Oktay told Goal.

“You want me to talk bad about Gor Mahia, I cannot. I just cannot, they are the best club I have ever handled in my entire career and will always keep track with what they are doing even if I don’t return from my leave.

“I have a lot of respect for the club chairman [Ambrose Rachier], he is one man who is dedicated to make sure the club is managed well and I like how he has always done his work.”

On behalf of Gor Mahia online supporters club aka Gor Mahia bloggers branch, we wish a speedy recovery to Oktay’s parents. And we wish Oktay success in all his future endeavors.

Steve Polack arrives

British coach Steve Polack who is widely expected to become the new head coach of Gor Mahia FC arrived in the country on Wednesday at 2:42 PM.

He was most recently a coach in Ghana. In 2018, he was coach at Asante Kotoko, the storied Ghanaian side. He took over after former Gor Mahia coach Zdravko Logarusic departed. Kotoko were fourth in the league when the league was abandoned.

In 2017 he was coach at Berekum Chelsea when they finished 8th in the league. In 2011 again he was coach at Berekum Chelsea when they won the Ghanaian league. In 2009 he was coach at King Faisal when they finished 4th in the Ghanaian league.

Polack also holds Finland citizenship and coached there for many years. In 2007 he coached second tier side PK Keski Uusimmaa. In 2006 he was coach at FC Raahe when they finished fourth in the Finnish top tier (Vekkausliga). In 2005 he coached AC Oulu when they finished tenth in the Finnish top tier. Prior to that he coached a number of teams in the Ginnish lower tiers. He has also had numerous stints as an assistant coach in Finland.

Therefore his coaching experience is vast and he is used to the vagaries of coaching an African team such as the lack of equipment, insufficient training facilities, player go slows and strikes as well as incompetence and interference from officials.

Prior to coaching, Polack played most of his career in Finland. He played for RoPS of Rovaniemi in the Finnish top tier between 1984 and 1994.

He then played for Inter Turku also in the Finnish top tier for 3 years before becoming their head coach.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Should he, as widely expected, be named Gor Mahia coach on Thursday, Steve Polack’s immediate role is to mastermind a win for the Kenyan champions against their Burundian counterparts Aigle Noir Makamba FC in the preliminaries of the 2019/2020 Caf Champions League.

The Englishman arrived in Nairobi at 2:42pm Wednesday to replace Hassan Oktay, who delivered his resignation letter to K’Ogalo chairman Ambrose Rachier on Tuesday evening, citing ‘personal’ problems in his native Europe.

Polack will sign a two-year contract on Thursday before departing with the team to Bujumbura Friday morning in time for Sunday’s Champions League first leg clash.

This game is set for the 10,000 seater Intwari stadium, formerly known as the Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium, in the country’s capital.

Gor assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo has been preparing the first team in Oktay’s absence, but Nation Sport understands club chairman Rachier had to move in fast and bring in Polack as the former Sony Sugar coach doesn’t have the requisite qualifications to take charge of a continental title.

“It is important to have someone who has African football management experience,” Gor Chief Executive Lordvick Aduda explained.

Hassan Oktay has resigned

It is now official. Gor Mahia’s Turkish coach Hassan Oktay has resigned his position.

Additional reporting from the Standard

“Kindly accept my resignation as Gor Mahia FC head coach effective today [August 6], the sixth day of August 2019. As you are aware, the decision has been forced on me by the personal challenges I am facing here in Europe,” Oktay said.

The announcement comes as a shocker as the Turkish-Cypriot had initially asked for six days off and travelled to his native country Turkey for family issues.

Oktay has, however, thanked the club for the opportunity they gave him to manage the Kenyan football giants.

“I wish to thank you and the entire club, including the fans for the opportunity you accorded me to manage this great club. I also wish you guys all the best in your forthcoming assignments.” The Turkish-Cypriot added.

The club has accepted Oktay’s resignation and thanked him for his services.

“The club has accepted Oktay’s wish to terminate his contract and thanks to him for his services. The club also prays for Oktay’s situation to get better,” the club confirmed.

Oktay took over K’Ogalo in December 2018 to succeed Dylan Kerr, who had also resigned from his position after only one season.

The resignation of the tactician is a huge blow to the KPL champions who have also had their assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno leave the club to join KCB as their head coach.

Gor has also lost their key players to other clubs who were pivotal to their KPL glory last week.

Attacking midfielder Francis Kahata joined Simba SC, striker Jacques Tuyisenge left for Petro Atletico while their then captain Harun Shakava recently left for Zambian side Nkana FC.

Oktay parts ways with K’Ogalo after just one season in charge and helping the club lift their 18th KPL title.

Rachier: We may have to replace Oktay

Gor Mahia are in the dark as to whether Hassan Oktay is returning. As such, chairman Ambrose Rachier is preparing to take contingency measures according to goal.com

Additional reporting from goal.com

The KPL reigning champions are not sure whether Oktay will return to the club after he requested for leave and has not responded in time

The club will find a replacement should head coach Hassan Oktay fail to return from compassionate leave.

Oktay requested for leave to attend to family issues but is yet to join Gor Mahia who are preparing to take on Aigle Noir of Burundi in the CAF Champions League preliminary clash on August 10.

The club’s chairman Ambrose Rachier has told Goal he is ready to appoint Oktay’s successor should the Cypriot-Turkish tactician fail to report back.

“After the five days, he requested for leave ended yesterday [August 5], I dropped him an e-mail and he is yet to respond. We will wait until tomorrow [August 7] and see whether he will have responded before we are forced to make another decision,” Rachier told goal.com

Rachier added the club is prepared to find a quick solution if Oktay doesn’t return.

“Whether he will return or not, we are set not to be caught [with our] pants down. I still have the list of 53 coaches who applied for the job in November alongside him and I will chat and probably have one take the role should Oktay not return at all,” he revealed.

Gor Mahia name Champions League Squad

Gor Mahia have named a 25 player squad for the 2019-2020 Africa champions League. Unlike past instances, the signing of new players was completed before the squad list was due. As such all the key new signings have been included.

Gor Mahia have never reached the group stage of the Champions League. They begin their campaign against Aigle Noir or Burundi. Should they win they will likely face USM Alger.

Goalkeepers: Fredrick Odhiambo, David Mapigano, Boniface Oluoch

Defenders: Wellington Ochieng, Philemon Otieno, Shafik Batambuze, Geoffrey Ochieng, Joachim Oluoch, Joash Onyango, Charles Momanyi, Maurice Ojwang

Midfielders: Ernest Wendo, Tobias Otieno, Kenneth Muguna, Curtis Wekesa, Boniface Omondi, Lawrence Juma, Samuel Onyango

Forwards: Dennis Oliech, Nicholas Kipkirui, Dickson Ambundo, Gislain Yikpe Gnamien, Francis Afriyie

Francis Mustafa Departs

Mustafa celebrates after scoring against KCCA in the 2018 CECAFA club cup

Burundian striker Francis Mustafa has left Kogalo. This according to a statement from the club.

“Burundian (Francis) Mustafa parts ways with Gor Mahia on a mutual agreement. We thank you for your time at the club and contribution towards success at all levels,”

Mustafa joined Gor Mahia prior to the 2018 CECAFA club cup and scored on his first appearance. However the rest of his scoring record was sparse , finding the net only 3 times during the 2018-2019 season.

Mustafa who featured prominently for Burundi at the 2019 AFCON, was in a difficult position since Gor Mahia has recenty signed three foreign strikers thus putting pressure on the foreign quota.

Gor Mahia sign Kennedy Otieno

Gor Mahia have signed yet another striker, Kennedy Otieno who was signed from Western Stima.

“He is here at Gor Mahia already and will be unveiled soon. The club wants to tap into his experience as it embarks on the defence of the title next season,” a source close to the club has told goal.com

The 30 year old Otieno, whose nickname is “Agogo” is vastly experienced. He joined Thika United in 2010, then SoNy Sugar, then Thika again, Posta Rangers and finally Western Stima.