Ghanaian import Jackson Owusu is making Kenya his second home as he adjusts to life with football activities suspended
Additional reporting from the Nation
Gor Mahia midfielder Jackson Owusu says he feels Kenya has become his second home after he failed to travel back to Ghana because of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen governments shutdown airports temporarily stopping international air travel.
Owusu is the only foreign player from the reigning Kenyan Premier League champions camp who is still in the country.
Gor’s Ugandan import Juma Balinya and Tanzania’s duo of Dickson Ambudo and custodian David Mapigano all left the country for their respective homes before the Kenya government stopped air travel.
The government took the decision in its effort to fight the spread of the deadly virus.
Gor Mahia’s Briton coach Steven Polack is still in the country and recently told Nation Sport that he was in touch with his family that is in self quarantine in England.
Owusu, a versatile midfielder, confessed that he misses home and would have loved to be in Ghana during this difficult time. He however said he has been touched by the hospitality of Kenyans and his fellow players at Gor Mahia.
“It is true I miss home but this virus has also hit my home country and caused deaths. Kenya is now my second home. I am fine and grateful for the support from my fellow players and Gor Mahia fraternity,” said Owusu.
He however acknowledged that he missed playing football.
The Kenyan Premier League is currently suspended indefinitely.
“Every player loves to be on the pitch playing. However I am keeping fit and following training guidelines given to us by our coach because I am optimistic that the league will resume soon. It is always good to be positive,” he added.
The 31-year-old joined K’Ogalo as a free agent during the January transfer window after his contract with the Porcupine Warriors expired following a 10-month loan spell with Al-Tadamon SC in Lebanon.
Owusu, who has been a regular starter for Gor Mahia, worked together with Polack when the Briton was coaching Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko in 2018.
Polack also said he was optimistic that all the remaining 10 matches will be played.
He advised KPL to follow the law in case circumstances forced them to declare the league winner before all fixtures were played.
Gor Mahia players : We are surviving by luck
Gor Mahia players are again up in arms with accusations that club officials have failed to pay them one-month salaries as they had promised to do by last Thursday.
Additional reporting by the Nation
Team captain Kenneth Muguna in a post on the club’s WhatsApp group accused the office of lying to the player and taking them for granted.
The midfielder, who leads K’Ogalo’s scoring chat this season by seven goals, called on the club leadership to be truthful and honest with the players.
He went as far as challenging the club to release all the players if their services were no longer required.
“TM (Jolawi Obondo) I think it is high time for the office to stop playing games with us. We are living in people’s houses and we have families to feed. If at all you can’t be honest with players, it is better you release all of them and find the ones who can earn your respect. You guys are treating players like animals,” Muguna said in the post seen by Nairobi News.
The player said he is not ready to putting up with the hardships.
Other players supported Muguna with one of them saying lies and intimidation should not be used to deny them their pay.
LIVING BY LUCK
“Personally I’m living by luck. It has reached a point my wife has told me to quit football because we are just surviving. Why are they promising us money which is not forthcoming. God knows,” said the player in emotional interview with this writer.
Reached for a comment Jolawi, who speaks on the players welfare, said they are working on the issue.
“We are still trying and will tell you the progress,” he said before hanging up.
A fans’ initiative, Augmentin, which has been engaging the office to chip in and cushion the players, has since taken a back seat after the office promised them that the issue would have been sorted out by Thursday.
Augmentin was formed early this year to pay players match-winning bonuses but since the Kenyan Premier League was indefinitely suspended the fans’ group has been willing to chip in, although it has to receive the authority from the office.
Gor Mahia players have not received their salaries for several months now following the exit of their former sponsors SportPesa from the country last season.