Gor Mahia to play Homeboyz Friday

After a disastrous week in which Kogalo were unceremoniously eliminated from the Sportpesa shield and the CAF confederations cup, the defending champions return to the Sportpesa premier league.
The match between Gor Mahia and Kakamega Homeboyz that was originally scheduled for Thursday has been moved to Friday according to the KPL social media account.

The changes were needed as Gor Mahia were scheduled to arrive from Morocco on Wednesday.

Gor Mahia will be looking to redeem themselves while Kakamega Homeboyz are out to pounce on any perceived weakness including travel fatigue.

“We have prepared well and we are hoping for the best. We cannot say that it will be a difficult game simply because they (Gor) are coming from far and were beaten 7-1 last week. We have to be at our best and that is what we shall focus on,” said Homeboyz coach Nicholas Muyoti.

Two days later, Gor Mahia will be in Kisumu to play Ulinzi.

Gor Mahia are tied with Sofapaka atop the premier league standings.

Rachier blames mischievous players

After stating that there are troublemakers amongst club officials, Chairman Ambrose Rachier is now stating that the playing unit is also up to no good.

Rachier was especially livid after he saw pictures of the players sleeping at the airport.

“Everyone who has traveled here has endured layovers ranging from six to 10 hours. There is nothing we could do. I was caught up at the airport in Casablanca for eight hours,” Rachier was quoted as saying.

“There are a few players posting stupid photos on WhatsApp, probably to destabilize the team. We will handle the situation after the match.” said Rachier to Nairobi news

Rachier absolves the club of blame

Rachier had earlier told Citizen Sport that club officials were not to blame for the travel chaos that ensued.

“After we had played RS Berkane we had already approached the government because we could not afford the cost of flying 18 players and officials. I personally visited the Cabinet Secretary Madam Amina Mohamed who agreed to provide us with tickets . As we waited we were informed that we should travel on Thursday through Air Qatar via Doha but it was not possible as we asked to travel back,”lamented Rachier.

The first batch of Gor Mahia squad, mainly fringe players, arrived here this morning at 3am and immediately headed into their hotel rooms to catch some sleep with a majority of the first team squad travelling by road from Casablanaca International Airport to Berkane, a distance of about 600 kilometres.

Those who arrived first include goalkeeper Shaban Odhoji, Joachim Oluoch, Charles Momanyi, Bernard Ondiek, George ‘ Blackberry’ Odhiambo , Samuel Onyango, Francis Mustafa and Wellingtone Ochieng.

“Eleven Players, the head coach, team manager and team doctor had boarded Kenya Airways flight to Casablanca via Brazzaville on Friday night but it failed to take off due to technical problems. We then booked them on Qatar Air and they left on Saturday morning via Doha to arrive Sunday morning,” explained Rachier to Citizen Sports.

Gor Mahia eliminated by RS Berkane

Gor Mahia’s disastrous CAF cup campaign has come to an end. They were beaten 5-1 by RS Berkane. The Moroccans applied a pressing game knowing that the fatigued Kogalo players were not capable of responding.

Additional Reporting from Citizen Sports

The host took control of the first half that saw Gor captain Harun Shakava become a casualty at the defence leading to the Moroccans goals that were netted by Kodjo Fo-Dohlaba, skipper Mohammed Aziz and Bakre El Helali.

Lawrence Juma hit the target for Gor to see the opening half end 3-1 and 5-1 on aggregate.

There were fears that K’Ogalo could result to fielding only eight players after the second batch of players that consisted of most starting X1 led by attacking midfielder Francis Kahata, delayed on the day of the game after a six hour drive from the Moroccan capital to the venue, but they managed to arrive less that an hour to kick-off.

Playing at home and knowing their opponents Gor had no time to shake off jet lag, Berkane surged forward from the whistle with winger HamdiLaachir and Samir Ouidare posing danger and giving the Gor back-line of Geoffrey Ochieng, Shakava, Joah Onyango and Philemon Otieno a hard time.

Berkane could have gone ahead 10 minutes after kick-off if Ouidare’s bicycle-kick had found the target. Gor reached the opponent’s territory for the first time in the 18th minute when Kahata’s pin-point free kick was headed away by Berkane defender Issoufou Dayo for a fruitless corner

In the 21st minute, Gor felt the heat to concede the opener after Shakava poorly cleared a cross that was swung from the right to land on Fo-Dohlaba who easily beat Gor custodian Fredrick Odhiambo.

Berkane could have made it two, after three minutes if Laachir had found the target with his header from a Fo-Dohlaba cross.

On the other end, Gor pulled one back from Lawrence Juma who utilized Philemon Otieno’s cross from the right flank to beat the sloppy Berkane defence and bring K’Ogalo back in the game as the score read 3-1 on aggregate.

Gor survived in the 27th minute when Joash Onyango feebly cleared the danger that fall on Laachir who saw his shot deflected for a fruitless corner by Shakava.

Berkane could have been four goals up if they had not fluffed their glorious chances, this time seeing Fo-Dohlaba miss a clear sitter from close range after Laachir had brought in the cross.

However, they made the amends at the half hour mark when Aziz rose high to powerfully connect a free header from a corner that was conceded by Shakava and restore Berkane’s three goals aggregate lead.

Seven minutes later, Gor found themselves on the receiving end again this time seeing Bakre El Helali strike easily by showing composure to pick the spot after Shakava failed to stop him as other defenders gave him space to shoot at the far right side.

Gor head coach Hassan Oktay pulled out Shakava for Boniface Omondi.

On return for the last half, Gor could not get any better as Berkane added the fourth goal through defender Issoufou Dayo who scored from a free header after Laachir swung in a corner conceded by Boniface Omondi.

K’Ogalo’s poor defence on set-pieces was evident after substitute Youssef Essaiyoy headed the ball home from a corner in the dying minutes as the Gor defence watched the ball roll in the net.

Gor will now turn their attention on defending the Kenyan Premier League title where the sit pretty at the top on 44 points with four games in hand.


Gor Mahia leave for Morocco

The last group of Gor Mahia players and technical bench members finally left Nairobi for Morocco on Saturday morning after a whole night of uncertainty whether they would travel or not for their CAF Confederations Cup return leg tie against RS Berkane on Sunday. This according to Capital FM

The team was at the airport on Thursday but only nine players and a officials traveled as the rest searched for flights.

The final last that included 11 players and the technical bench members finally left Nairobi for Morocco via Doha at 10am Saturday morning and and will arrive on matchday.

According to Capital FM, the team left for a six hour flight to Doha from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, meaning they will land in the Qatari capital at approximately 4pm EAT. The team will then have a nine-hour lay-over before departing for Marrakech.

This means they depart the Hamad International Airport in Doha at approximately 1am for another 10 hour flight to Marrakech. From Marrakech, they will connect to Berkane, 848km away.

“It is tough on us as players because of this arrangement. We will not have time to rest well before the game but we will go in and battle. I think there should be better planning next time because this is a crucial match,” one of the players who sought anonymity told Capital Sport.

But, coach Oktay , returning to the bench is confident. “We can’t give up. I don’t give up. That’s part of my philosophy. We will go there and fight and see if we can get a good result,” the tactician stated.

Gor Mahia players sleeping at the airport

One of the players who spoke to goal.com said
“We are currently resting on the floor in the waiting room. Our flight is at 12.00 midnight and the club says it does not have money to book a resting room for us,” he said.

“We have no alternative but find a way of passing time before we leave; we will arrive in Morocco in the morning. Definitely, we will be tired, but we will give our best, we felt it is good for the fans to know what is happening.”

Gor Mahia travel plans to Morocco in shambles

As of Friday evening, Gor Mahia had not left the country for their CAF Confederations cup return leg against RS Berkane which is slated for Sunday.

Additional reporting from the Standard

Gor Mahia failed to travel to Morocco on Thursday for their Confederations Cup quarter-final match against RSB Berkane.

The team was turned back from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as they did not have tickets to board a flight.

“We were told to go to the airport where we were supposed to get our tickets and board the plane. However, when we got there, we were informed the club had not made any reservations and so we had to go back home,” a player who did not want to be named said.

He said arrangements were now being made for the team to travel in batches from last night even though that was not assured.

“Some of us have been told to be at the airport by 6pm and others at 8pm. We are not sure whether travel arrangements have been made but we are going nonetheless,” the player said.

The club has few options to try and make it to Berkane in the North of Morocco. One option the club was pursuing yesterday was to travel through Paris and arrive in the North African country today at noon.

But this option is costly. The cheaper option would be to go through Cairo then connect from the Egyptian capital in the morning to arrive at their destination in the evening.

They can also travel by Emirates and hope to arrive in Berkane tomorrow evening. Gor Mahia will definitely miss out on having a feel of the pitch which is mandatory as they are likely to arrive very late.

A number of club officials we contacted did not answer their calls. However, we understand that the club was relying on the government to purchase tickets for them but this did not come through at the last minute.


Gor Mahia out of shield

Gor Mahia’s torrid weak continued on Wednesday when they were eliminated from the 2019 Sportpesa shield\

Additional reporting from the Nation

Bogey side Bandari on Wednesday inflicted more pain on Gor Mahia after stopping the Kenyan champions 5-4 on post-match penalties in their rescheduled SportPesa Shield last 16 match at Mbaraki Sports Club.

The teams had battled to a 1-1 all draw in regulation time forcing the match officials to call for the post match lotteries to decide the winner as per the tournament’s rules.

On-form forward William Wadri gave Bandari the lead on 56 minutes before Dennis Oliech restored parity for K’Ogalo with 15 minutes to time.

Gor, who suffered a humiliating 2-0 loss to Moroccan side RS Berkane in their Caf Confederation Cup first leg tie on Sunday at Kasarani, welcomed back skipper Harun Shakava and Ugandan left back Shafik Batambuze in the starting line up after the defensive du missed their weekend loss.

Gor Mahia coach made five changes to the team that started against Berkane, with Batambuze coming in for Geoffrey Ochieng while Shakava replaced Charles Momanyi. Erisa Ssekisambu, Nicholas Kipkirui and Samuel Onyango – all of whom came in against Berkane in the second half – earned starting berths as coach Hassan Oktay sought to keep the club’s dream for a treble alive.


Officials say players are being incited

Club official Ronald Ngala says that a club official keeps inciting players towards boycotts and go-slows while Chairman Rachier has vowed disciplinary action

Additional reporting from the Nation
Gor Mahia’s hierarchy has vowed to crack the whip on the playing unit following a boycott that led to 2-0 loss to Morocco’s RS Berkane in first leg match of Caf Confederation Cup quarter-final match on Sunday in Nairobi.

And a disbandment of the playing unit is one of the options officials are contemplating. The club’s leadership on Tuesday said that while players are right to demand money owed to them, the playing unit was being incited by a club official to arm-twist the office into acting upon ‘unreasonable demands.’

Deputy Secretary General Ronald Ngala told Nation Sport that some club officials have made shadowy deals with players with the aim of taking home part of the winning allowances and bonuses paid to the players.

Ngala said the players have conveniently forgotten that each of them received Sh100,000 last month as bonus for reaching the quarter-finals of Caf Confederation Cup.

The long serving Gor official reiterated Monday’s threat by club chairman Ambrose Rachier that players have taken the issue of boycott ‘a little too far’’, adding that ‘a drastic action’ is now inevitable.

“Do you know there is a time when the club operated without a sponsor for two years? Yet the players never complained as much as they are doing now. Let’s not go round in circles. These players are being incited by one of us,” Ngala said.
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“It is regrettable that some of us have sunk so low that they share these monies with the players. So they incite the players to go on strike so that they can also get their share. That is quite unfortunate.”

“We have noted this and have been keeping quiet as officials for long, but action must now be taken. If we follow the law, the players stand to lose big time,” he said.

Ngala’s comments come a day after Gor players candidly spoke to Nation Sport about the ill-treatment they have endured in the course of the current campaign that culminated in the poor performance against RS Berkane.

The rift between the players and the management is now growing wider, and there was an unusually sombre mood yesterday at Camp Toyoyo where the players converged to train for the first time since the Sunday’s match.

K’Ogalo is scheduled to play Bandari this afternoon in Mbaraki in a SportPesa Shield round of 16 match. The team leaves Thursday night for Morocco to play RS Berkane in return match on Sunday.

Oktay satisfied with Sempala signing

The defensive midfield position has been an area of weakness for Gor Mahia of late. Injuries to key players made the situation worse. Thus coach Oktay was eager to bolster the position. Hence the signing of Hashim Sempala from Tusker.

“We needed someone in that position and I am happy that Sempala was available to join us. We have many injuries in that area, Ernest (Wendo) is out injured the same as Cassidy (Okeyo), so we needed someone, who can come in and play in that position ” said Oktay to goal.com

The club needed a player who can free up Kahata and Muguna’s creativity by giving them fewer responsibilities while linking the defence to the attack. This requires technical skills which Sempala has in reserve.

Sempala is a high quality player, very disciplined player and I am eager to watch him play for us. I am waiting to see him in training and I know he will add some value for the side. I watched him play against us and I was impressed. He is a very good player, technically gifted when with the ball and also has the physique to take on any player”

Sempala was excited at the prospect of playing for Kogalo.

“It is my greatest honour to sign for the biggest club in Kenya. I have always had the dream of playing for the club and I thank God that I finally have the chance to feature for them.

“It is a big transfer in my career, one that I am grabbing with both hands, and I would like to help the team to achieve the targets they set for this season and I cannot wait to get started,” Sempala told New Vision 

Sempala says he will fit right in and will not dissapoint the fans.

“I have a few friends around, and I don’t think I will have any trouble to fit into the team. I have also played in the Kenyan league and understand what comes with playing for a big club like Gor Mahia. It is a dream for me and I will not disappoint the fans, I am ready for the task.” he continued.

Sempala’s listed age is 24. Before Tusker, he played for Express FC, Uganda Revenue Authority and BUL, all in Uganda. While at Tusker, he was appointed team captain.

Oktay: Off the field problems to blame

As has been the case so many times before, Gor Mahia’s off the field problems came back to bite them. Coach Hassan Oktay has blamed inadequate preparations that were occassioned by a player strike.

“It is not a secret, everyone is aware of what has been going on, the players were not prepared for the match. They have missed what could have been important sessions before the game. Remember we played on Wednesday in the league, and it could have been vital for us to have training sessions to plan for the game, and that did not happen,” Oktay said to goal.com.

Oktay also said the off the field problems caused a lack of motivation.

“Bringing players for such a huge game knowing that they are not well motivated is not easy, they were not ready psychologically and you could see that,” the head coach rued.

This is the biggest club match any of these players has ever played, an opportunity to showcase their talent to potential suitors and the players were neither prepared nor motivated. The poor performance will renew calls for Sportpesa to pay players directly and for much needed reforms to enable the club to be run by competent people.

Oktay challenged the club management to bring an end to such issues.

“My players need to be motivated all the time and such issues like go-slows should be a thing of the past. We can solve the problems if we are serious.” he said

Oktay also lamented the players who were missing via suspension (
Shakava, Batambuze, Wendo, and Tuyisenge ).

” They are players who have massive experience and that could have made the difference.” he said

At left back, Oktay deployed Geoffrey Ochieng who conceded the free-kick that led to the first goal and was beaten on the second goal.

“It was unfortunate for him, yes, the goals came from his department but it is a learning experience for him. We missed Shafik Batambuze at the back, he has massive experience that could have helped us,” said Oktay.

Gor Mahia go down 0-2 to Berkane

Gor Mahia was unable to overcome the absence of 5 key players and the coach as they went down 0-2 to RS Berkane of Morocco at Kasarani on Sunday.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia are left with one tall mountain to climb following Sunday’s painful 2-0 loss to Moroccan side RS Berkane in their Caf Confederation Cup quarterfinal first leg tie at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

A red faced Gor coach Hassan Oktay blamed the loss on the players’ strike that had seen them boycott training in the days leading up to the match.

Midway through the second half, a scary looking man ventured onto the pitch and gestured animatedly at a bewildered assistant coach Zedekiah Zico Otieno, letting him know in no uncertain terms that more was to be desired from the team.

“My job is very difficult. These types of games require players to be at the best frame of mind. Days before the match the players are on strike. You struggle so hard to motivate them all season and then this. A 2-0 loss because of this. I am so hurt. My job is hard,” said a dejected Oktay in his post match interview.

“The five missing players affected team balance and the quality of our performance today. That’s why we lost,” said Oktay.

While Gor took comfort in the experience of veteran Dennis Oliech, the Moroccans seemed to bank on midfielder Omar Namsaoui, who was constantly at the centre of many chances for Berkane.

He delivered a free kick in the 24th minute which ace midfielder Issoufou Dayo headed accurately into the net to temporarily silence the raucous home fans.

Barke El Helali added salt to injury for K’Ogalo in the 51st minute when he capitalised on a defensive mistake from Philemon Otieno to send the ball right into the net.

Boniface Omondi, Kahata and Oliech had good chances in the first half, but they lacked in luck and finishing technique and all their chances came to naught in that first half.

Chances were few and spread apart in the second half, as the Moroccans managed the game perfectly and purposed only to frustrate their opponents by holding the ball within their area.

Shortly through the second half, and with the vocal terrace fans demanding changes in the squad, coach Otieno introduced Erisa Ssekisambu just shortly after he had brought Nicholas Kipkurui for Francis Mustafa.

Sekissambu came through with a last chance in the 78th minute but goalkeeper Abdelaalai M’Hamdi lay on the path of the ball to make it another incredible save.