Players unhappy at being paid Ksh 3000

Gor Mahia players are up in arms at being paid Ksh 3000 each as their salary for the month of March”

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia players are up in arms against the team’s management for paying them a paltry Sh3,000 as salary for the month of March.

The money was paid on March 27 through Mpesa after the players had lamented that they were going through untold suffering and couldn’t fend for their families.

A section of K’Ogalo players who talked to Nation Sport on condition of anonymity said that were taken aback and were shocked to be paid such a meagre amount by a big club like Gor Mahia.

“As players, we had talked to the team manager Jolawi Obondo so that he could approach the Chairman and tell him of our suffering.

The current state of affairs due to the corona pandemic has aggravated our situation and we were shocked that we were only paid Sh3,000,” said a senior player.

Another play called on the fans financial initiative outfit, known as Augmentin, to help players who depend totally on football to fend for themselves.

“Augmentin was paying match wining bonuses and because we know they have some money at their disposal, it would be wise if they rescue us. There are no league matches and instead of keeping the money, they should give it out to cater for our welfare,” he said.

The player added that he personally has been forced to turn to his parents to feed him.

“When my phone vibrated on Friday I checked and saw an Mpesa SMS only to be shocked that it was only Sh3,000. To make matters worse, I had a Fuliza loan and the whole amount was swallowed,” he added.

Commenting on the issue, Gor Mahia Secretary General Ronald Ngala said they are aware of the issue and are looking for money to pay the players.

“I don’t think the money was a salary as such, but was meant to help them buy vegetables and maize flour. There is no money, but we are trying our best to find something for their upkeep,” said Ngala.

Augmentin official, Sam Muga, said the National Executive members will be meeting on April 1 to decide if they could release the amount in their account to players.

“Times are tough, but we will be meeting to decide on the way forward. As Augmentin, our sole role is to pay bonuses, but we have less than Sh200,000 which we can release to them if the members agree,” said Muga.

 

Rachier discusses future plans, the highs and lows of the Chairmanship

Ambrose Rachier gave an at length interview to the Daily Nation discussing

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier is a man loved and hated in equal measure.

Whenever his name is mentioned, there arises two varied views among K’Ogalo followers.

On one side, he is a person who has brought a lot of success to the club, given it a new lease of life and ensured the stability for more than a decade now.

On the other side, he is a veteran administrator who has refused to leave office since he was first elected in 2008.

In fact, a section of fans, unhappy with his long stay at the helm of one of East Africa’s biggest clubs, have nicknamed him “Mugabe” comparing him to former Zimbabwe president, the late Robert Mugabe, who ruled his country with an iron fist hand for 40 years.

So one cold Wednesday afternoon we paid the Gor Mahia boss a visit and delved into his tenure with the Kenyan glamour club.

Dressed in a grey sharp suit, he looked jovial as he welcomed us to his office in Hurlingham, in the outskirts of Nairobi’s busy Central Business District.

He breathes with confidence and jokes on how he has kept us waiting for over half an hour before we start the interview start.

Surprisingly, the office looks like a sports apparel shop, laden with trophies and medals displayed on the table and shelves rather than law books and case files.

These are trophies Gor Mahia have won before and under his tenure. He says they are in his private office for safety reasons.

TOUGH QUESTIONS

He looks younger than his 71 years, born in 1949, in a bus near Molo when his mother was travelling from Siaya to Nairobi.

Well at ease he challenges this scribe to ask tough question as he has never been subjected to that by Kenyan journalists.

Rachier is a second born in a family of 12 and is married with seven children. His first born son and daughter have followed in his footsteps and are currently practising law.

He has practised law since 1974 and is in no hurry to retire.

Rachier did his A Levels at Alliance High School in 1969-1970 and then proceeded to study French at the University of Madagascar at diploma and master level.

In September 1971 he joined Dar es Salaam where he studied law graduating in 1975.

In 1975 he established a law firm with veteran lawyer George Oraro before establishing his won firm, Rachier and Amollo advocates.

He has taught law for the past 27 years and currently teaches Health Law and Policy to Master’s students at Strathmore University.

Does he have any sports background?

Rachier played as a full back for Alliance School and University of Madagascar football teams.

He was eager to continue with his football at Dar es Salaam and Nairobi but said he could not find a football team then.

ELECTION

Rachier revealed that he became Gor Mahia chairman unexpectedly in 2008 despite not having any interest in challenging the then chairman Erastus Okul.

“I never actually offered myself for any elective post in Gor Mahia. On May 8, 2008 while doing my work at my office at Reinsurance Plaza at around 10am, I heard some noise and a group of unruly youth overpowered the security at the gates and entered my office,” he says.

The youth forcefully removed him from his office drove him in his pickup to City Stadium where they raised his hands and in acclamation made him the chairman.

“I recognise two of them, namely Jamadar and David Dede. I said ‘no’ because I knew the chairman was Okul and we agreed to postpone the elections to the following Sunday. We met with Okul before the day and he passed the mantle to me before formalising it at City Stadium as the fans celebrated the change of guard,” he added.

He confesses that he had not campaigned or showed interest in any position at the club but concedes he regularly watched the team’s home and away matches.

Rachier says he is not leaving anytime soon as some of his opponents have been proposing because the club is worse and he can’t leave it in the hands of individuals he says will worsen the situation.

This contradicts his earlier announcement last year promising to leave by December of that year.

The veteran lawyer says he wants to leave the club better than he found it and will not hold shoddy elections just to acquiesce to those demanding for the exercise to be undertaken.

“I will hold elections when the club is stable financially and leave it in safe hands. The registrar has talked to me and she pointed out that the elections are long overdue,” he says.

Indeed Gor Mahia elections are overdue. The club held its last election in December 11, 2016. A term of office lasts two years.

“Rachier was supposed to have called the elections in 2018 but promised to do so by 2019 December after getting a consent from the registrar.
The registrar of sports has been on our neck but now it is not known when the elections will be held because of the current financial situation at the club,” said Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda.

In the last elections, Rachier garnered 579 votes to floor his challengers Chrispine Omondi and Dan Oketch who got 157 and 220 votes respectively.

Gor Mahia are currently experiencing many challenges which Rachier believes need to be addressed first rather than holding elections which is not a priority now according to him.

Rachier says he also wants to see Gor Mahia build a modern stadium in one of the parcels of land given to the club by late President Daniel Arap Moi.

Even though the land at Embakasi has since been encroached by individuals, he assures K’Ogalo fans that the club’s piece of land at Kasarani is safe and his dream of building a stadium must come to pass before he leaves.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Rachier also cited his achievements, disappointments and the future of the record 18 times Kenyan champions.

His best achievements are winning multiple Kenyan Premier League titles, helping Gor Mahia reclaim its lost glory and ending hooliganism which was at it apex when he took over.

The 46 trophies Gor have won in different campaigns during his tenure underlines the club’s success this past decade.

Even with the regular titles Rachier still bristles with anger when he remembers how Gor Mahia lost the title to Tusker in 2016.

He blames board room decisions and politics which he says were engineered by the then Football Kenya Federation CEO Robert Muthomi and President Nick Mwendwa.

“What the federation did was painful because they denied us points by focusing on a match against Tusker that had taken place way back in the first leg. Otherwise the trophy was ours,” he says.

The most painful season was in 2012 he says when Tusker snatched the league title at the 11th hour breaking K’Ogalo fans’ hearts as they were about to throw one big, wild party in celebration of their first triumph in 17 years.

“That day we were dressed up, had printed T-shirts and were excited because we were sure of being champions. As the match was about to end, Thika United scored an equaliser in the last minute and that is how our celebration was cut off by eventual winners Tusker. I cried and to me it was the lowest moment as Gor Mahia chairman,” he says.

He singles out Rwandese striker Jacques Tuyisenge and Teddy Akumu as the best foreign and local based players signed under his tenure.

In administration, he says the saddest moment is the numerous go slows over unpaid salaries.

He remembers a sad instance where a player whose wife had given birth to twins was almost being thrown out of his house because of unpaid rent arrears.

“It hit me hard because of the welfare of the twins, it was such a shame. This was sad and I even thought of quitting the club,” he says.

The club continues to suffer financially following the exit of the gaming firm SportPesa last year as their shirt sponsors.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Rachier says Gor Mahia’s sponsorship deal with sportswear company Umbro will officially start after the end of this season. He also makes assurances that Gor will have a major sponsor before the start of the 2020-2021 season.

Umbro will officially launch their sports kits according to the partnership with K’Ogalo next month but the struggles and sufferings in payment of salaries will have to be endured till the end of the season.

What of Football Kenya Federation’s looming takeover of the KPL? Rachier say KPL doesn’t oppose the coming change as long as FKF can run the league smoothly.

“FKF should learn from leading football nations. The federation doesn’t run the league. Bundesliga, English Premier League and Ligue 1 are run by the league body. Even in famous leagues in Africa like South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt the issue is the same,” he added.

Rachier has stood for the FKF presidency twice before and lost.

He says he has decided not to challenge Mwendwa this year because he is no longer interested in the post due to controversies concerning legalities and compliance to the Sports Act.

His worst regret in life is trying his hands in politics in 2007. He vied for the ODM ticket for the Gem parliamentary seat but the party’s intricacies saw him denied the ticket.

He eventually ran on a Narc ticket but lost to an ODM opponent. He has sworn never to try his hands in politics because of what he went through that year.

For now, he continues with his law practice while working to transform Go Mahia into a modern, rich and successful football club.

Polack: Gor Mahia players still training hard

With the 2019-2020 KPL title still not determined, it is imperative that Kogalo players remain in playing shape. To that end, coach Steve Polack is staying in touch with his players and giving them instructions on how to stay sharp.

“My players are working very hard, I speak to all of them every day and they are responding well to some of the training tips I am asking them to do while at home. Last week they did much of speeding and running around but I want to change the tact a bit now that the situation in the country is not improved. I am in communication with all the players, they are good professionals who are keen to learn even without being pushed and I like them for that.”” said Polack to goal.com

Polack knows that anything can happen and the league title could be decided in several different ways. So he wants to keep his players focused.

“We have a break which no one expected will come but we don’t want to be distracted with people saying Gor Mahia will be crowned if the league ends today. As Gor Mahia we are prepared for everything, if they want to give us the trophy for being at the top that is okay with me if they want us to face off in a play-off that is okay with me, we will take what the football association tells us, I am calm and players are calm too.” he continued.

Melis Medo says Gor Mahia deserve the title

Meanwhile former Wazito coach Melis Medo says that since Gor Mahia are 7 points clear, it would be unfair to decide the league by playoff.

“Gor Mahia should definitely be crowned if the season is ended. Seven points clear from second-placed Homeboyz and eight from Tusker. I mean it is tricky and it is a 90 minutes crazy bouncing ball game but I would leave that to Football Kenya Federation (FKF). I will vote Gor if it ends tonight. ” said Medo to goal.com

 

Uncertainty over how will 2019-2020 KPL title be decided

There is some uncertainty about the 2019-2020 KPL league. With Covid-19 taking centre stage, there is a likelihood that the remaining matches will be canceled. So how will the league be decided.

FKF CEO Barry Otieno says they are considering all options but they are likely to use the current KPL standings to determine the league winners, if the coronavirus pandemic persists.

“There is a possibility that we could use the current Kenyan Premier League standings to determine the champions.  But this is not the definite position because we are still deliberating and we don’t know how long it will take for the coronavirus to be contained,” Otieno told Standard Sports.

“We are still engaging the government as we monitor the situation because this is a global problem. But in case it will not be remedied in the foreseeable future and because CAF will need us to submit a name for next season’s Champions League competition, we will have no option but to use the current KPL standings to make that decision.” Otieno continued.

Asked about the FKF Betway Cup, whose committee is set to meet today to decide the fate of Gor Mahia, KCB and Bandari, who skipped last weekend’s round of 16 matches, Otieno said:

“For Betway Cup, it has to be played to its conclusion because we don’t have an alternative to choose the team to represent the country in the Confederation Cup. We are engaging the government and all those involved to ensure the Cup comes to its conclusion to the best interest of all stakeholders.”

But for KPL CEO Jack Oguda, they will only make the decision on the league after getting the green light from the government.

“It is our hope that the league will come to its inclusion but this depends on the state of the coronavirus as updated by the government. The league might stretch and then force teams to have a short preseason. Those are some of the possibilities,” said Oguda to the Standard.

“Even CAF and Fifa have said they will have to monitor the situation closely and there could be a change in calendar. That’s why as KPL, we are not in a rush to make a decision and we will make so after getting a directive from the government.”

Homeboyz disagree

Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula differed with FKF CEO’s opinion to award Gor Mahia the title.

“As far as I’m concerned, if this coronavirus persists, then we should have a play-off between the top two teams in a neutral ground. I think this will be a fair decision to determine the champion because this title race is too close to call,” said Shimanyula.

However, for Tusker chairman Daniel Aduda, FKF and KPL should borrow a leaf from European league’s rule book.

“This coronavirus is beyond our control but if push comes to shove and we are forced to end the league prematurely then we should take a leaf from the other developed league’s rule book. Let’s go with the best practice in the world,” said Aduda.

 

Gor Mahia fail to travel, Rangers awarded walkover (Updated)

Update: Aduda disputes reports of absconding

Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda has disputed reports that Gor Mahia absconded the FKF cup match because the players had downed their tools

Gor Mahia have now stated they did not fear to play against the Mailmen but were following the directive from the government as a law-abiding club.

“It was all over in the media that the government had stopped all sports activities for a period of time and it is the reason we did not travel to Nakuru for our match against Rangers,” Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda told goal.com on Sunday.

“Gor Mahia are a law-abiding club and immediately the government issued the orders, we disbanded camp and allowed the players to go home, so there was no way we could raise a team again to travel to Nakuru for the fixture.

“We don’t have any issues with playing again when normalcy returns and that is what we told FKF in our letter to them. We are ready to play against Rangers as soon the government says all is well, but we cannot risk the lives of our players and officials.

“Football is a group meeting which involves players coming to contact and it is very easy to get the [Covid-19 virus].”

Gor Mahia did not travel to Nakuru for their cup match against Posta Rangers citing the Coronavirus

Sammy Omollo: Gor Mahia absconded

Earlier on, Posta Rangers coach Sammy Omollo says that Gor Mahia did not travel because they could not raise a team due to the player go-slow

“Gor Mahia were not prepared to play owing to the go-slows by their players, whatever they said in their statement was just an excuse,” Omollo told Goal on Sunday.

“It is a shame when a big club like Gor Mahia fails to turn up for a game when everything else has been put in place to ensure it is successful.

“The sponsor was there, match officials were there and Posta Rangers were there too. I am p****d off; they could have found a way of honouring the game.”

The former defender believes K’Ogalo should not be given another chance by the federation since they skipped the game intentionally.

“If it was a league game, I am sure [Gor Mahia] could not have missed. Being a knockout game, if the FKF will schedule for another date, it will put the integrity of the game into jeopardy,” Omollo added.

“The federation should just focus on the remaining matches of the competition.” concluded Omollo

Posta Rangers who made the trip, were awarded a walkover by the match officials

According to the Nation, KCB, who were to face Wazito in another round of 16 match in Nakuru on Saturday, also travelled back to Nairobi on Friday following the government’s directive and will not honour the game.

The matches were supposed to be played behind closed doors to curb against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

FKF acting Secretary-General has said they will advise on the fate of the two round of 16 matches in due course.

“The leagues and competitions committee will look into the matter on a case by case basis,” he told Nation Sport.

 

 

Gor Mahia players on strike

Gor Mahia players have once again downed their tools to protest non-payment of salaries

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia players Thursday absconded training in protest over salary arrears spanning several months.

Club assistant secretary general Ronald Ngala confirmed that the players are owed salaries and revealed the management is working round the clock to ensure they are paid.

“We are aware that they have been demanding their dues but we are trying to look for a way out. I cannot comment in terms of months because we have just been giving them some (small) amounts for survival. We don’t have a sponsor so we can’t do calculations in terms of months,” said Ngala.

A player who sought anonymity said they have had enough of empty promises from the management.

“Our houses have been locked and have find it rough to go for training with empty stomachs. We understand the club doesn’t have a sponsor but we also have families to feed. It is really tough,” said the player.

Ngala also confirmed that coach Steven Polack has not been paid but insisted that the issue is being worked on and called for patience.

Polack: Title race is still wide open

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack is happy with the derby win but he wants his players to understand that they are effectively only four points ahead of second placed Kakamega Homeboyz and 5 points ahead of Tusker. Which means the league is still highly competitive.

Additional reporting from the Nation

“It was tougher for us this time than it was in the first leg and it is evident they have improved. Credit goes to their coach, he is working hard to make the team better,” Pollack said to the Nation

Prior to the derby, Kimani had said the two teams were at par technically, but Gor Mahia was only better “mentally”, an aspect he insisted is crucial in modern football.

And they matched Gor Mahia for the better part of the game save for their lack of sharpness upfront, with their lead striker Elvis Rupia missing a couple of seaters.

With the win, Gor Mahia are now seven points clear at the top of the table with just nine matches to go, but coach Steven Pollack says his lads should not rest on their laurels.

“We just won one game and I must admit it feels good to win the local derby twice, but the league title is not yet won, we have to regroup and work hard to win the remaining games,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta also attended his first ever Kenyan Premier League (KPL) game that was attended by a sizeable crowd estimated to be around 20,000. His presence excited the fans and he promised to support local football. Signs of good things to come?

Forget the title and focus on winning

Gor Mahia head coach Steve Pollack has told his players not to concentrate on winning Kenyan Premier League title but instead focus on winning matches.

Pollack guided his charges to a 1-0 win over long-term rivals AFC Leopards in Sunday’s Mashemeji derby at Kasarani Stadium, a win that pushed them seven points clear at the summit of the KPL standings on 54.

Speaking to Citizen Digital in a post-match reflection, Pollack hailed his charges for the good display but asked them to remain ‘humble’ and stay focused.

“I am very proud of my boys, they really did a wonderful job, we defeated them 4-1 in the first leg and now we have done the same in the return fixture, this is absolutely fantastic.

AFC Leopards also played well, their defence was very solid and they were not allowing my strikers to penetrate their area easily until Onyango got the chance and utilized it well,”he observed.

“Of late my players have been getting carried away by winning the title which is a positive idea but I want to urge them not to concentrate much on that but instead focus on winning the remaining matches,” he said. ” I think it’s too early to say we will win the title, many matches are left and what we are upto is to register three points in each one.”

Gor Mahia edge AFC Leopards 1-0

Scorer: Boniface Omondi

Gor Mahia scored a crucial victory over arch rivals AFC Leopards at Kasarani on Sunday. Crucial because it keeps Gor Mahia’s march towards the 2019-2020 KPL title on course. And also crucial because a win over the arch rival is the most important victory of the season. The all important goal came via Boniface Omondi in the 27th minute.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Boniface Omondi scored the winner for K’Ogalo in the 27th minute to ensure the team completes a double over Ingwe having won the first leg encounter 4-1.

Gor Mahia has now beaten AFC Leopards 29 times in the league. With the win, the league champions stretch their lead at the top of the table to 54 points from 23 games, while AFC Leopards is sixth with 40 points, having played the same number of matches.

A Gor Mahia fan cheers his team during the
A Gor Mahia fan cheers his team during the Mashemeji Derby at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on March 8, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |
Despite the win solidifying Gor Mahia’s lead at the top, coach Steven Pollack said the title race is far from over.

“One win doesn’t mean we have won the league. We still have more games left and have to work hard in the remaining games. However, I am very proud of my boys, they did well to contain the pressure especially in the second half,” he said after the match.

“AFC Leopards however have improved so much and I think their coach has done a good job – kudos to him. They fought hard especially in the second half and I am very happy to have won the game,” he added.

uizaIngwe coach Anthony Kimani rued his side’s missed chances.

“We missed a couple of very good chances in both halves, while Gor Mahia utilised one of theirs. However, I’m proud of my boys, they showed character and a good fighting spirit,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, attending his first ever Kenyan Premier League match, waved at the cheering crowd as the referee blew the whistle to kick off the 88th ‘Mashemeji Derby’ He was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.

AFC Leopards were evidently the better side from the onset and missed a couple of good goal scoring chances, Elvis Rupia was twice denied by Gor Mahia custodian Boniface Oluoch.

Gor Mahia grew in the game and got their first real chance in the 21st minute, captain Kenneth Muguna’s shot from outside the box flying just inches wide. Muguna was at if at again five minutes later with a clever header after a quick cross by Jackson Owusu, but Ingwe custodian Benjamin Ochan averted the danger.

K’Ogalo opened the scoring through Boniface Omondi in the 27th minute. He capitalised on a goalmouth melee after an inviting cross by Clifton Miheso to slot in.

Nicholas Kipkirui missed a seater just before the break, blasting his effort wide with just Ochan to beat as the game went to the break with Gor Mahia on the front foot.

On resumption, Ingwe brought in Boniface Mukhekhe for the ineffective Jaffary Odenyi. Ingwe won a free kick just outside the box in the 51st minute after Austine Odhiambo was fouled by Charles Momanyi, but Washington Munene’s resultant free kick was easily handled by Gor Mahia keeper Boniface Oluoch.

Clifton Miheso forced Benjamin Ochan to a finger tip save five minutes later as both sides continued their hunt for goals. Miheso was minutes later rested, former Ulinzi Stars forward Sammy Onyango taking his place.

Rupia missed a golden opportunity to equalise with only an empty net to tap in to after Boniface Mukhekhe released an inviting cut back into the box that found the Gor Mahia defenders napping.

Gor Mahia brought in Juma Balinya for Nicholas Kipkirui in the 70th minute as they continued to dominate the proceedings.

Two minutes later, Ingwe forward Vincent Oburu failed to connect to an in swinger by the impressive Mukhekhe. Oburu was then taken off, former Kariobangi Sharks and Vihiga United forward Francis Manoah taking his place.

With 10 minutes to go, Gor Mahia brought in Ernest Wendo to steady the ship in midfield, taking the place of goalscorer Boniface Omondi, who had put in a good shift by all standards.

AFC Leopards rested Saad Tsuma, bringing in former Nzoia Sugar forward Hansel Ochieng. Collins Shivachi cleared Juma Balinya’s shot from the line in the 83rd minute as Gor continued to press for a second goal.

Polack concerned about the defense

Joash Onyango will be back this weekend

As this weekend’s mashemeji derby approaches, coach Steve Polack is expressing his concern about the rate at which Gor Mahia is conceding goals.

“I must admit I am very concerned with how we are conceding goals. I am all concerned about the goals we let in, we were 3-0 up against [Stima] and it is not a good show to allow them back into the game, very unfortunate that you can lead 3-0 and the end result is 3-2, it means there is something my players are not doing right.” Polack said to goal.com

Polack has identified the issues that need to be addressed.

“Against [Stima] we let in easy goals, the second goal should have not gone in and overall, we have been repeating the same mistakes which is not good at all especially when you are fighting to retain the league title.” Polack continued

Polack says he will spend this week working to rectify the errors that have resulted in the numerous conceded goals.

“We must work hard to keep the ball, and we will work on that this week and the players also need to know in football you must stay on your feet unless you can get the ball and don’t go down on your back unless you know you can get the ball and this are the basics we need to work on. We need to train on these basics and everything will be fine.” he concluded.

The attack will also need to be sharp against an AFC side that has not been conceding goals of late.

Former Gor Mahia attacker Francis Afiriyie believes Gor Mahia have the key to unlock the AFC defence.

“But playing Kipkirui and Balinya together will put the back four under pressure which might force them into making mistakes that Gor Mahia can capitalise on.” Afiriyie told goal.com

Afiryie also offered his tactical prescription

“Gor Mahia have to apply pressure on Leopards in the first 45 minutes; by doing this, they will limit their opponents from attacking freely. However, if K’Ogalo sit back, they will be in problems because of their defence. It is going to be tough, but I believe Gor have a better chance of winning the game.” Afriyie concluded.

 

 

Gor Mahia switch off Western Stima 3-2

Kipkirui celebrates

Gor Mahia on Saturday dispatched a determined Western Stima side by a score of 3-2. Gor Mahia were leading 3-0 after 14 minutes before the Power men fought back. Goals came from Boniface Omondi, Kenneth Muguna and Nicholas Kipkirui.

This coupled with Tusker’s 2-2 draw against Kisumu All Stars, puts Gor Mahia in good position to defend the league title.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Champions Gor Mahia move sevens point clear at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Western Stima at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi on Saturday.

The powermen have emerged as one of Gor Mahia’s stubborn opponents in recent times, as they have not lost to the champions in the last three league meetings.

In this season’s first leg match in Kisumu, the two sides drew 1-1.

But this changed quickly at Kasarani on Saturday as Bonface Omondi Kenneth Muguna and Nichols Kipkirui struck inside the opening 13 minutes to give the champions a comfortable 3-0 lead before Baron Oketch and Benson Ochieng’ rduced the deficit for the visitors late on.

The defeat was a blow to Stima who came into this match looking to bring to a halt their five-match winless streak.

Omondi opened the scoring three minutes into the match before Muguna scored against his former employers on 10 minutes after collecting a loose ball outside the box, to beat goalkeeper John Njau with a low drive.

And three minutes later, Kipkirui placed the game beyond their opponents reach with an easy finish, after Njau had miscalculated his run.

Stima twice missed an opportunity to respond from corner-kick deliveries, before their first best chance arrived in the 23rd minute, but goalkeeper Fredrick Odhiambo was alert and saved Benson Ochieng’s header.

In the 28th minute, Stima coach Salim Babu withdrew Vitalis Akumu who had earlier been booked for Kevin Akongo.

Three minutes to the break, Oketch reduced the deficit for Stima from the spot after Ochieng’ was fouled inside the box.

Oketch came close to making it 3-2 but Odhiambo stretched well to clear the danger.

Gor continued to dominate exchanges in the early minutes of the second-half, but Stima defence dealt with their attacks.

Ten minutes into the second-half, coach Steven Polack made a change, introducing Samuel Onyango for Cliffton Miheso.

Goalkeeper Njau was forced to leave his line early and make a save on 63 minutes, before an on rushing Samuel Onyango could connect.

Ochieng’ benefitted from a defensive lapse in the 75th minute to score Stima’s second goal.

Thereafter, the tempo of the match went down and Stima failed to create another chance to share spoils with the champions.

The win sees Gor Mahia open a seven-point gap at the helm of the standings. Second-placed Kakamega Homeboyz, who host Nzoia Sugar on Sunday at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega, could reduce the gap to four points with victory over sugar millers.