Category: News



18 Apr 18

Goal-scorer of the crucial away goal Francis Kahata

Gor Mahia overcame their tribulations to become the first Kenyan team ever to make it to the group stage of a continental competition. This after they lost 1-2 to Supersport United of South Africa. All the goals came in a spell of 10 minutes. Supersport scored first in the 61st minute through an Aaron Shakava own goal. Then Francis Kahata equalized less then 60 seconds later. And Supersport scored the second seven minutes later.

Additional Reporting from Citizen Sports

The build-up to this match for the 16-time champions was chaotic from their financial troubles to key players failing to obtain visas.

Gor Mahia were bailed out by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who paid for their flights to South Africa.

The Kenyan giants only arrived on Tuesday which meant that they had limited time to acclimatise to the conditions.

Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr had to make do without Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge, who converted the late penalty in the first leg and Ephrem Guikan of the Ivory Coast as the pair’s work permits didn’t meet the requirements for them to be granted South African visas.

Francis Kahata made the trip and was in the starting line-up. He almost didn’t make it as his passport didn’t have the required two empty pages.

Whoever facilitated that administrative blunder helped the Kenyans as Kahata tormented SuperSport’s defence.

The Kenyan pulled the strings for Gor Mahia with his skills and clever running.

He silenced an already pathetic crowd with an equaliser from George Odhambo’s cross a minute after his captain Haron Shakava had scored in his own net. That goal proved to be golden for Gor Mahia.

United had went ahead at the stroke of the hour mark, after Gor’s captain Harun Shakava scored in his own net in a desperate effort to save.

It was a dramatic moment, as 58 seconds later, skillful Francis Kahata restored parity, the wonder away goal that would make the difference at the final whistle.

Thus the hosts 68th minute strike through Thabo Mnyamane was not enough to salvage their fortunes.

Despite missing key players in the squad, including first leg scorer Jacques Tuyisenge, influential holding midfielder Earnest Wendo, Ivorian Ephraim Guikan and Ugandan international Godfrey Walusimbi, the Dylan Kerr coached side was calm enough to absorb the away pressure from the three-time South African Premier League winners.

The hosts desire to level the aggregate score was evident from the start, fine crosses from the flanks flowing on Gor’s goal but the calm defense line comfortably keeping safe.

The first real threat came in the quarter-hour mark when Sipho Mbule flew his effort over the bar, from a sumptuous cross by Onismor Bhasera on the wing.

Seven minutes later Mbule found Dylan Stoffels in the goalmouth, whose cross across the goal was saved by Boniface Oluoch, denying a lurking Jamie Webber.

In the 25th, Le Roux connected Bhasera’s thread with a low drive, but could not pass the alert Gor defense. The Pretoria based side continued their onslaught; Mnyamane’s earning a free-kick that Mnyamane curved cunningly over Gor defense, only for Oluoch to thwart his effort.

Just before the break, Mnyamane rattled K’Ogalo’s man-wall with another free-kick in the goalmouth, in what was the last effort of the first stanza well dominated by Matsatsantsa.

A determined United resumed with clear intent for goals, Stoffels coming close in the 51 st with a powerful shot inside the box that forced Oluoch to a reflex save to keep Gor in the game.

Gor grew more ruthless in the attack too, with Kahata supplying Kagere two times succession whose shots flew wide.

Then came the game-changer moment, Shakava and Kahata finding the net at the hour top at the different ends, to usher a tense moment for both sides.

Tense indeed it was, as Gor sought to defend keep the scores flat while the hosts frantically sought two goals to advance.

Mnyamane’s goal restored hope, but the clock was ticking fast towards full time with Kerr rallying his besieged men to keep his instructions: “fighting hard to a point of sweating blood, to fly high national colors and clubs name,” as he had put it before jetting out for the clash.

Gor Mahia handled their troubles better

According to the Independent online, Gor Mahia handled their troubles better than Supersport. Read below

While Gor Mahia’s problems were administrative, SuperSport’s issues are on the field as they flirt with relegation. Interim coach Kaitano Tembo fielded a relatively young team with his main focus being to avoid relegation.

A number of key players like captain Dean Furman, Clayton Daniels, Aubrey Modiba and Thuso Phala were rested in this match that guaranteed the winners a place in the group stage of the Confederation Cup.

Matsatsantsa were there last season, going all the way to reach the final before crashing down in the domestic league due to the heavy workload that followed in their catch-up programme.

That schedule proved too much to handle for Matsatsantsa which is why they slipped to 14th position, a point ahead of 15th placed Ajax Cape Town with three matches to go.

The Kenyans handled their chaos better. They looked in control and troubled SuperSport with their quick counter.

But the Tshwane side responded well in the second half to put on a brave fight. Taking the lead and Gor Mahia’s quick equaliser woke SuperSport from their slumber.

They took the match to the depleted Kenyan side, muscling their way back through the boot of Thabo Mnyamane with his third goal of the tournament.

That resulted in an exciting and nervous finish for the home crowd as SuperSport needed another goal to win the tie, since the Kenyans scored a vital away goal which took them to the group stage of the Confederation Cup after their demotion from the Caf Champions League.

SuperSport now have to focus on their fight for survival with their African sojourn now over.


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17 Apr 18

Gor Mahia strikers Jacque Tuyisenge and Ephrem Guikan are to miss the return leg in South Africa

Story Courtesy of goal.com

Goal Kenya.

Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge and Ivorian Ephram Guikan will not travel to South Africa after they were denied visas

Gor Mahia will have to navigate their return leg of Caf Confederation Cup minus two strikers.

Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge and Ivorian Ephram Guikan will not travel to South Africa after they were denied visas. Another player Francis Kahata could also miss out after his passport was turned down for having only two pages.

South African embassy is demanding for a one year work permit for Tuyisenge and Guikan while Kahata was asked to present a new passport.

“We will miss the services of Tuyisenge and Guikan. They have been denied visas because they cannot produce one year work permit.

“For Kahata, we managed to get a new passport for him and returned his papers are now waiting to see if they will give him the same,” Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda told Goal on Tuesday.

On Monday, Gor Mahia were forced to postpone their trip to Pretoria citing frustration from the embassy.

“We are in bad shape making it hard for the team to fly to South Africa for the Caf Confederation Cup return leg planned for April 18, 2018,” confirmed secretary Ben Omondi in a statement obtained by Goal.

“We have done all within our means to get all travel documentations right in good time but things are not working as scheduled thus our travel to Pretoria is postponed.”

Tuyisenge scored Gor Mahia’s goal against the South African side during the first leg played at Machakos.


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17 Apr 18

Ambrose Rachier

As of Monday April 16, with two days left before the match against Supersport, Gor Mahia have yet to secure travel Visas.

“We are in problems because South African embassy is insisting that we applied for the visas late. They have a strict rule that a visa to their country must take five working days and we applied for it with only four days to go.  We hope the Kenyan government will step in and help us secure the same.” said a club official to goal.com

Chairman Ambrose Rachier has admitted that the club is in dire straits

“Over the last two trips we have gone out, the government has been providing tickets for us. Up to now, they are yet to give us anything. If by tomorrow (Tuesday) we don’t have tickets, then I don’t see us travelling not unless a well wisher comes out. We don’t have money as a club,” Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier told Capital Sport.

On Visas Rachier says the team applied for their visas last Tuesday and was booked for interviews on Wednesday, the same day they were facing Wazito FC in a league fixture in Machakos. They went for the interviews on Thursday.

“We couldn’t boycott the match in Machakos and we went on Thursday. The embassy has insisted that they will start counting the five days from Thursday. So we wait and see, hopefully they will be considerate and we can get the visas tomorrow and travel at night,” Rachier further explained.

The embassy also made it difficult to secure travel documents for the foreign players.

“The embassy required us to provide one-year work permits but immigration here only gives six month work permits. So we don’t know how that will go down with them. We have explained and so we wait. It is a very precarious situation for the club,” Rachier said to Capital Sports.

The South African embassy makes travel to South Africa difficult. The Kenya women’s football team once had to camp at the embassy in protest until they were given visas.

Club secretary Ben Omondi also admitted dire straits on his social media pages.

“We are in bad shape making it hard for the team to fly to South Africa for the Caf- Confederation return leg match planned for 18th , April 2018. We have done all within our means to get travel documentations right in good time but things are not working as scheduled thus our travel to Pretoria is postponed.” said Omondi

Traveling late could doom Gor Mahia’s chances. In 2015, the Kenya U23 arrived on Botswana mere hours before their match against their Botswanan counterparts. They lost 0-3 after conceding three late goals due to travel fatigue.

Nyangi blames Aduda

And club organizing secretary Judith Nyangi is laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of CEO Omondi Aduda.

“We are in bad shape making it hard for the team to fly to South Africa for the Caf Confederation Cup return leg planned for April 18, 2018. “We have done all within our means to get all travel documentations right in good time but things are not working as scheduled thus our travel to Pretoria is postponed.”

But speaking separately, Nyangi revealed that she was kept at bay in the process of securing visas by Aduda, who was the mastermind of all the activities regarding the team travel.

“I don’t know what is happening, all these mess I am hearing them from the media. I was not involved in planning and I decided to keep calm after he (Aduda) refused to pick my calls.”

Nyangi noted that Gor Mahia have had a long time to plan for this trip so no excuses are cceptable.

“We have to say it is him, if not who else? It was known early enough since Gor Mahia left Tunisia that we would face SuperSport United, an official should have begun the work as early as possible. So personally I cannot blame the South African embassy, SA is like Europe and there are no short cuts.”

Aduda was fired from the club in February of 2015 after he was accused by the club of unlawfully representing the interests of the club to the federation as pertains to the clubs position in the ongoing FKF – KPL stand-off whereas the club is in support of the KPL.


Link Category: News



15 Apr 18

Image courtesy of Bonny Kochieng

Late last week , there were rumours that Ivorian striker Ephrem Guikan would not travel to Pretoria after he picked up a collar bone injury and missed several training sesssions. But coach Kerr has sought to allay those fears.

“Guikan is fit and ready to play,” Kerr told goal.com on Saturday.

As was the case against Esperance, Kogalo will be facing a team whose budget is several times larger.

“We have done our best since the Esperance match in Tunis; that was a great display considering the resources and everything that that club (Esperance) has.” continued Kerr

However unlike the Esperance encounter, Gor Mahia will be well rested having not played a match in almost a week.

“My players have shown good attitude after losing the match and we carry that positive attitude to Pretoria.”

Supersport scoreless again

If Kogalo have been finding difficulty in scoring then so are Supersport. They were held to  0-0 by Capetown City in an Absa Premiership match at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday . Their second succesive scoreless draw.  The draw sees the Matsatsantsa remain on the 14th  on the league standings just two points above relegation

The return match will be played at 8pm EAT Wednesday at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria


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13 Apr 18

As is the case with every other Kogalo coach, Dylan Kerr has been facing pressure from a section of fans and officials who are making demands on whom should be fielded.  But Kerr is adamant that a player’s performance on the field is what determines whether he plays or not.

“I always tell my players they are the best, but one has to prove on the pitch that he deserves to be in the team that will go to South Africa. Sometimes I hear things from other people about some complain from my players, but I tend to ignore them. My challenge is to all players, do the talking on the pitch and I will definitely consider you,” Kerr told goal.com on Thursday.

One player who many fans think should be fielded more often is Ephrem Guikan. The Ivorian looks dangerous each time he steps on the field. Yet  he often finds himself on the bench. But Kerr finally obliged this past weekend .

Gor Mahia do not have any match this weekend and should be well rested before they play Supersport in the return leg of the CAF Confederations cup playoff round.

Meanwhile their opponents played against title contenders Orlando Pirates on Wednesday and forced a draw, something their coach Kaitano Tembo was very happy about.

“I’ve got to give credit to the boys. It wasn’t an easy game. This is a very good Pirates team. In the first half, I think we tried to be a bit more adventurous,” Tembo told SuperSport TV.

“I think we created better opportunities when we pressed them a bit high,” he said.

Extended Highlights: Gor Mahia vs Wazito


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11 Apr 18

Gor Mahia kept their 2018 KPL title chase on course when they beat newcomers Wazito 1-0 at Machakos on Wednesday.
Additional Reporting from the Nation

Jacques Tuyisenge came off the bench to score the winner as champions Gor Mahia laboured to beat Wazito 1-0 in a midweek Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match staged at a slippery Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

Just nine minutes after coming on for Lawrence Juma, the Rwandan striker sent the handful of fans who bothered to turn up for the match into a frenzy with a 73rd minute header from a Cersidy Okeyo free kick.

The win sees Gor move to 22 points, one shy of leaders Mathare United albeit with two games in hand. Wazito remain 12th on 11 points after nine games.

Gor tactician Dylan Kerr retained only Humphrey Mieno and Meddie Kagere in his starting lineup from the team that beat SuperSport United 1-0 in the Caf Confederation Cup play-off, first leg match on Sunday.

“Congratulations to Gor Mahia, hard luck to my boys, we go back to prepare for the next game,” Wazito coach Frank Ouna said after the match.

“The plan was to lock out Gor’s attacks but you need maximum concentration, any slip up costs you and it did today but we shall rectify the weaknesses.”

Despite claiming his seventh win in eight games, Kerr wasn’t pleased with the display.

“It’s still a crime we can’t utilise our chances. We had the possession, fought hard but missed golden opportunities. The field was slippery because of the rain, yes, but little basics would have seen us put the ball behind the net several times,” he said.

Mieno surprisingly played as a makeshift centre-back while Kagere was handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Harun Shakava.

K’Ogalo created a host scoring opportunities in the first half but the striking partnership of Kagere and Ephrem Guikan let them down.

Wazito’s Patience Lukige had his volley picked by Gor custodian Shaban Odhoji in the 10th minute and six minutes later, Lawrence Juma’s free kick was easily collected by Phillip Odhiambo after Harun Nyakha had fouled Kevin ‘Ade’ Omondi 20 yards out.

Guikan set up Kagere with a beautiful backheel on 26 minutes but the Rwandan striker’s attempt narrowly missed the target.

A minute to the half hour mark, Samuel Onyango outpaced his markers, delivered a pinpoint cross that Bernard Ondiek headed over the bar.

HIT THE BAR

Kagere was denied by the woodwork at the stroke of halftime as the champions pushed for the opener.

Wazito defenders led by Odhiambo Ricky did well to stop Onyango’s attempt to connect a dangerous Lawrence Juma cross a minute to the hour mark as Gor continued with the onslaught.

Wazito coach frank Ouna introduced Ibrahim Mao for Joakim Omollo in the 62nd minute but Kerr reacted two minutes later by throwing into the fray Tuyisenge for Juma as Kevin Omondi paved way for Boniface Omondi.

George Owiti replaced the jaded Joe Waithira with 15 minutes to time as Raphael Asudi had his debut though for five minutes, coming on for Samuel Onyango.

Boniface Omondi’s long range effort ricocheted off the bar on 88 minutes with the goalkeeper well beaten.

Wazito visit Chemelil Sugar on Sunday while Gor await their Caf Confederation Cup return leg match against SuperSport United in Pretoria next week.


Link Category: News



11 Apr 18

Gor Mahia will take on Wazito FC a they return to the domestic league. The match will be played at Machakos on Wednesday. In addition to the league, Kogalo will use the match to build up for their return leg against SuperPort United.

Coach Dylan Kerr knows that his side holds a slim lead against the South African side. But defending such a slim lead is not in the cards for Kogalo

“This (win) is not enough. We came up against a very different side but we have to go there with a positive attitude, the way we did in Esperance,” Kerr said in a post-match interview.

Kogalo will however have to play without defensive midfielder Ernest Wendo who has been suspended due to multiple yellow cards.

“He is a big loss to the team but we still have great players who have what it takes to fill in his shoes. We have a match against Wazito FC (on Wednesday) which we will use to see who is best placed to replace Wendo,” Kerr Citizen Sports.

Supersport coach Kaitano Tembo, who celebrated the narrow loss on Sunday, is confident that his side will overturn the 1-0 deficit.

“I mean take nothing away from them. A team that goes to Tunisia and loses 1-0 to Esperance is a formidable team and we can’t take them for granted. They worked hard and deserved the victory,” Tembo said after the match.

“They have a decent team and we have seen what they are all about today. They will be difficult to break down in the return leg but we are quite formidable at home and we will be able to get better results playing on a good pitch,” he told michezoafrika.

Tembo nevertheless thinks that Kogalo are a decent team.

Wazito

Against Wazito Kogalo will be facing off against one of their former coaches Frank Ouna. His familiarity with Kogalo has given him confidence.

“This is a fight between David and Goliath, but I have a group of players who are very dedicated and that gives me confidence that we can deal with them (Gor),” Ouna said.

Wazito are currently in 12th place having won three games.

 


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8 Apr 18

An 80th minute penalty by Jacque Tuyisenge gave Kogalo a slim win in the opening leg of the 2018 CAF Confederations cup playoff leg. The good news is that Gor Mahia did not concede a goal and now need to go to South Africa and hope to snatch any kind of draw.

Additional Reporting from Capital FM
The slim advantage now sees Gor Mahia inch closer to earning a CAF Confederations Cup group phase berth if only they can avoid defeat in the return leg to be played in South Africa in 10 days time.

Cool as ice, Tuyisenge buried home the penalty after Meddie Kagere’s header off a Boniface Omondi corner landed on a Supersport United defender’s arms and though there were protests led by led by skipper Dean Furman, Tuyisenge went on to slot home.

With nerves cracking him down, head coach Dylan Kerr could not stand watching the penalty and moved as way back as close to the stands as his side took the lead.

Gor Mahia had chances in the opening half, but none of them landed on target.

George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo had the first opportunity in the fifth minute when he took on a run on the left, playing a quick one-two change of passes with Jacques Tuyisenge but his final effort at goal was deflected for a corner.

Five minutes later, Meddie Kagere’s shot on his weaker left foot went inches wide after drifting inside the box from the right.

SuperSport had their first opportunity in the 14th minute when Mogan Gould beat Boniface Oluoch to the ball from Luke Gareth’s cross from the right, but his header went over.

Gor kept on knocking on the SuperSport door trying to plant balls behind the defense, but this did not work out to their expectation.

In the 19th minute, Kahata’s searching ball from the right landed on Odhiambo at the backpost but he could not land an effort on target.

SuperSport were sitting back to suck in the pressure and bolting off on the first breaks. One such break almost caught Gor off their guard when Thuso Phala played Gould through, but the latter’s shot went whistling at the face of goal.

The visitors were forced into a change after 34 minutes, burly centre-back Azubuke Emmanuel having to come off clutching his hamstring and was replaced by Gamolemo Kekana.

Gor’s last straw of chances in the opening half came five minutes before the whistle, Kahata seeing his well curled freekick going inches over the bar with the keeper beaten.

Five minutes into the second half, SuperSport almost snapped the lead when Jaimie Graig’s cross from the right found Sipho Mbule unmarked at the far post, but the winger could not get a header on target, his contact going wide.

Gor came close in the 55th minute when Odhiambo’s snap shot forced the keeper into a good save. Odhiambo had picked the ball inside the box after the SuperSport defense failed to convincingly clear a Francis Kahata free kick.

Kahata had a go at goal himself in the 65th minute with another well taken shot this time on the half volley, but the keeper had it gathered and he managed to bounce back and pick the rebound ahead of a chasing Kagere.

Gor kept on persisting and they finally earned for their labor via Tuyisenge’s penalty.

Gor Mahia Line up:

29. Boniface Oluoch, 8. Francis Kahata, 9. Jacques Tuyisenge, 12. Joash Onyango, 18. Haron Shakava, 20. Earnest Wendo, 21. Wesley Onguso, 22. Meddie Kagere, 25. George Odhiambo, 26. Philemon Otieno, 30. Humphrey Mieno

Sub:
6. Samuel Onyango, 10. Cercidy Okeyo, 14. Kevin Omondi, 16. Shaban Odhoji, 17. Benard Ondieki, 19. Ephrem Guikan, 24. Lawrence Juma


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5 Apr 18

Supersport United coach, Kaitano Tembo is expecting a massive crowd to show up to intimidate his side this Sunday.

“It is not going to be easy against Gor Mahia in front of their own crowd because they are probably the best supported team in Kenya. Going to Kenya to play in front of those thousands of passionate fans will be a crucial learning experience for some of the younger players in the team like Jamie Webber and Darren Smith.” said Tembo who took over as coach after Mark Fish was fired in early March.

Gor Mahia Skipper Haron Shakava is urging fans to turn out in droves and gibe his side the home advantage they desperately need.

“We are home and Gor Mahia die-hards should try and turn up in their droves to cheer the team for good result. We can do it!” he told goal.com

Turnout for Kogalo matches at Machakos has been paltry in 2018. Even the big match against Esperance failed t draw numbers. And as was pointed out in the previous article, it was the crowd that lifted Kogalo against Hellenics 25 years ago.

Supersport United, whose nickname is “Matsatsantsa” , have been sub par in 2018. But they have plenty of experience in this tournament and thus cannot be overlooked as Shakava pointed out.

“It will not be an easy match…because last year SuperSport United played in the same competition up to the final but we are ready to face them. Our aim is to win and nothing less.

Supersports last league match was against Polokwane and Supersport who were reduced to 10 men, lost 0-1 thus worsening their domestic woes.


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4 Apr 18

Throughout its storied history, there is only one other occasion when Kogalo faced off against a South African side. That was in 1993 in the CAF Confederations cup second round. On that occasion, Gor Mahia was pitted against a team called Hellenic FC of Cape Town. It was a drama filled event and one of the most memorable that Gor Mahia has ever participated in.

This is the Kogalo squad in 1993

“European Team”

1993 was only one year after apartheid ended and South African teams were desegregated. Prior to desegregation, black south Africans played in their own league while white South Africans played in their own league. When desegregation happened, South African teams were allowed back into African competitions but for the first few years, teams were mostly either all white or all black.

Hellenic was basically an all white team with the exception of two players who were considered as Cape Coloureds. . So when the two teams
entered the pitch, it looked like Kogalo was playing a European side. Among their key players were Grant Young, Gerald Stober and the coloured player Mark Williams, a striker who would later play in the English league for Wolverhampton and in Brazil for Corinthians.

Background

Hellenic qualified for the CAF cup by finishing second on the South African league behind Kaizer Chiefs in 1992. Gor Mahia qualified under similar circumstances. Hellenic were heavily favoured against Gor Mahia. They were a fully professional outfit whereas Gor Mahia was fully amateaur and in the early 1990s, Gor Mahia were in acute financial difficulty and even the meagre allowances that amounted to around Ksh 300 per game were never paid on time.

Secondly Hellenic came into this round red hot. They had beaten Malawi representatives MDC United 7-1 on aggregate after drawing 1-1 in Lilongwe and winning 6-0 in Cape Town.

Gor Mahia for their part were lacklusture in the first round and were lucky to escape. In the first round, they played Uganda Coffee. They won the first leg in Kampala 1-0 thanks to a powerful free-kick from James Atuto. The new signing ended up being one of the best free-kick takers the club has ever had. His shooting was accurate and possessed a rocket launcher in his left foot. Note that Atuto was a younger brother to George Otieno “Vigo” who had played for Kogalo between 1982 and 1986 and also had a ferocious shot. This must run in the family. After winning the first leg 1-0, fans expected Kogalo to soundly beat the Ugandans at Nyayo stadium. But Kogalo were very poor on that day. The Ugandans scored an early goal with their striker back-heeling the ball into an empty net. Gor Mahia could not claw their way back into the match. Morale was low due to non-payment of allowances and it showed on the field. The match ended 0-1 and went into extra time then penalties. Luckily for Gor Mahia, they converted all 5 penalties with players like Dan Shikanda and Sammy Omollo “Pamzo” being sure footed from the spot. While the Ugandans sent two of their penalties wide.

First Leg

The stage was thus set for Kogalo to play Hellenics in the second round. Not much was expected from Gor Mahia as they were not playing well domestically either. (Though they won the 1993 league). With the understanding that the South African league was of a higher standard, nobody but die hard Kogalo fans gave them a chance. The first leg was played in Cape Town. Gor Mahia lost 3-1. And everyone assumed their predictions would come true.

Rain Drenched Return Leg

Then came the second leg that was scheduled for Nyayo stadium. Torrential rains poured from the skies, leaving the Nyayo stadium pitch unplayable. In those days the Nyayo stadium surface was so poorly maintained that there were several bald spots all over the field which rendered the field a muddy mess when it rained. The armed forces would perform their marching drills on the surface before every major public holiday and all that foot traffic only made the pitch worse.

So thanks to the rains, players were finding it impossible to play in that water-logged surface where the ball would not even bounce and any ground passes immediately stopped, while the players boots were clogged with mud. Left winger Dan Shikanda, who was a mazy dribbler and thrived on taking on defenders , was constantly trying to dribble his way down the left flank but was constantly frustrated by the muddy surface. Fans urged him to change strategy as the surface did not lend itself to dribbling.

Rain again started to come down heavily towards the end of the first half. So heavy that the referee had to stop the match for players to take refuge. The game was delayed for twenty minutes. As the second half progressed, it became clear that neither team could effectively play. And Hellenic were happy to waste time, spoil the game and hope for a draw that would see them through.

As time waned, the match referee stopped the match with fifteen minutes left. There was a FIFA rule that states that in case a field becomes unplayable, the match referee was authorized to stop the match and order a replay. So the referee stopped the match, gathered his assistant referees and went about inspecting the field. He did this by bouncing the ball in various spots around the field to see if the ball could bounce. Each time the ball failed to bounce, the large crowd at Nyayo stadium cheered loudly knowing that it strengthened the case for stopping the match and ordering a replay. After the field inspection was complete, the referee indicated that he was stopping the match and ordering a replay the next day. The crowd cheered loudly. Hellenics players complained bitterly but to no avail.

Livid Fans accost coach Oyugi

But fans were not done. They accosted coach Bob Oyugi and accused him of poor fielding. They claimed that he was favouring certain players who simply could not produce. In particular, fans were unhappy with centre forward David Odhiambo “Deo”. The much heralded Deo had been signed from Re-Union FC where in 1992 he had been the top scorer in the national league with 23 goals. He was in the Kenya squad that played in the 1992 Africa cup of nations. But when he joined Kogalo, his scoring touch eluded him and Gor Mahia were experiencing a scoring drought. Fans wanted Peter Dawo whom they saw as a fighter who would battle with the South Africans and could especially be useful if Kogalo needed to use high balls. Fans angrily lectured coach Oyugi in dholuo and warned him not to field another mediocre line-up.

The fans gave him a recommendation of whom to field and starting to dictate the line-up from number 1 to number 11. A frazzled Oyugi started to listen intently and nod in agreement. Then one fan yelled in dholuo “Kaw kalam indik !” (get a pen and write). Oyugi who by now was scared out of his wits started to scramble for a pen and paper and he documented the line-up that was dictated to him by this group of fans. And when the replay came, he deployed that exact line-up that fans had dictated to him, lest he risk being accosted by irate fans again. In particular, Peter Dawo was in the starting line-up instead of Deo. And Dawo had just come back from a long layoff after he had left to play in the Egyptian league for Arab Contractors.

Replay the following day

The replay was played at Nairobi City stadium whose playing surface was in much better shape than Nyayo. On that day, the stadium was filled to the brim. So full was the stadium that even the flood lights were full of fans who scaled them to get a better view of the match. Yours truly was at the stadium and has never seen City that full. It was that massive crowd that lifted and inspired Kogalo players above their mediocre performance from the previous day. From the beginning, Gor Mahia attacked relentlessly. Tobias Ocholla who was deployed at left back was a live wire, constantly running down the left flank, exchanging one-two passes with Shikanda and sending in cross after cross. Zedekiah Otieno “Zico” was at right back and was equally active. It became clear that the main tactic was to send crosses to Dawo who could use his aerial superiority to score from headers.

The attacks finally yielded a goal from Dan Shikanda in the first half. Gor Mahia went into halfime leading 1-0. But fans knew that it was not enough as they were still 3-2 down on aggregate. A second goal was crucial. Gor Mahia thus went into the second half fully in attack mode. In the 60th minute, coach Oyugi rested Dawo who was still not fully fit after his long layoff. As time waned, the crowd grew tense. With only minutes left, the all-important second goal finally came via Joseph Owino “Andai”. A goalbound shot was sent to the Hellenics goal and the goalkeeper could only parry the ball back into play. Owino latched onto the resulting rebound and planted the ball in the net. The stadium turned to a near delirium. Fans went wild. After the game, there were wild celebrations as fans matched from City stadium along Jogoo road to Burma, blocking the busy highway and singing “Mayienga Mayienga” and other songs all the way.

Scorer of the all important second goal: Joseph Owino (left) with Tom Odhiambo two years earlier.

The aftermath

Gor Mahia’s best aspect during the early 1990s was the defence. Ocholla, Zico, Sammy Omollo “Pamzo”, Paul Ochieng Kunde were rock solid. Then add to that defensive midfielders: Allan Odhiambo and Joseph Owino and they comprised perhaps the defensive unit that Kogalo jas ever fielded. It was the reason Gor Mahia won the league in 1990, 91, 93 and 95 despite not having consistent scorers. After the match, Hellenics expressed a keen interest in signing certain players, most notably Paul Ochieng. But the deal fell through. It is said that Kogalo officials declined to accept what Hellenic offered.

Gor Mahia thus proceeded to the quarter-finals where they faced off with Atletico Aviacao of Angola. There the scoring woes continued to haunt them. The two sides drew 0-0 in Luanda and 0-0 again at Nyayo before the Angolans went on to win on penalties. Gor Mahia won the league title in 1993. They had dubiously lost it on goal difference in 1992 when AFC Leopards beat Transcom of Nakuru 7-0 on the last day. And Transcom was a good team. Evidence suggested that money had exchanged hands so that Transcom could allow 7 goals. Thus when Gor Mahia regained the league in 1993 with several matches to spare, it seemed like poetic justice. Hellenic which had been formed in 1958 by Greek immigrants, ceased to exist in 2004 when it was sold off and changed its name to Premier United.


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