This is an exposee by the Daily Nation
Gor Mahia football club is on a roll. It has seen successes in the recent past and won the league title back to back.
This season, the club has already chalked up eight wins and two draws as well as maintaining their unbeaten run.
This success may make one feel that all is rosy at the club; that would be far from the truth since beneath the aura of achievement; the veneer of peace; the coating of respectability… beneath it all there is an untold tale of a ferocious supremacy contest within the club’s executive committee, which is threatening to derail the club’s campaign.
So vicious are the wars that long-serving chairman Ambrose Rachier threatened to resign a fortnight ago. An investigation by Daily Nation Sport has unearthed differences in opinion between various camps of the committee on how the club’s finances should be managed.
There are two sets of protagonists in this contest; those who want the club to streamline its operations and have the finances accounted for.
On the other hand, there is a posse that roots for the retention of the status quo — allowing the centre to continue calling the shots. It is this porous system that has made the club lose millions of shillings in gate collections through pilferage at a time when it struggles to make ends meet without a shirt sponsor.
It’s these differences that led to the resignation threats by Rachier. In a text message copied to members of the executive committee, and which Daily Nation Sport has seen, Rachier said: “There is no point my continuing to be your chairman if committee decisions can be flouted as happened today (in home match against Sofapaka on April 19) in gate collections. I will advise my decision by Monday.”
A member of the executive committee, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, said that whereas other EC members had advised that all net gate collections be channelled to the club’s bank account and reports tabled in meetings, Rachier was adamant that he receives the net collections from the ticketing firm Earth View as he has been paying the players from his own coffers.
“What we are having are supremacy contests because gate collections are not being accounted for. The chairman does insist that he receives the cash on the ground that he runs the club from his own resources,” said the source.
The simmering tension at the glamour club, which has ironically failed to attract a shirt sponsor despite boasting a huge fan base and rich history, exploded on April 19 when K’Ogalo tackled Sofapaka at the City Stadium.
During the game, four ticket booklets without stamps and club seals were confiscated, confirming the long held fears that there has been pilferage at the gate.
When he resigned from the club under unclear circumstances in January, former secretary-general Chris Omondi pointed to the pilferage as one of the reasons behind his exit and the lack of goodwill from the committee to professionalise the running of the club.
“It is sad that some members of the executive committee see Gor Mahia as a cash cow,” he lamented in an interview with Daily Nation Sport. When contacted, Rachier vehemently denied the allegations, insisting that he has always rooted for professionalism.
“It is (the allegation) convoluted and I expected it. I’m not surprised. My stand is on professionalising gate collections and putting it firmly in the hands of a qualified firm.
“That is what I stand for and have stood for all the years. I have tried Wells Fargo and now Earth View but this does not go well with people who want to take the gate collections. I will gain nothing by putting money in my hands; because at the end of the day, the buck stops with me. I get very furious when funds are not being accounted for.”
He added: “I know what I have done for the club and would want to leave it at that. This is an internal matter and we are going to decide the way forward.”
Rachier said that on April 19, he was handed Sh347,000 as net collections but declined to take the cash as it had been collected by “unauthorised people”.
“Earth View were thrown out, some people went ahead to collect the money, and attempted to pay me the balance, which I declined to take.”
Gor have been without a shirt sponsor since March last year when Tuzo pulled the plug on their three-year sponsorship package.