Since 2014, Gor Mahia have been trying to sell their authentic jerseys to no avail. Sales have been abysmal. A few months ago, Chairman Ambrose Rachier said on Citizen TV that the club is making no money from jersey sales. The reason he indicated is that cheaper knock offs are available from enterprising pirates.
In fact as far back as 2012 when Tuzo sponsored Kogalo, Tuzo themselves complained about abysmal jersey sales and cited it as one of the reasons for ending the sponsorship. At the time, Brookside were in charge of jersey sales and the club took only 10 percent of revenue from jersey sales. But even a big company like Brookside dairies could not compete with pirates.
Knock off jerseys are available for a fraction of the price of official replicas. Gor Mahia first tried to sell their official kit at Ksh 5000. When it was not selling, they knocked the price down to Ksh 3500. Still sales are abysmal.
Meanwhile knock-offs are available for Ksh 1000, and sometimes even less. When Gor Mahia went to play in Kericho earlier this year, pirates were selling “Kipkirui” labeled jerseys at the stadium. And they did roaring business because Nicholas Kipkirui is still very popular in Kericho.
The definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over and expect different results. If you can’t beat the pirates then join them. The fact is that broke Kenyans will never buy a Gor Mahia jersey at Ksh 3500. Gor Mahia should just link up with a printing shop and make cheaper jerseys for sale at Ksh 1000.
In fact Gor Mahia also missed on opportunities to cash in on popular players like Francis Kahata whose jersey would have been a big seller in central province.
There are other opportunities. For example, Pirates are selling Gor Mahia scarves and even T-Shirts. And as far back as the early 1990s, there were pirates selling ballpoint pens with “Gor Mahia” printed on them. They were sold at the stadium at three times the cost of a regular ballpoint pen and many fans would buy.
Sell at the stadium and educate fans.
These jerseys should be sold at the stadium when Gor Mahia are playing. Further to that, fans should be educated on the importance of only buying from locations that are sanctioned by the club.
Account for the money
It has been said many times but it is worth repeating. If fans think the money is being miss-appropriated, they will not participate in any initiative that is meant to raise funds for the club. Indeed many fans who used to flood the stadium around 2011 and 2012 have stated that they stopped attending because they think officials are misappropriating gate proceeds.
This article is not a reaction to Sportpesa’s decision to terminate all sponsorship. Whether or not the club has a sponsor, they should stop selling merchandize at five times the price that pirates are selling. It is madness. This is especially true considering that one can buy EPL jerseys for only and jerseys of popular teams like Barcelona for Ksh 1000.
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.
Gor Mahia’s recent CAF Confederations cup quarter-final matchup against RS Berkane was nothing but an unmitigated disaster, perhaps one of the worst in the club’s illustrious history. But it was not the first time that the club’s players, officials or external forces had conspired . In fact former player Innocent Mutiso was on television recently recalling the travel woes that the team experienced when they went to Gabon to face off with US Bitam.
2019: Berkane Shame
After qualifying for the quarter-final to much fanfare, Gor Mahia players went on strike three days before the first leg against Berkane. According to Chairman Rachier, they had just been paid their March salaries a day earlier. One would think that the players would seek this opportunity to showcase their abilities for potential suitors including this very Moroccan side. By going on strike, they denied coach Hassan Oktay the opportunity to put his finishing touches on match preparations. Plus their state of mind was clearly not focused on the game. The predictable result was that they lost 2-0. North African teams are not to be trifled with and maximum preparation and focus is needed.
The second leg was a complete disaster. Gor Mahia was notified by CAF of the match schedule a good 24 days before the team was to travel to Berkane. That was ample time to plan the trip. But it appears that both Gor Mahia and the Ministry of sports left travel planning and ticket allocation to the very last moment. The net result was a shambolic traveling program. Players arrived mere hours before the match, some after having spent nights sleeping on airport floors.
Gor Mahia lost the second leg 5-1 largely due to mental and physical fatigue. Again North African teams are very adept at changing their tactics to exploit weakness whether it is fatigue or lack of focus.
2018: So near yet so far
In 2018, Gor Mahia qualified for the CAF Confederations cup after unexpectedly eliminating much fancied Supersport of South Africa, a team whose budget is several times larger than Gor Mahia. Then in the group stage, Gor Mahia was placed with what seemed like an easy group with Young Africans of Tanzania, Rayon Sport of Rwanda and USM Alger of Algeria. It seemed like a glorious opportunity for Gor Mahia to advance past the group stage.
Indeed Gor Mahia started well, forcing an away draw to Rayon sports. In the second match, they completely outplayed USM Alger but settled for a scoreless draw. They then beating Yanga 4-0 and 3-2. It seemed like Kogalo were coasting to the next stage. Then things begun to come loose at the seams. The Kenya Premier League saw it fit to give Gor Mahia a heavy August schedule in which they played 10 matches in 29 days. Stalwart Meddie Kagere suddenly packed his bags and left for Simba of Dar es Salaam, while long serving defender Godfrey Walusimbi also dissappeared, only to surface at Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa.
Gor Mahia ended up in a shock home loss to Rayon Sport before losing to USM Alger thus ending their aspirations of going to the next stage.
Coach Dylan Kerr described difficult conditions that he had to put up with during the 2018 campaign that included constant player strikes due to non payment of dues, traveling to Machakos to play Esperance the day before the match and being stuck in traffic for 8 hours. The trip to USM Alger which took a colossal 38 hours including a 28 hour stint in a Moroccan airport in which the players once again slept on the airport floor. The coach pleaded with club officials to sort these issues out.
In 2015, a very strong Gor Mahia squad won the league unbeaten and appeared poised for a glorious continental campaign. In the process they scored an incredible 60 goals and finished 20 points ahead of second placed Ulinzi Stars. Kogalo appeared poised for continental glory. But it was not to be. The attacking trio of Ali Abondo, Michael Olunga and Meddie Kagere who had scored 43 of Gor Mahia’s 60 goals in the league campaign all departed. Thus as Gor Mahia faced CNAPs whom they had beaten a year earlier, Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall had to deploy a makeshift line-up.
What is worse, Nuttall was unhappy with Chairman Rachier who was demanding that Nuttall take a significant paycut. Nuttall was fired only a week before the match against CNAPs, only to be re-instated due to fan pressure a day before the match. But the lack of physical and psychological preparation was evident as Gor Mahia lost 1-2 at home to CNAPs before losing the second leg 0-1. Nuttall soon left in a huff only to surface on the bench of Zamalek as an assistant coach.
2015: Kogalo peppered by AC Leopards
In the 2015 Africa Champions League, Gor Mahia managed to eke out a narrow win over CNAPs of Madagascar in the preliminary round. Next they faced AC Leopards of Congo-Brazza.
Unfortunately for Kogalo, they had to make do without three key players: Meddie Kagere, Karim Nizigiyimana and Abouba Sibomana. This because the players were not registered with CAF. In fact Chairman Rachier admitted that only 19 players were eligible to play against AC Leopards. Gor Mahia put on a fight but without key players and with only 19 players to chose from, they lost both legs 1-0.
2012: Ferroviario woes
Gor Mahia qualified for the 2012 CAF Confederations cup by virtue of having won the domestic cup in 2011. The Camerounian Anaba Awono was appointed head coach after a stint as assistant coach. They then went on a signing spree to boost the club for continental action. In came Ali Bondo, George Midenyo ,David Owino, Ivo Mapunda, Rama Salim ,Baldin Ngwa, Wyclifee Kasaya, Tony Nyangor, Ibrahim Kitawi, Yusuf Juma, Hugo Nzangu,Peter Juma, Donald Musoti and Felix Nwosu.
Gor Mahia now had a massive squad of over 30 players, presenting coach Awono with a selection headache that was worsened by certain players. Equally bloated was the technical bench.
Gor Mahia played Ferroviario of Mozambique in the opening round. On paper it should not have been a difficult match. But the Mozambicans ran rings and concentric circles around Gor Mahia winning 3-0 in Maputo. Collins Okoth was red carded in the second half to add to Gor Mahia’s woes. It would have been worse had Jerim Onyango not saved a penalty.
Upon returning, reports emerged about infighting within the Kogalo bench. Coach Awono was not in control. There was constant bickering between him and team manager Jolawi Obondo. There was also cartel like behavior from EC members, some of whom demanded playing time for certain players. In the end, chairman Ambrose Rachier sent the entire technical bench packing including Awono, Jolawi, Zablon Otieno and Julius Owino. It was not enough however as Gor Mahia with club legend Bobby Ogolla now in charge, lost the return leg 1-0 .
2009: APR hammering
In 2008, an unfancied Gor Mahia side full of unknown players ended up winning the KFF cup, beating Posta Rangers in the final. It was an unexpected win as Gor Mahia had finished 9th in the league standings and were unimpressive. The win earned them the right to play in the CAF confederations cup. James Sianga was in rebuilding mode and stacked his team with youthful players.
Experts commented that the team was too young and inexperienced and would be unable to withstand the rigours of continental football. They were right. Gor Mahia lost the opening leg 5-0 to a highly experienced APR side that had players from Congo, Tanzania and even Kenya (Moses Odhiambo). The youthful Kogalo side suffered stage fright. The only experienced Gor mahia players were Zablon Otieno and Julius Owino
The trouble with building a completely youthful side is that young players tend to be inconsistent, error prone and crumble under pressure. However Sianga said that he had no choice because the club did not have the financial wherewithal to
Gor Mahia Line-up: Jerry Onyango, Julius Awilo, Stephen Otieno, Isaac Omollo, Francis Akango, Tony Onyango, Habil Otieno, Elisha Ochieno, Christopher Wekesa, George Odhiambo, Zablon Otieno.
1983: Vital O Fiasco
By the beginning of 1983, Gor Mahia was still in turmoil after a disastrous 1982 season that saw numerous players suspended from the club. Gor Mahia were in rebuilding mode with several youthful players. They had qualified for the 1983 Cup winners cup by virtue of finishing second in the 1982 league campaign.
They started their continental campaign in excellent fashion, beating Vital O of Burundi 2-1 away in Bujumbura. The scorers were Bobby Ogolla who scored from a direct free-kick and Abdalla Shebe. But thats when disaster struck. The players who had been suspended in the previous season and were still under suspension, infiltrated the Gor Mahia camp and convinced other Gor Mahia players to revolt supposedly because they were being mistreated by the club brass.
Gor Mahia ended up losing the second leg 3-0 at City stadium, putting on one of the poorest performances ever seen by the club. In the aftermath, Andrew Obunga, Mike Ogolla “Machine”, Charles Ondiek and George Ayuka were expelled from the club by Chairman Zack Mbori.
1982: Dynamo de Fima Disaster
In 1982 what looed like a strong and experienced Kogalo side was pitted against Dynamo de Fima of Madagascar. But yet again a player revolt ended Gor Mahia’s continental campaign. The players had been promised that they would camp at Grosvenor Hotel. But upon arriving from a build up tour of Ethiopia, the bus took them to Lenana high school. The players revolted at what they considered substandard accommodation. They refused to train and refused to travel to Madagascar for the return leg. In the end Gor Mahia was disqualified and fined heavily for not honoring the return fixture.
Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier and Deputy Secretary General Ronald Ngala, who is the longest serving official at the club, gave an extensive interview to Rashid Abdallah of Citizen TV.
First off kudos to the duo. They addressed a number of issues including restructuring the club, jersey sales, infighting and so forth.
At around 25:22, the presenter tell Rachier and Ngala that many fans have refused to become paying members because they worry that the money will be used to line the pockets of officials.
Rachier answered by stating that many Gor Mahia fans have a mentality and culture that they want results but are not willing to pay for match tickets or become paying members. He then added that the club’s leadership is not at fault for this.
At 41:22, Rashid again presses the duo stating that fans have been appealing for tranparency for decades and yet this transparency has never materialized
Ronald Ngala dismisses the question by using the old argument that people who are not club members have no business demanding transparency.
He then says that transparency in ticket sales is not needed because fans can estimate gate collections by looking at how large the crowd is.
What is wrong with this scenario
Fans polled on social media and elsewhere have openly stated that they no longer attend matches because they think the money is lining the pockets of officials. The falling attendance is largely due to such concerns.
The same fans have also stated that they will not become paying members due to lack of transparency. Yet Mr. Rachier claims that its the culture of the fans that hinders fans from registering as members. Has he actually asked fans why they don’t become members?
To put it simply if club officials do not put in place mechanisms to assuage fans concerns about the opacity of club finances, attendance will continue to be low and membership will continue to lag. As things stand now, the club has only 274 paying members.
Fans have been asking for transparency for decades. Yours truly spoke to club officials about this in the late 1990s when the club started to spiral downwards. The then officials promised to implement transparency procedures. Nothing came of it.
Twenty years later the club officials still think the fans have no
business questioning the use of the club’s finances. Incredible.
Many ideas have been floated including having an independent accounting
company audit and publish the club accounts on a regular basis.
Case in Point
When Gor Mahia played Hull City in May 2018, Kasarani stadium was filled to the brim. Which means as many as 60,000 fans attended. Yet the club treasurer announced that only 30,000 tickets were sold.
“In total, we sold 30, 000 tickets, and that includes both VIP and terrace tickets. I believe we could have sold more, but there were several complimentary tickets as well as several courtesy card holders who were allowed free access into the stadium. ” said Sally Bolo
It beggars belief that 30,000 fans paid and another 30,000 entered as courtesy card holders. Many fans cried foul. These issues can be addressed via more transparency (electronic ticketing).
Back in the early 1990s, President Daniel arap Moi gave both Gor Mahia and AFC leopards adjacent peices of land at Kasarani in which to build a club-house and a training ground. Both clubs dilly dallied and the land was quickly grabbed and sold off by a well connected bigwig. Both clubs then pleaded with Moi to give them alternate pieces of land. Moi obliged and gave both clubs land, this time at Embakassi. Twenty five years on, the club has done nothing with the land. For years not much was known about the status of the land. The last reliable report about the land was back in 2008 when club officials said they could not develop the land because it was occupied by squatters. The club officials have maintained a studious silence about the status of the land. This has left fans wondering what exactly is the status of the land. Was it grabbed again? Was it sold off by unscrupulous officials?
The picture is beginning to be a little clearer thanks to research by fans who have uncovered useful information. Most notably a fan, Okil Kamaloka was able to dig up the title deed which still indicates that the piece of land belongs to the club.
Images provided by Okil Kamaloka
A previous report by Odindo Ayieko back in 2009 indicated that the land title deed number was LR9042/560
Former Club Chairman Erastus Okul spoke of the difficulty of claiming the land at the time.
“We even managed to get a title deed but now it seems it will be even more difficult to get hold of it now that squatters have put up houses there. The squatters claim they bought the land, yet they have no documents to support their argument. But they say they are not moving from there either.” said former Gor Mahia chairman, Erastus Okul.
Gor Mahia spends tens of thousands of shillings to train at Camp Toyoyo everyday and tens of thousands more to rent office space. All this is money that the club can save if they develop their land and build a training ground and a clubhouse.
By Monday April 16, only two days before Kogalo were to play against Supersport United Gor Mahia still had not obtained tickets nor visas. It took the geneosity of Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko to save the day when he donated 30 tickets. This after Sports minister Mike Achesa had refused to facilitate tickets. Then the intervention of Ababu Namwamba (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) enabled K’Ogalo to obtain Visas. Still it was too late to save the day for Ephrem Guikan and Tuyisenge who both missed the trip because their work permits did not meet the criteria required by the South African consulate.
Gor Mahia officials have known for over a month that they would require South Africa visas. And fans have been posting online and in social media that previous Kenyan teams have had difficulty getting such visas. In fact the Kenya women’s youth team once camped at the South Africa embassy after the South African embassy started to make things difficult for their travel.
Yet despite all the advance notice, no one in the Executive Committee saw it fit to start working on obtaining Visas and tickets. Had it not been for Namwamba, who likes sports and a Nairobi governor (Sonko) who is wealthy enough to donate tickets, Gor Mahia would have been disqualified from the 2018 Confederations cup and possible barred from competing in 2019.
So Kogalo fans must thank Sonko for his generosity and Namwamba for coming to the rescue of the club. But Kogalo fans must demand better from the Chairman. How is it possible that he has been in power since 2008 a but has never seen it fit to change the constitution so the club is run by competent people? And how is it that Ludovick Aduda keeps getting appointed as CEO yet he has not proven competent? One wonders what qualifies him to be the club CEO and what if any accomplishments he has achieved.
For years the club fans have asked for a competent person to be appointed as General Manager. This person should be in charge of the day to day affairs of the club including ticketing, visas, air-tickets, matchday tickets, accounting and so forth. Eventually the club can expand and start appointing another person to perform tasks like marketing the club, pursuing sponsorships and so forth. This person should be on a performance contract. The more money he brings into the club, the more money he should be paid. Let an established firm like KPMG perform the recruiting and hiring of these individuals.
Gor Mahia has lost several international matches due to self inflicted errors. This is because our system of elections does not yield the best candidates. Its time to create a progressive constitution where competent people are hired to run the club. An independent body like KPMG should interview and hire these people. Left to Rachier, he will likely appoint Ludovick Aduda again.
Kogalo was lucky this time that Sonko and Namwamba came to the rescue. If they continue like this then we might see worse during the group stage. Fans must now make their voices heard. We need competent people running the club.
Since Gor Mahia signed a sponsorship deal with Sportpesa, the club has released at least half a dozen different jersey designs. This means that by now, ardent Kogalo fans could have all six jersey designs in their closet or wardrobe.
Unfortunately the club is not taking advantage of these merchandizing opportunities.Most fans who purchase jerseys are still purchasing the old jerseys from 2010 which are made by enterprising businessmen and sold at River road or elsewhere.
If you attend a Kogalo match, you still see fans predominantly wearing these old jerseys.
And opportunities for merchandizing are limitless: Caps, pens, hats, Tshirts, calendars. Back 30 years ago, the club created a calendar to commemorate the continental triumph. Yours truly remembers remembers visiting many relatives who had this calendar plastered on their walls.
Calendars and other items can be made to commemorate various occassions such as when the club won the league unbeaten (1976 and 2015), when the club won the league after a 18 year hiatus (2013) and so forth.
But it requires fans to be educated on where to buy jerseys such that the club benefits.
Kogalo are always facing intense competition from clubs in Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa for the services of key players. Which means the club should always be looking for opportunities to market the club’s merchandize.
Ambrose Rachier announced that the launch of Gomalotto will enable the team to raise far more funds than it can raise via sponsorship, membership or Harambees. The goal according to Rachier is to build a clubhouse, a stadium and an academy.
Mr. Rachier has been promising to build a stadium since he was first elected chairman in 2008. A noble goal indeed. But if the stadium is built, where will the stadium be built.
During the 1990s, then president Moi gave both Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards land on which to build a clubhouse and a training ground. The land was located near Kasarani stadium.
Gor Mahia officials of the time held a formal ceremony which in Luo tradition is called “Goyo Dala” which means creating a homestead. The officials even excitedly announced that the next ceremony would be “Goyo Ligala” which means breaking ground on the first home within the homestead. But nothing happened and the land was eventually grabbed by a political bigwig. Gor Mahia and AFC fans appealed to Moi again and he gave them both land at Embakassi. But again nothing was done with that land. It was not even fenced off. The most recent reports suggest that the land is occupied by squatters.
If Rachier is serious about his plan to build a clubhouse, a training ground or a stadium, he should clarify what the exact state of that land is.
Does the club have the proper title deed? and if not what happened to it.
Is it possible to evict the squatters? if the club does not have the wherewithal to evict squatters then a better idea would be to sell the land and instead purchase land in a location where the club can actually build.
Just having its own training ground will save the club colossal amounts of money. It was previously reported that Gor Mahia used to pay City stadium Ksh 10,000 per day to train at City stadium for only four hours. This means a training ground could save the club over Ksh 200,000 per month. It would also allow players to spend more time on the training ground which would further sharpen their skills. The training ground can also be rented out to other teams. A gym and a clubhouse can raise money for the club because space can be rented out for various functions. And if the club does eventually build a stadium, they could raise significant amounts unlike the current arrangements where stadiums sometimes take as much as 40% of the gate proceedings.
Jerim Onyango’s career at Gor Mahia appears to have come to and end. And it has been an illustrious career. Jerry “Jagoal” as he is popularly known, played for Gor Mahia for nine seasons (2008 to 2016).
He joined Gor Mahia from KRA in 2008 just when Gor Mahia started its recovery path from the doldrums. He immediately found his way into the starting line-up, taking the place of Jacktone Odhiambo who left to join Ulinzi. Odhiambo had been a reliable custodian, but Jerim proved a better option. He had early success, helping Kogalo win the FKF cup in 2008
He would immediately establish himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the country. With Jerim between the posts, Gor Mahia improved from 8th place in 2008 to 5th place in 2009 before coming close to winning the league in 2010 and again in 2012. His first national team call up came in 2011. When the previous long serving captain Julius Owino left the club, Jerim was the natural choice to become captain due to his leadership abilities. Indeed he was voted captain by his team-mates for three years in a row.
When Kogalo finally won the league in 2013 after an 18 year hiatus, it was largely because they conceded only 15 goals, which was seven better than the next closest team. And Jerim was the focal point of Gor Mahia’s stingy defence with incredible save after incredible save. Indeed 2013 was his best year. It was the year he was voted KPL goalkeeper of the year and was the first choice goalkeeper for Harambee stars. So good was Jerim that he received overtures from arch rivals AFC Leopards who offered him a contract.
His only drawback among fans was his inability to save penalties. He would put those doubts to rest in dramatic fashion in January of 2014 in the opening round of the Africa champions league against US Bitam of Gabon. On that day Jerim saved two penalties in the run of play and two more penalties in the ensuing penalty shootout to steer Kogalo into the next round.
Jerim was the first choice goalkeeper throughout 2014. Though he lost his starting position in 2015, Jerim was still captain and the most dedicated player on the squad, encouraging players from the bench and in training while maintaining a positive attitude even when he was not getting playing time.
Having played for Gor Mahia for nine seasons, Jerim is probably the longest serving player the club has had in the new millenium. Players today rarely stay at the top for that long. The club record for most years is likely held by George Otieno “Solo” who stayed for 13 years. So Jerim is among the longest serving players. And he did so with distinction, dedication, discipline and excellence while providing good leadership.
He will now pursue a career in politics. In 2017, Jerim will run for Member of County Assembly(MCA) in his home area of Ugunja in Ugenya constituency. He has been doing the groundwork for the past several years by holding the Jerry Jagoal tournament every year. He deserves the support of Kenya football fans as a thank you for years of dedicated service. The sport of football will benefit from having people like Jerim in positions where the sport can benefit.