PolackL Muguna did not fake injuries

Gor Mahia skipper Kenneth Muguna has missed the past few games citing an injury. But that has not stopped him from playing for the national team, leading some fans to accuse Muguna of faking the injury. However coach Polack has come forward to defend the skipper.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has defended captain Kenneth Muguna over claims that he feigned injury so as not to play for the club in the past three Kenya Premier League matches.

The midfielder last turned up for K’Ogalo during the Mashemeji Derby against AFC Leopards and a section of the fans have been questioning how he quickly recovered in less than a month to play for Harambee Stars in Cecafa Senior Challenge, which is ongoing in Uganda.

The fans had blasted the player for lack of respect and using the current financial situation to despise the club by faking injury as a way of protesting over delayed salaries.

But Polack has dismissed these critics, stating that the player was genuinely injured but has now fully recovered.

“Kenneth had an injury and he didn’t fake it as some of the fans are trying to imply. He has now recovered fully and that is why he is playing for Harambee Stars. I interact with this players daily and am sure he was truly injured,” said Polack.

“Am sure that he will come back and play for us against Kisumu All Stars after the end of Cecafa and therefore the fans don’t need to judge him harshly because he still plays an integral part in my team,” he added.

Muguna is among the players who have openly shown their displeasure with the club and is also reported to have handed in a letter requesting to leave the Kenyan champions.

The player has received interest from DC Motema Pembe who outwitted K’Ogalo in the preliminary stage of a two-leg Caf Confederation Cup in October.

Coach Steve Polack told the Daily Nation that he is considering quitting due to the issue of non-payment of salaries.

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack is contemplating leaving the club due to what he says are hard working condition occasioned by the tough financial constraints currently bedevilling the reigning Kenyan Premier League champions.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Polack has spoken of his frustrations over the ongoing strike by players who are protesting lack of salaries for the last four months, adding that him and his family are also feeling the pain of being broke.

K’Ogalo players, who are not participating in this year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, have not been honouring training sessions at Camp Toyoyo grounds since last Thursday demanding their dues.

The quartet of Cliffton Miheso, captain Kenneth Muguna, his assistant Joash Onyango and Lawrence Juma are the only club players who have travelled with the Harambee Stars squad to Uganda for the regional tournament.

“Things are continuing to be tough not only to the players but also for me. I’m the sole breadwinner for my family back at home and I have to pay for their house and take care of them. I will have to make a decision in a few days on the way forward,” said Polack, who admitted he is very broke.

The British coach remains optimistic the management will act to salvage the situation.

“I am just around but I urge the players to train at home to be physically fit. My hands are tied and I can’t discipline or fine them for not coming for training because they are financially down,” he added.

Last week, the Briton told Nation Sport that club chairman Ambrose Rachier had promised to settle salary arrears, but revealed that the promise is yet to be fulfilled.

Polack also lamented that the current situation has affected the performance of the team in their past encounters.

Gor has been undergoing tough financial times since the exit of their shirt sponsor SportPesa.

With the January transfer window beckoning, a number of players are rumoured to be on their way out of the club.

Defender Maurice Ojwang has already written a letter asking to be allowed to leave, while Muguna also through a sporting agency has requested to be released.

K’Ogalo, whose league match against Kisumu All Stars was postponed to December 22, currently lead the KPL table with 24 points.

Gor Mahia vs Kisumu All Stars postponed

The much anticipated match between Gor Mahia and newly promoted Kisumu All Stars, that was scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed because Gor Mahia have three players participating in the CECAFA club cup.

“We had written to four clubs informing them of the decision to reschedule their matches since the law says a club shouldn’t honour league games if three or more of their players are with the national team. It is only Tusker who informed us that they will continue with their match against Kariobangi Sharks in absence of their players and we have allowed them to proceed with the game,” said KPL CEO Jack Oguda to the Nation

Four Gor Mahia players are in the CECAFA squad: Clifford Miheso, Lawrence Juma, Joash Onyango and Kenneth Muguna

According to the Nation, KPL has since given out revised fixtures which will see the clubs, whose players are not participating in the regional tourney, break officially for holidays on December 16, while those whose matches have been postponed play on December 22 and 29.

Schedules are typically available on the KPL website. But the site is now shut down, another sign that the Kenya Premier League is in dire financial straits.

Two days ago, coach Steve Polack insisted that he was ready to play without the players on national team duty.

“I don’t think we will be affected in any way, they are among our best players but we are ready to continue with our positive run in the league without them,” Polack told goal.com on Monday.

“In fact, none of the players featured against Ulinzi Stars and we played very well, so it is the same thing, I have players in the reserve who will be asked to step up and I know they will do a wonderful job.

“I am not worried at all, I don’t think it should worry the fans too, they must stay focused and keep supporting us. We have a good squad to get worried when we miss three or five regular players.”

Polack: Salary issues are slowing us down

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack thinks that salary issues could jeopardize Gor Mahia’s 2019-2020 KPL campaign

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has raised concerns over lack of motivation in his playing unit due to unpaid salaries for the last four months.

K’Ogalo, who have won back-to-back Kenyan Premier League titles in the last three seasons, are on top of the log with 25 points, four ahead of second-placed Tusker with a game in hand.

The 18-time champions settled for a goalless draw with Ulinzi Stars at the weekend and Polack is worried that if the current financial situation persists it will impact negatively on the results.

“To win matches we have to sort all this issues so that players can concentrate. The league is very competitive and we have to get focused so as to win our matches,” Polack told Nation Sport on Monday.

Gor have had a rough patch financially since the exit of their shirt sponsors Sportpesa with players barely surviving on hand-outs from the management.

Reports indicate key players are on their way out. Defender Maurice Ojwang had written to the club requesting his release letter while captain Kenneth Muguna was conspicuously missing for the second game in a row during their weekend’s encounter.

Kipkirui has been away sorting out personal problems

Nicholas Kipkirui, whose Kogalo career rocketed to a promising start last season, has seen his form significantly dip this season and has often been left out of the line-up by coach Polack. Many fans have questioned why he is not being given opportunities. Coach Polack explained that Kipkirui has been beset by personal issues which he was sorting out.

“It is true he had personal problems but I guess now they are sorted out and he is ready to return, I will monitor him again in training and will see what happens.” said the coach to goal.com

Polack said that he was capable of detecting when a player’s form dips due to off the field issues.

“I watch these players in training every day, I see if they are good in training or bad, and sometimes they [players] have personal problems that affect them when they are playing and you cannot field such a player,” Polack told goal.com

“If they have personal problems, then I give them time to sort out the issues they are facing and then I see them again when they return to training because that is part of my job.

Polack also said Gor Mahia are keen to finish the first leg of the league at the top of the 17-team table.

“We want to finish at the top and our target is to win the matches we have ahead of us,” Polack continued.

“We tried our best to get maximum points against Ulinzi Stars but they opted to play a defensive game, which was difficult for us to break down. They played from the back and denied us access to play our flowing game.” he concluded.

Masoud Juma apologizes to Gor Mahia fans

In an attempt to make amends, Harambee stars striker Masoud Juma has taken to social media to publicly apologize to fans of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards for what he terms “A misunderstanding”.

“A day like this two years ago I had a misunderstanding with fans especially from Gor Mahia and AFC (Leopards). It was a bad show for sure but nothing has lost. Today, I just want to ask for their forgiveness from the bottom of my heart. It happens in football,” ,” Masoud wrote on his official Facebook page.

In 2017, Juma blasted fans of Gor Mahia and AFC, telling them he would never consider ‘playing for them because they were small teams and he was only interested in big teams.

Since then, he has turned out for four teams namely South Africa’s Cape Town City, Dibba El Fujairah (UAE), Al Nasr (Libya) and JS Kabyile (Algeria) but without notable success. He has not been in the frame for the national team.

Polack: We were average against Ulinzi

Gor Mahia were forced to draw for the first time this season and coach Steve Polack was left a dissappointed man after the match.

“It was an average display from my team, we did not play as we usually do,” Polack told goal.com

According to the coach, Kogalo did not play to their usual standards.

“Defensively we were better and did not allow [Ulinzi] to trouble our goalkeeper especially in the second half, but we also did not take the few chances we had. Yes, we did not lose the match, it is a point gained but I feel we did not play our usual game.” he continued.

Polack feels that the presence of the team captain would have made a difference.

“[Muguna] is a good player, but we did not have him for the game; maybe he could have helped us or not but he is a quality player,” Polack concluded.

And on a positive note, Boniface Oluoch kept a clean sheet for the third succesive game.

The draw enabled Gor Mahia to remain atop the standings with 25 points. Tusker area close second with 24 points after edging Bandari.  This season is proving to be a closer contest than last season.

Gor Mahia held by Ulinzi

Gor Mahia’s match against Ulinzi ended 0-0 at Moi Stadium Kisumu on Saturday. A defensively compact Ulinzi side was able to stave off Gor Mahia despite Gor Mahia dominating possession.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia were held to 0-0 draw by visiting Ulinzi Stars in their league tie at the Moi Stadium, Kisumu on Saturday.

The result leaves K’Ogalo top of the pile with 25 points, while Ulinzi are at 21 points garnered in 12 matches.

Ulinzi’s coach Benjamin Nyangweso applauded his players’ performance despite not registering a win. He blamed poor finishing by his forwards for the outcome.

“The match went according to plan. We came for three points but unfortunately only got a point. But a point against the defending champions is still a great plus for my team,” said coach Nyangweso.

His opposite number, Steven Polack commended his players for dominating the match but blamed poor concentration and lack of good decision making by his attackers for the draw.

“We never keep a match this simple like we did today. Ulinzi’s defence was solid and that outshone us at some point and we lost a lot of chances,” said Polack.


Polack is named October coach of the month

Coach Steve Polack has earned a well deserved accolade forllowing a series of excellent results.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia tactician Steven Polack has scooped the Fidelity Insurance Coach of the Month Award for October following a pulsating run of victories that kept the defending champions atop the league summit.

The Brit guided K’Ogalo to three victories in three matches, trouncing Nzoia Sugar 2-0, before narrowly dispatching struggling Zoo and Kariobangi Sharks each by a solitary goal.

During an award ceremony at the team’s training ground on Thursday in Nairobi, the tactician received a personalized plaque and Sh75000 courtesy of the insurer and follows in the footsteps of the last four Gor Mahia coaches who have landed the gong since its inception.

“I’m humbled to receive a personal award for the team’s performance in October. I have to thank them for putting in hard work because I would not have got it. It is encouraging during such tough times to be awarded,” he said

Polack was shoulders above other coaches in the running for the October award with his 100 percent record that earned his team nine points.

He was trailed by KCB coach Zedekiah Otieno who earned the bankers seven points from two victories and a draw.

Wellington Ochieng is back

Full back Wellington Ochieng who has missed several matches due to injury will be available for selection when Gor Mahia take on Ulinzi this weekend.

[Ochieng] is fit to return and I expect him to train with us on Wednesday same as [Muguna] who seems to have recovered from the injury which kept him out of the Bandari match,” Polack told goal.com on Wednesday.

“Apart from the two, only keeper Patrick Odhiambo is still out. He is struggling with a shoulder injury and is still far away from making a comeback. We also have keeper David [Mapigano] back after missing the matches against Kakamega Homeboyz and Bandari.

Also returning is goalkeeper Robert Mapigano who will now face intense competition from the on-form Boniface Oluoch.

“Remember [Mapigano] arrived late from Tanzania where he was with the national team for Afcon duty and Boniface [Oluoch] did very well during his absence. I will look at them in training again before I make the decision on who will start against Ulinzi Stars.”

Rachier: Players have not been paid for 4 months

Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier admits that the playing unit has not been paid in 4 months

Additional reporting from goal.com
The K’Ogalo chairman admits the situation at the club is tough but insists the players understand and are committed to the team

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier admits it is four months since his players last enjoyed an official salary.

The defending champions have been under tough financial constraints owing to the exit of main sponsors SportPesa at the beginning of the season. Players like Maurice Ojwang have already requested to leave if the 18-time league champions do not settle their dues.

The chairman admits the situation is tough, but they are doing everything possible to ensure the players are comfortable.
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“We have no sponsor at all, no sponsor no nothing but we are heading the [Kenyan Premier League] table,” Rachier told Goal on Thursday.

“It is four months since we last paid our players an official salary, but they are understanding the situation and that is why they have remained disciplined and committed to the team. They are not enjoying our problems like others are currently doing.

“Players are getting something for their rent and food as we sort out the financial issues.”
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Rachier has denied reports captain Kenneth Muguna has handed a transfer request owing to the current situation.

“[Muguna] has not asked to leave, actually I have nothing from him or his agent. The only player who gave us a notice was Maurice Ojwang’,” Rachier concluded.

Gor Mahia have managed to collect 24 points from their nine games, and the next assignment will be against Ulinzi Stars.

Rachier says Muguna is not leaving

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has said that reports that Kenneth Muguna handed him a formal request to be released are false.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has dismissed reports that captain Kenneth Muguna is on his way out of the club.

Muguna, who has broken into the national team this season, was conspicuously missing in Gor Mahia’s 2-0 win over Bandari on Sunday amid rumours that Muguna’s representatives, Ango Elite Soccer agency, had written to the club seeking his release letter due to unpaid dues.

K’Ogalo has endured financial constraints this term following the departure of sponsors SportPesa with players reportedly claiming four months salaries. However, Rachier insists he has not received any letter from Muguna.

“Journalists are just interested in negative news about Gor Mahia. There is no player who has written a letter to me stating his desire to leave Gor Mahia,” Rachier told Nation Sport on Monday.

Defender Maurice Ojwang is also said to have written to the management asking to be released.

Muguna, who distanced himself from the rumours, said he will resume training with the rest of the team on Wednesday after recovering from a knock.

“A lot has been said and I don’t want to subject myself to media interviews on an issue that is obvious. I will be training with the team on Wednesday and if the coach sees it fit to field me against Ulinzi Stars it will be for my good,” said Muguna.

Coach Steven Polack confirmed his captain had picked an injury from their previous game against Kakamega Homeboyz.

“I have also seen some issues concerning Kenneth and they are not true. I know and we have spoken about his injury. I will monitor him during our training and sees if he is fit to play,” said Polack.

The record champions take on Ulinzi Stars on Sunday.