13 Dec 10

The height of Gor Mahia popularity was probably the 70s to early 80s. In those days, the league was dominated by community clubs: Gor Mahia, Abaluhya, Luo Union, Maragoli FC, Feisal, Ramogi, Abeingo, Nyanam, Kisumu Hotstars, Gema, Hakati Sportiff, Black Mamba, Nakuru All stars, Kisumu All Stars, Andimi etc. Fan support was passionate. Matches were thus well attended throughout the league, When Luo Union folded around 1980, many of its fans made peace with their previously bitter rivals at Kogalo and aside from a few holdouts like the famous Majimbo most became Kogalo fans. Gor Mahia’s fan base thus increased dramatically. In those days city stadium was filled to the brim. In the mid 80s, a match pitting Kogalo and AFC always filled Nyayo stadium past its capacity. Even a match pitting Gor Mahia and Tusker, then known as Kenya Breweries would fill Nyayo to the brim.

Kogalo vs Tusker in 1985 filled the standing room section of City stadium

The number of people attending Kogalo matches had been declining gradually since 1987. The reasons were were myriad but were primarily due to poor management and low standards, So dire was the situation that former club patron Joab Omino predicted the imminent demise of community clubs as far back as 1991. By 2006 thanks to abysmal management, the number of people attending Kogalo matches had plummetted to levels now seen only in nationwide league matches. Omino’s prediction seemed imminent because AFC Leopards were not faring any better in attracting fans.

Its true that the renaissance in fan attendance started in 2008. But 2010 was the year when fans really made their presence felt. Gor Mahia matches were by far the best attended. All the matches that recorded the highest attendances involved Gor Mahia. Fans created an electric atmosphere. So electric that the Kenya tourist board has been recommending to tourists  to visit the stadium when Kogalo are playing.

To top it off, Kogalo fans today really know how to get behind their team. And this is where today’s fans differ from those from say 25 years ago.  Whereas fans in the 70s and 80s were passionate and emotional, they rarely got behind the team as todays fans do. In fact the fans were so demanding that they often made players too nervous. As a player, you had to have nerves of steel when things were going poorly.  Perhaps fans were spoiled by success and demanded no less. When the team was winning, the fans were always in full song. When the team was playing poorly, fans became demanding. Its fair to say that in those days, Kogalo did not always have a home advantage. This explains the quirky performance of Gor Mahia in continental matches where their away performance was often better than their performance at home. (Read the history at www.gormahia.net for more information on this phenomenon. Today’s fans rally behind the team even when they fall behind or are playing poorly. As a result, they have played a pivotal role in lifting the team to a second place in the league. The fans have become the crucial 12th man.

Gor Mahia fans haven’t just been beneficial to the club, but also to the entire league. The atmosphere they create makes fans all over the country more eager to attend KPL matches. Even Ulinzi stars was able to attract large number of chanting fans to Afraha stadium during the last days of the league as Nakuru fans sought to emulate their Kogalo compatriots. Travelling Gor Mahia fans have also been a boon to local business people in places like Kakamega and Thika whenever Gor Mahia travel there. They cant wait for the next time Gor Mahia visit as business is always brisk. So Gor Mahia fans are haviong an impact on the economy of entire towns.

Speaking of emotional and demanding fans, another area where todays fans are different is how they react to losses. In the past, fans would rain stones on opposing fans, on police and on unfortunate motorists. A popular song sung at Russia in those days used to go hence “Police a lis ni be iringo ? Kau Kidi ! “..which roughly translates to “Dont be afraid of Police,  Just pick up a stone. Ttoday’s fans focus on cheering the team and if results do not pan out, they drown their sorrows at their favorite drinking joints. So one might say that 2010 is the year when fans have taken a giant step in convincing potential sponsors to align with the club.

Kit wa cha ! was the rallying cry in those days

And finally another area where things have changed dramatically is the prevalence of young ladies at Kogalo matches. Whereas in the past , few women attended and those who attended were mainly middle aged women. Today it is normal to see women of all ages at Kogalo matches. And the fans are better behaved around women than they were in the past.

Yours truly hopes that the trend of fans returning to the stadia to watch Kogalo will continue and that the club management will have the foresight not to antagonize fans by hiking ticket prices. Many fans who are still on the fence about returning might be turned off by that.

Finally, Gor Mahia may be slowly outgrowing City stadium. They should seriously consider moving most of their home matches to Nyayo stadium. This may sound blasphemous to many supporters because City stadium is seen as the spiritual home of Kogalo. But its also not fair to make fans stand up while watching the game as happens in the standing room section aka Soweto. Nor is it fair to make fans who paid main stand fees sit on concrete slabs. City stadium management has not improved that stadium in 30 years nor have they built any new terraces. Perhaps fans should petition the Prime minister and the government to construct new terraces at City stadium. The new stand at Harlequins stadium (below) cost only ksh 15 million.

Fans at the new Safaricom stand


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16 Comments.

  • Saimz Muiruri says:

    WE ARE THE PEOPLE!!! Long Live K’ogalo.

  • Saimz Muiruri says:

    How I pray that divine intervention befalls the god-sent Chinese, so as to descend on this stadia…The whole structure should come down and pave way to an ultra-modern facility. Say, a 30,000 sitter & a better access zone plus parking area.
    I HAVE A DREAM…

  • Saimz Muiruri says:

    For Heaven sake, this is The “CITY STADIUM.” It should be a true reflection of The “CITY IN THE SUN.”

  • Paul says:

    There was a posting by Admin on 12 December 2010 under Ambrose Rachier: A breath of fresh air and I would like to give my professional coment on the answer to Kamplesh as follows:-

    1. Admin is misleading the fans and the public. On going public, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) rules and regulations are very clear. Please get a copy and read them thoroughly before giving half-baked information regarding the club going public. It is upon the office and Admin to restructure the club and create a holding company that can be listed in either the Alternative Investment Market Segment (AIMs) or under Over-the-counter (OTC). The rules are very clear regarding public fund raising initiatives and activities.

    The holding company will have 100% ownership of the club (Gor Mahia FC) and this holding company will issue shares and these shares will be sold the members of the public. The issued shares will be listed in either AIMs or OTC for trading purpose provided that the information disclosures are adhered to by the holding company.

    2. Admin, next time do no mislead the public and readers of this site. This is unnecessary fear that can not go unchallenged.

    3. Furthermore, on the asset requirement of Kshs.100 million, the club has a parcel of land and contracted players that can be valued or revalued. On players contracts, the International Accounting Standards (IAS) requires the contracts to be revalued and amortised in order to comply with the reporting requirements. For example, if you look at the Agricultural sector, there is a provision in the International Accounting Standards (IAS) that allows them to revalue their biologigal assets that include plants and plantations. On this same IAS, the players contract can be valued and this will form the basis of the assets of the club.

    4. Please do not mislead us that turning Gor Mahia public is a pipe dream.

    5. My conclusion, the problem in understanding of the club going public requires consulations from the experts in the field of corporate finance as well as legal opinion and understanding of the CMA rules and regulations.

    It is now time for the club to be restructured properly in order to embrace the ideas of selling shares to the public and taking Gor Mahia to another level.

    Meanwhile, the Admin should engage the services of expert in restructuring the club and even have salaried employed staffs such as:-
    1. General Manager – that will be CEO and responsible for running of the club.
    General Manager will be overseeing all fund raising activitities of the club.
    2. Marketing Manager – in charge of membership recruitment, selling of the club replicas such as club branded jerseys, tracksuits, caps, scarves, watches, pens, cups, plates, towels, umbrellas, cloves, stickers, banners, socks, etc
    -Marketing manager or officer will also be reponsible for corporate communications and public relations affairs of the club.
    3. Finance Manager & Accountant – shall be responsible for finances of the club, negotiation of contracts with the clubs and other finnacing actictivies such as procurement of the club merchadises
    4. Club Welfare and Administration Manager – responsible for the welfare of players, travelling of the team, office adminstration, accommodation of players, co-ordinating with club coach and other functions, daily running of the office etc
    5. Project Officer- responsible for club projects like bus, building of a stadium, coming with other income generating projects etc

    Meanwhile I wish all Kogalo Executive Committee, players and fans a MERRY CHRISTMASS AND HAPPY PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR 2011.

    Let us build Kogalo to greater heights.

  • Waxme says:

    Mmmmmmmmh Paul quite informative am impressed. Indeed Gor mahia fans cannot lack resourceful people who can be used to give advice here and there on the way forward.

  • Saimz Muirurisa says:

    @Paul, insightful. Big up!!

  • paw akuche says:

    am impressed i think we need more people like Paul.Now big clubs like barcelona or arsenal are business entities, how do they run?
    when we answer that paul will be ok and i think am impressed especially when he talked about a CEO or general manager you know thats a proffesional so i think that the wayto begin the CEO should be given a contract with targets to achieve during the period the contract runs renewable if he suceeds.gormahia milele.

  • Nyawade says:

    Do we Kenyans understand what a football academy is all about. Guess what it really means!! Then check with your version….
    ********************************

    Asec Mimosas is an Ivorian football club founded in 1948 by eight businessmen from Abidjan . As well as being known as ASEC Mimosas, they are also referred to by the names ASEC Mimosas Abidjan and ASEC Abidjan, especially in international club competitions.

    ASEC Academy
    —————————————–
    ASEC has a youth academy that has been described as the crown jewel of African football. The academy was started by Jean-Marc Guillou (French Coach) in 1993 at ASEC’s training complex. The student-athletes are given an education, for which they take classes in math, history, geography, physics, French, English, and Spanish. The students live in dorms during the week and have two training sessions a day. They play matches on Saturday and get health care and tutoring.

    The list of alumni of the ASEC Academy is impressive. It includes: Kolo Touré (Arsenal of London), Aruna Dindane (France), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea FC London), Didier Zokora (Tottenham London), Yaya Touré (Barcelona FC), Emmanuel Eboué (Arsenal London), and Gilles Yapi.

    ASEC provided the backbone of the national team for many years, including key members of the side that won the 1992 African Nations Cup such as Abdoulaye Traoré and Donald-Olivier Sié (who joined pro soccer in Japan with Nagoya Grampus 8 as a teenager) among others.

    For more details about htis academy, go to:

    http://www.asec.ci/index2.php?page=eleves

    *****************************************

    The ‘smart and rich Kenyans’ behind Gor and Leopards should come up with the model in Cote D’Ivoire and Harambee Stars will get the right players. We must combine academics and soccer; teach foreign languages for marketing these players. Do you know how many languages Samuel E’to can speak? What about Oliech?

    HAPPY XMAS AND A FOOTBALL PROPEROUS NEW YEAR

  • Saimz Muiruri says:

    @Paul, cool stuff.

  • Jahazi says:

    Paul..why dont you leave your business contacts on the wall so that the top dogs in the club can contact you?
    Im sure they will be impressed by your thinking.

  • Pedro Santos says:

    Gor Biro! The coach, Zedekiah Otieno should acquire perfect replesements for Kenyan Messi – Blackbery and mid field cog – Antony Akumu so as to keep the fire burning from next season.Gor, wan kodu. Gi biro yie!

  • Ernest Omollo Dola says:

    Yes K’Ogalo management, give us a magazine or newsletter for the team-sold at every match.

  • Paul says:

    Admin, please can we fans get updates on the happenings at Gor Mahia team? We need to hears news on recruitment of players, recruitment of members, opening of new branches, restructuring or reorganising of the club adminsitration, sponsorship deals, upcoming events like SGM etc

  • Oti Oluoch says:

    We also need to know of players going, which color (white or Blue) of uniform they will use for away matches and lastly about the upcoming Nyanza tour.

  • Paul says:

    Ngala and Admin, this site is very boring. Where are the updates? Can you get someone to redesign this site? The background of http://www.gormahia.net is looking pathetic? This green is not Gor Mahia corporate colour. Can the office make this site more attractive to fans, readers and sponsors? Can you convince Safaricom, Barclays Bank, KCB, Equity Bank, Nation Media, Standard Newspapers, Standard Chartered Bank, Kenya Airways, Telkom Orange, Bharti Airtel, Yu etc to advertise on this site? The office, please we need dynamic changes in this website to market Gor Mahia to the bigger community.

    Besides these, we also need updates on what are happenings in Kogalo. We need update on recruitments, new ideas, new designs of Gor Mahia jersey replicas (home & away), birthday anniverssary of players and officials, new developments in the club hierachy, distribution of club merchadise (where we can buy the club merchadises), friendlies, etc

    Oti and Oseko, you have gone quite! What is happenings? It has only been Paul and Saimz Muiruri. Saimz keep it up.

  • Vincent Ocampo says:

    Paul u r a real adminstrater plz contact our great chairman.your views en vision r great those r brain we need in Kogalo.bravo Paul