This club is in dire straits. It has been in terrible shape for several months now. Players have gone several months with little or no pay. Many key players have recently left. More are set to leave. There are reports that Simba of Dar es Salaam are planning another raid. There are reports of an impending mass exodus of players. The Chairman has not done much or anything to mitigate this quagmire.
If the league were to resume in August, the club might not even be able to honor matches because matches will be played to empty stadia. The Chairman himself admitted that he has not created a post Covid 19 plan. Where will the club get funds to honour matches?
Most fans understand that if this club were to start taking the issue of Accountability and Transparency seriously, the club can raise a lot of money. The lack of transparency is the biggest stumbling block that keeps the club and its players in poverty. Fans have read reports of gate proceeds being pocketed by officials, reports of club officials demanding bribes and clear evidence of officials under-reporting attendance. With this in mind, the fans, many of whom are not financially stable, are unwilling to blindly give their money to the club.
However what has become clear is that Chairman Ambrose Rachier does not have any intention of ever being transparent or accountable. He has made that clear. And at the age of 71, he is too set in his ways and cannot accept change. Even if he is pushed, he will only engage in half-hearted transparency measures. Just as he did with eTicketing where he tried it for one game and then gave up and made a lame excuse for why it would not work. He wants to run this club exactly how it was run in 1968 (52 years ago). And he is not open to new ideas.
However the Post Covid 19 scenario will require a different way of thinking. There will be no sponsor. And no gate collections. Even if the government re-opens business, many fans will stay away of stadia for fear of Covid 19. The normal way of running the club will not be viable.
How will the club survive?
The time has come to search for a more dynamic leader who can think out of the box. Just as fans brought Rachier to rescue the club in 2008, it is time for the different fan groups and branches to start an active search for a new Chairman.
There are over 200,000 committed Gor Mahia fans. Many of them occupy senior positions in corporations. It is impossible to imagine that fans cannot find a person to lead this team on an interim basis. A person who understands business aspects, understands how to promote and market the team and has contacts in large corporations that he could use to negotiate potential sponsorships. And above all things THIS PERSON MUST BE 100% COMITTED TO TRANSPARENCY. If no such person can be found then we may as well maintain the status quo.
With an accountable office, member subscriptions, merchandize sales and other aspects will increase significantly. And in the Post Covid 19 scenario it will be critical for the club to restart initiatives like Gor Mahia bread and Gor Mahia water in order to sustain the club.
This person would lead the club only on an interim basis. His/Her primary task will be to put in place structures that can sustain the club. He would then pave the way for elections.
My vote would go to Carol Radull.
Having watched Carol Radull interview football officials, it is clear that she understands what it takes to market and promote a club. She clearly understands the importance of transparency and accountability. She understands how to bring in the right people and hold them accountable. Plus with her media exposure, she would be the kind of person this club needs to put stall the impending disaster. She will give fans and players hope.
In the likely case that Carol declines, Kogallo must still find a new dynamic leader with a proven record of leading an organization who can come in on an interim basis, stabilize the club, lay the foundation for a future modern club, modernize the club’s constitution and then pave the way for elections. Surely there must be such a person amongst Gor Mahia’s legion of fans. In 2008, fans found Rachier and asked him to run the club. Surely we can find a new dynamic leader in 2020.
Rachier should cement his legacy
When Rachier announced that he would resign in December of 2019, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of his announcement was that he said he would not assist the club by finding a suitable replacement.
Flashback to 2008. The chairman was Erastus Okul. As a club Chairman, he was grossly incompetent. He was only known for constantly fighting with the KPL and FKF leaders, sowing disorder and instigating the creation of parallel leagues. But he redeemed himself when he gracefully stepped aside to allow Ambrose Rachier to take over. He admitted that he was incapable of lifting the club from its morass and stepped aside for Rachier to take over.
Now Mr. Rachier appears to have run out of ideas. Like Okul he can redeem himself by helping spearhead the search for a qualified individual who can help restore this club. He has created a good legacy by steering the club to six titles (4 league and 2 cups). Rachier should be thanked for lifting the club out of his mediocrity. He can cement his legacy by leaving the club to new leadership that can take the club out of its current quagmire and take it to the next level.
This Saturday May 23-2020, TV personality Carol Radull interviewed Dan Shikanda and Ambrose Rachier who are the chairmen of AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia respectively. Shikanda came across as a man determined to lift AFC Leopards from its current morass. He is full of ideas and is burning with ambition. Shikanda, being a Scientist, also seems to approach each problem like the Medic that he is. He diagnoses the problem and offers a solution. Just like a medical Doctor diagnoses an sickness and prescribes a treatment, Shikanda had a clear view of the problems his club is facing and indicated that he is already working on remedies.
Rachier on the other hand appears to have completely run out of ideas. He offered no valid solutions. Instead he went back to the tried and failed tactic of blaming fans and trying to guilt fans into offering support to the club. This is a tactic he has applied for the past couple of years and it has not succeeded especially in the last few years. This does not bode well for the club’s immediate future.
Whereas Shikanda seems to approach each problem like scientist seeking problems, Rachier approaches each problem like the criminal defense lawyer he is, deflecting blame, daring people to produce evidence of corruption and finding creative ways to avoid postpone the issue at hand so he can buy time.
Shikanda announced that he has developed a 5 year strategic plan that includes building infrastructure for the club. His made it clear that his goal is to close the gap on Gor Mahia on performance and surpass them. Shikanda’s strategic plan involves marketing club products such as cooking oil and bread. He intends to give businesses an opportunity to use the club’s new state of the art bus to market their products.
Shikanda has created a media team that shows fans what happens at AFC every day of the week. This will include player interviews, videos of training sessions, interviews with former players etc. Companies will be invited to market their products during these shows.
In other words, Shikanda is already implementing his strategic plan even with limited finances.
Rachier for his part said that he developed a strategic plan but he cannot implement anything due to lack of funds. He has basically thrown his arms up and surrendered because the club has no funds.
One fan wrote in during the show and called Shikanda a dreamer, even delusional. What such fans don’t realize is that even if Shikanda accomplishes 50% of his strategic plan, it will still leave AFC in a better place than they currently are.
Radull noted that five years ago she wanted to buy Kogalo jerseys. She bought 5 jerseys then she later found out that the jerseys were being sold by a club official as a side hustle. Therefore all the money she spent went to the pockets of that official.
Rachier then said that merchandize sales have failed because fans are buying pirated jerseys made in China and there was nothing he could do about the piracy. Shikanda on the other hand pinpointed the solution which is that the clubs lack an official shop. As a result, when fans want to but jerseys, they often don’t know where to buy official merchandise. Which is one reason why fans end up buying pirated merchandize.
A further reason is pricing. Kogalo at one point had the audacity to sell jerseys at Ksh 5000 at a time pirated jerseys were going for Ksh 1000. This shows that the people running the club are either delusional or lack a basic understanding or merchandising and sales. If it is cheaper to make jerseys in China then why can’t the club also pursue that option? Why not just contract with a supplier who can provide the jerseys cheaper? No fan will buy a jersey at Ksh 5000. The club ought to know this.
Shikanda noted that when he took over the club, there were 700 members. He has increased the base of paying members to 2000 paying members. Shikanda is targeting to have 10,000 members by the end of this year and before his first term his target is 200,000. The effort is being led by Victor Milimu a club official. They are using the media team to create content to keep fans engaged. Shikanda noted that he plans to make the club self sufficient even without a sponsor.
Rachier for his part noted that Kogalo Only has 400 members paying regularly. He offered that he has pursued tactics like addressing fans on Ramgogi FM, Kogalo fan day, hot 96, Dala FM. However Rachier has no set goals or targets for membership.
Rachier noted that the club has a database of 156,000 members who have contributed via bill. But these fans are not regular contributors. Again Rachier did not state what he will do to increase membership. He once again shifted blame to fans. The same thing he has done for the past few years. The question becomes, if AFC can increase membership threefold within 8 months, why can’t Kogalo also increase membership? Clearly the club is doing something wrong but the chairman is too proud to admit it.
Rachier noted that the club has 121 branches. Every branch is supposed to send Ksh 10,000 to the club per year regardless of how much they have raised. The branches are only loosely affiliated with the club. They have their own constitution and can raise money using the club’s name without remitting the money to the club. In fact nowadays even famous fans can create club merchandize using the club’s name and make money that should otherwise be going to the club. The club has no control over its branches, some of which are now engaged in outright theft of funds. Even funeral funds. The branches are now ruining the club’s name. No fan should be using the club name to sell merchandize and no branch should be soliciting funds using the club’s name. Rachier being an attorney can implement cease and desist orders.
A fan commented that the club’s poor attendance and low membership numbers are due to corruption and misappropriation of gate collections and other fans. But Rachier dismissed those sentiments as wild allegations and even challenged the fan to produce evidence of corruption.
Interestingly, Rachier demanded evidence of corruption within the club yet Radull had just told him that a club official was selling club jerseys as a side hustle and that none of the money was going to the club. Rachier also never addressed the issue of how a player Derek Otanga sensationally claimed that a club official demanded a bribe from him before he could be signed. Otanga instead decided to join Wazito
Unfortunately Radull did not challenge Rachier enough on the issue of transparency which is the primary issue holding fans from paying their hard earned money to become members or even to pay for tickets.
Rachier has been in charge for 12 years. In those 12 years, membership has not increased but instead has actually reduced significantly. A few years back, the club had 1700 members. Apparently it now has only 400 paying members. Yet Rachier persists in blaming fans instead of looking inwardly. He has been told many times that the issue of transparency is the stumbling block. But like a good lawyer, each time transparency is brought up, he deflects, shifts blame, creates alibis and postpones the issue. What makes Rachier an excellent lawyer has been detrimental to club membership recruitment.
Shikanda highlighted the fact that since he took over Ingwe 8 months ago, the players have not gone on strike.
Radull challenged Rachier asking why the club has not introduced electronic ticketing. Rachier claims that he tried but it failed because fans would send the confirmation message to other fans. These fans would then show up at the stadium with the confirmation message and claim that they paid. Rachier claimed he gave up on eTicketing for this reason.
But Radull corrected Rachier by indicating that there are companies like TicketSasa that offer a system whereby tickets can be scanned on the phone and therefore the ticket cannot be replicated. Radull was basically alluding to the Outsourcing model that was described on this column a few weeks back.
This segment proved what many fans had suspected all along: Rachier was never serious about eTicketing. What he did was a half-hearted attempt. Then he quickly pretended that eTicketing cannot work. Either he is too set in his ways and does not want to change tact. Or he simply does not want to properly account for gate collections.
Rachier admitted that the club is in bad shape, the players are going hungry and are being thrown out of their homes for lack of rent. He blamed this pn lack of participation from fans. He noted that hosting a match sometimes costs Ksh 100,000 yet ticket proceeds are sometimes as low as Ksh 7000.
Shikanda for his part noted that his strategic plan will not depend solely on match attendance on gate collections. He plans to pursue other activities such as the sales of AFC bread, AFC water and AFC cooking oil to put money in club coffers.
Post Covid Plans
Shikanda and his team are already planning for the distinct possibility that when football comes back in August, there will be no fans and there will be no sponsorship. So he plans to sustain the club via products like Ingwe water, Ingwe Sanitizer, Ingwe mafuta and so forth.
Rachier claimed that he has put a team together to study post covid plans but he does not anticipate creating a solid plan because the issue of who will run the league has not been settled.
Rachier and Shikanda then went on an unnecessary rant against FKF because they have decided to appoint referees. They both claimed that FIFA funds should be sent to clubs but Radull promptly corrected them that the FIFA money is meant for football development and is not supposed to be given to fans.
So Rachier admitted that he has no plans for a Post Covid 19 league which will have no sponsor and no gate receipts. He will go back to the tried and failed tactic of trying to guilt fans into contributing to the club.
A fan sent a message indicating that a major failure of both clubs is the lack of a good marketing strategy and that both clubs needed to engage professional marketers. Rachier indicated that he has engaged marketers who are engaged on a consultancy basis. He however did not indicate what these consultants have accomplished or what their specific purpose was, nor whether they have performance objectives or goals.
Shikanda for his part indicated that he has hired two individuals: Ronald Namai and Joseph Murule to lead the marketing effort by the club. They have clear marching orders to expose the club’s brand and each have revenue targets.
Radull challenged Rachier to explain why he has been at helm for 12 years yet he has not improved the club’s financial stability. Rachier took credit for winning the league six times. He said he has failed to stabilize the club financially. He however said the failure was due to lack of sponsors. He blamed his inability to implement his strategic plan on the departure of sponsors.
However it is worth noting that even when the club had sponsors, Rachier never implemented his strategic plan. In 2016, when Sportpesa wwere announced as the new club sponsor, this blog published an article suggesting steps the club should take to stabilize the club financially and plan for a future where there might be no sponsor. Of course not a single idea from that article was ever implemented.
The Sports Fund
Rachier and Shikanda complained that the Sports fund which was created by the government to fund sporting activities. However that fund is likely going to be used for various national teams. It is unlikely that any of that money will ever go to clubs.
Rachier deserves credit for the six titles the club has won. It must be said however that the titles happened during a period when Kogalo had sponsorship and decent gate receipts. Even in 2015 when the club had no sponsor, they were able to count on good gate receipts and the large donations from politicians. Rachier deserves credit for the six titles the club has won. It must be said however that the titles happened during a period when Kogalo had sponsorship and decent gate receipts. Even in 2015 when the club had no sponsor, they were able to count on good gate receipts and the large donations from politicians.
In 2020 things have changed. There will be no sponsor. There will be no gate receipts, only empty stadia to start the new season. If Rachier does not change tact, the club is doomed. Unfortunately Rachier appears set in his ways and unwilling to change. He is still of the mindset that he should get money from sources like the sports fund, the FKF and from fans. And he believes that he should not have to be accountable or transparent. If this continues, the club is headed for a bleak performance in 2020-2021.
Matters don’t look promising. Whereas Shikanda offered plenty of hope to AFC fans, Rachier did not offer anything to look forward to for the fan base. We hope matters change. We hope somebody can intervene and cause Rachier to change direction. The only good news is that towards the end of the interview, Rachier admitted that there is a lot more that he can do. So maybe there is some hope yet.
Please note that the goal of this column is not to simply bash the chairman. This author recognizes that Rachier deserves most of the credit for all the titles the club has won. The purpose of this column is to sound the alarm. This club is headed in the wrong direction. The Chairman seems intent on pursuing tried and failed methods. If matters are not remediated, the immediate future will prove disastrous.
Gor Mahia’s quest to retain the Kenya Premier League is still on track. This after they beat moneybags Wazito FC 1-0 at Machakos on Saturday.
Additional Reporting from futaa.com
Charles Momanyi scored the important goal in the second half, heading in Kenneth Muguna’s freekick in the 60th minute. The midfielder had another chance of making it 2-0 but could not capitalize. Inside the box, with no keeper, Lawrence had one job to do, and that is finding the back of the net but his shot went above the crossbar.
Gor Mahia was denied what appeared to be a clear goal in the stoppage time as Juma’s strike kissed the crossbar and bounced in but it didn’t count.
Wazito 0-1 Gor Mahia
Early in the game, the two sides were giving out possession as they had not settled well at Kenyatta. Gor Mahia started settling into the game, making good passes and fine runs but could not break Wazito’s defence and this saw the pair settle for a goalless draw in the first half.
The second half was much better for K’ogalo and the defending champions managed to take the lead in the 60th minute through Charles Momanyi. Gor Mahia had a free kick on the left flank and captain Kenneth Muguna stepped up to take it. He delivered a beautiful freekick inside the danger zone of Wazito and the defence could not clear leaving Momanyi to head past Kevin Omondi.
Gor Mahia players were appealing for a penalty after Dennis Ng’ang’a appeared to have handled the ball inside penalty area but the referee waved play on.
Lawrence’s disallowed goal
Juma had the ball outside the box, he took a touch before firing a shot past keeper, it hit the crossbar and bounced inside. The midfielder’s celebration was cut short as his goal was disallowed. A clear goal, but no VAR, in KPL.
The Green Army are now on top of the table with 31 points, one above second-placed Tusker who earlier in the day thrashed Chemelil Sugar 7-0. Gor Mahia’s next fixture will be against Kakamega Homeboyz on Sunday 12th while Wazito will take on AFC Leopards.
As the decade comes to an end, lets take a look back at the players who made the most impact to the team during the decade of 2010 to 2019.
Goalkeeper: Jerim Onyango
Jerim joined Kogalo in 2009 from KRA. He was team captain for three years. A natural team leader who inspired the playing unit through words and by leading through example. He was the best goalkeeper in the country in 2013. The moment of his career came when Gor Mahia played away to US Bitam of Gabon. On that day he saved three penalties to steer Gor Mahia to the next round.
Right Back: Karim Nizigiyimana
He joined Gor Mahia in 2015 and played for three years. During this period he was a solid defender and provided an extra dimension when going forward with his precise crosses. In 2016 he was voted the defender of the year and he led the league in assists
Left Back : Godfrey Walusimbi
A solid left back who was also very useful when going forward. Comfortable at either full back or in midfield. Very well poised and controlled on the ball. He joined Gor Mahia in 2013 and stayed on for four years.
Centre Back: David Owino Calabar
When he joined from Nakuru All Stars in 2012, the then coach Zdravko Logarusic was not too impressed. The Croatian coach preferred towering centre backs like Emuge and Mosoti. But Calabar being adaptable, earned his way into the starting line-up by playing at either full back position. When Bobby Williamson became coach in 2014, Calabar cemented his place at centre back but occassionally played at full back. He earned his nickname because of the man of the match performance against Nigeria in Calabar when Kenya held Nigeria 1-1.
Centre Back: Harun Shakava
He joined Gor Mahia from Kakamega Homeboyz. A towering no-nonsense defender who solidified the centre back position and eventually became team captain in 2017
Defensive Midfielder: Godfrey Baba Kizito
A consumate midfielder who combined a strong defensive presence with superb passing and playmaking skills which he used to rapidly switch from defence to offence. He played for Kogalo in 2014, helping the club win its second successive title.
Right Midfield: Moses Odhiambo Dube
An intelligent player who always made the correct decision on the field and always made the right pass leading to several crucial goals. Before joining Gor Mahia, he had played in Rwanda and Tanzania. His experience and leadership came in handy.
Left Midfield: Francis Kahata
He is the best playmaker the club fielded in this decade. Very good at linking play. Superior vision. And precise accuracy in the delivery of his passes. Led the team in assists in all the seasons he played.
Attacking midfield: Rama Salim
Rama could play in any attacking position. His combination and understanding with Dan Sserunkuma is among the best the club has ever seen.
Striker: Jacque Tuyisenge
He gets the nod over Olunga and Kagere for the simple reason that his impact at the club was larger. He played for far more seasons and left as one of the top 5 scorers in the history of the club. He was instrumental in three league titles.
Striker Dan Sserunkuma
In 2013, the club had not won a league title for 18 seasons. Twice in the previous four years, the club had lost the league on the last day. In 2013 , Sserunkuma went on a scoring tear that helped secure the first league title since 1995. Most memorable was his goal against Sofapaka that secured the league by eliminating Sofapaka from contention. Most notable was that he almost always scored in the Mashemeji derby.
Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda has assured fans that coach Polack will be returning on December 30. There have been fears after Polack himself stated that he was unsure of his future.
Additional reporting from the Nation
Kenyan Premier League giants Gor Mahia have dispelled rumours that coach Steven Polack, who left the country on Sunday evening for his native England for Christmas holiday, will not return to the club in a week’s time as expected.
The club’s CEO Lordvick Aduda has urged K’Ogalo faithful to be calm, saying the coach would be back on December 30 since he still has a two-year contract with the club.
“Polack will certainly be back and we are not worried about that. Why should it be an issue when the coach leaves to join his family for Christmas? He has contract with us and unless he tell us otherwise, he is still our coach and we expect him back on Monday,” said Aduda.
Before travelling, Polack oversaw K’Ogalo’s 3-0 win over Kisumu All Stars 3-0 in a Kenyan Premier League match on Sunday, a result that put Gor Mahia back at the summit of the standings with three matches in hand.
Speaking to Nation Sport on Sunday before departing, Polack said his assistant Patrick Odhiambo will be in charge of their league match against Posta Rangers at Narok Stadium on December 29.
“I a m going home for holidays and my assistant Patrick Odhiambo will take charge of the team. I will be back on December 30 to continue with my duties but in case of anything, I will personally communicate my decision to the club management,” Polack said, raising fears that he may not be back to continue with his duties as Gor Mahia’s coach.
Yikpe officially joins Yanga
Ivorian striker Gislain Yikpe has completed his move from Gor Mahia to Yanga Sports Club, the club confirmed on Monday.
The club through its website confirmed the signing of the Ivorian who unceremoniously left financially crippled K’Ogalo last week.
“Striker Yipke Gnamien will join the rest of Yanga squad in Mbeya tomorrow (Tuesday) after reaching an agreement with the club. We can confirm that he has passed the medical test,” said the statement from the club.
Despite joining the squad for their pre-match training ahead of their league match against Mbeya City, Yikpe and four other new signings will not feature for their new club.
The Ivorian might however make his debut against Tanzania Prison FC on Thursday.
Gor Mahia had signed Yikpe from SC Gagnoa in July as a replacement for Rwandan hitman Jacques Tuyisenge, who had joined Petro de Atletico of Angola.
For the first time in three seasons, Gor Mahia will not be in the group stage of the CAF Confederations cup. This after they lost 2-1 away to DC Motema Pembe
Additional Reporting from the Nation
Kenyan champions Gor Mahia were Sunday eliminated from Caf Confederation Cup after losing 2-1 to DR Congo giants DC Motema Pembe in the second leg play-off match in Kinshasa.
K’Ogalo failed to advance to the group stage after losing 3-2 on aggregate having settled for a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Kasarani a week ago.
At Stade Tata Raphaël Stadium, Wellington Ochieng handed Gor Mahia the lead in the 10th minute before Vinny Bongonga drew the hosts level in stoppage time of first half. Junior Kone then scored the winner for Motema Pembe in the 64th minute.
Wellington opened the scoring in the 10th minute after beating Motema Pembe’s keeper Mouko Marel with a rasping drive from the edge of the box.
Gor held on for the better part of the first half but were unlucky to concede on the brink of half time when Vinny Bongonga tapped in the equaliser.
Steven Polack made his first change in the 47th minute withdrawing the ineffective Nicholas Kipkurui for Ernest Wendo to help strengthen the midfield and it worked as the visitors poured forward in attack.
Gor almost went ahead in the 53rd minute but Wellington’s connection to Kenneth Muguna’s delivery from a corner went wide. On the other end, Bongonga shot wide in the 59th after Doxa Gikanji picked him out with a cross.
The moment Motema Pembe silently craved arrived in the 64th minute when Kone capitalised on a defensive lapse to score from close range.
Gor missed a glorious chance to level in the 78th minute after Muguna’s deep cross was cleared by Inonga Varane with Lawrence Juma lurking.
Gor Mahia will open their 2019-2020 Kenya Premier League campaign with a match against Tusker on Saturday. The match will be played at Kisumu.
The match was originally slated for Machakos
“We don’t have fans in Machakos and hence the decision to shift the game to Kisumu, where we have many fans and we know they will turn in large numbers to support the team.” said Omondi Aduda to goal.com
Aduda also noted that eticketing will be utilized for all matches
“That is what we have adopted and it is part of our new plans to restructure the day to day running of the club,” Aduda continued.
“We want to maximise on the revenue we get from gate collections and also bring order when it comes to fans purchasing tickets. We will not accept cash at the gates, and anyone intending to attend the match should purchase his or her ticket online.”
With eTicketing, the attendance and gate proceeds should be made public as soon as ticket sales have been completed, which is typically during the match.
Aigle coach: Gor Mahia have weak links
Aigle Noir coach Joslin Bifpubusa thinks that Gor Mahia has certain players who are weak links and that this issue will need to be resolved before Gor Mahia play against USM Alger.
“Gor are a good side with good players, and they played some good football.
However, they will have to make some amends to their team if they are to make it past USM Alger.
“There are some two players in the team I felt they do not deserve to be given a starting berth, yes they might have a certain role to play, but I think they are a weak link in the team.
“Maybe it is because the coach did not have all his players available for the game and had to do with them.” he said to goal.com
The Burundian coach said his team lost due to inexperience.
“We sold about 90% of our players and those with me are completely new, and their lack of experience was exposed. Stagefright got the better of them and it contributed to the two goals which we conceded within the first 20 minutes. I just wish Gor Mahia all the best in their next game, but for us we need to go and continue rebuilding.” he said.
Polack Impressed with Tobias Otieno
One of the surprise signings of this season is Tobias Otieno. The Youthful midfielder previously played for the Gor Mahia U19 team.
“Otieno is a brilliant midfielder. He is still very young and has age on his side and I honestly think he will develop into one of the best defensive midfielders,” Polack told the Nation
Polack also noted that Otieno is a keen learner.
“He is very eager to learn and constantly asks questions on positioning and other technical aspects of the game and this is a clear indication of a player who is serious with his career,” he concluded.
Gor Mahia are through to the 1st round of the CAF Champions League after an impressive 5-1 win over Aigle Noir of Burundi.
Additional Reporting from Citizen Sport
Gor Mahia marched on to round one of the CAF Champions League in style after burying clueless Burundian side Aigle Noir 5-1 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Sunday.
The match was delicately poised having drawn 0-0 in the first leg meet in Bujumbura a fortnight ago but every pundit expected K’Ogalo to carry the day at home and they did not disappoint.
Captain Kenneth Muguna led from the front giving K’Ogalo the lead in the 10th minute, and six minutes later, former Zoo Kericho man Nicholas Kipkirui widened the advantage for Steven Pollack’s men, scoring from a corner, before adding another in the 38th minute, heading in from a throw ball.
In a frantic first half that saw Kipkirui claim a brace, Boniface Omondi missed to score from a one-on-one situation with the opposing goalie while Gor’s shot stopper David Mapigano had to be attended to after colliding with striker Kennedy Seburiba.
Gor continued from where they’d left in the second half, Dickson Ambundo putting his name on the score-sheet with the fourth, in the 68th minute, before Boniface Omondi added another.
Joash Onyango was a cog in Gor’s defence with newly promoted player from the youth team Tobias Otieno showing his worth in the defence.
Mapigano was untested in the second half but the laxity cost him in the 79th minute with Aigle striker Jospin Nshmirimana tapping home a simple cross to make it 5-1
With six minutes to go, Ernest Wendo was introduced for Lawrence Juma in the midfield. The match ended 5-1 in aggregate.
Gor will now meet in round one, the aggregate winner between USM Algers of Algeria and Niger’s Sonidep who collide later today from 1900hrs.
Kenya Harambee stars were bundled out of the CHAN qualifier on Sunday. This after settling for a scoreless draw and losing 4-1 on penalties.
Joash Onyango and Philemon Otieno manned the defense while Samuel Onyango was in the attack.
Additional reporting from the Nation
For the fifth time of asking, Kenya has failed to qualify for the Africa Nations Championship (Chan).
On Sunday, Harambee Stars were beaten 4-1 on post-match penalties by Tanzania following a dull game at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in a game that will put French coach Sebastian Migne under pressure.
This result means Kenya will not play at the 2020 Chan tournament in Cameroon in January.
Kenya also failed to qualify for the last edition of this tournament two years ago after the government failed to build stadiums required to host a tournament of this calibre. Consequently, Confederation of African Football took away the hosting rights and handed them to Morocco.
Meanwhile, Sunday aftenoon’s game ended goalless, a similar score line to the one attained when these two teams met in the first leg at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam a week ago.
In the shoot out, veteran Tanzania goalkeeper Juma Kaseja rolled back the years, saving Micheal Kibwage’s opening penalty.
Gor Mahia’s Joash Onyango blasted his kick over the bar, while Clifton Miheso was the only player from team Kenya to beat Kaseja from 12 yards.
Tanzania meanwhile, converted all their four penalties via Erasto Nyoni, Paulo Nyanganya, Gadiel Micheal and Salim Hamis.
“We are disappointed with this result,” said Kenya captain Dennis Odhiambo.
“Things didn’t work out and we failed to score a goal in 180 minutes. That’s where the problem is.”
This is the second time Taifa Stars are eliminating their northern neighbours in this championship, even though the game was anything but exciting.
It turned into a disjointed affair at the onset, perhaps owing to the fact that both sets of players were enjoying their end of season break.
That said, Tanzania were slightly the better of the two teams in the first 15 minutes.
In the opening moments, Tanzania’s John Bocco had a sniff at Kenya’s goal.
But then, the Simba striker failed to trouble Kenyan goalie Jeff Oyemba with his shot, which whistled well wide after a cross from Nyoni.
Kenyan defender Philemon Otieno soon after was stretched off after a collision and replaced by Ibrahim Shambi.
Soon after, the hosts won a free kick at the edge of the area and Miheso blasted wide.
The gigantic Bocco then fared better with his next chance, but still, his header was easily dealt with by Oyemba.
Upfront for Kenya, the Kariobangi Sharks duo of Sydney Lokale and Duke Abuya appeared ineffective.
Not once in the opening half an hour did either trouble Kaseja.
Stars huddled together for a moment, possibly in prayer, before the start of the second stanza.
Soon after, an exciting combination between Abuya and Miheso down the left hand side gifted
Whyvonne Isuza with a great opportunity. But then the Leopards midfielder appeared to handle the ball before shooting off target and was penalised for that.
Locale then wasted a half chance via a counter attack after hesitating with the final ball when perhaps releasing Isuza would have been a better option.
Substitute Enos Ochieng, making his first competitive international debut, handled the ball in the box when he was through on goal. Ochieng again fluffed at the critical moment, and that was it.