Polack: I am now surviving on personal savings

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack who has not been paid in several months, says he is surviving on personal savings

Additional reporting from the Nation

As effects of coronavirus pandemic continues to impact negatively on sportsmen and women, Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has revealed that he is currently surviving on his savings.

Polack said he is paying his family bills back in England from the money he has been saving in his entire coaching career.

PERSONAL SAVINGS

“What I’m feeding on and using to meet my family needs is money I started saving when I was at 35. Things are tough and you know we have not been receiving salaries because of lack of sponsorship,” Polack told Nairobi News.

The 59-year-old tactician acknowledged that not everyone can adopt the culture of saving money but urged players to try always to save something to keep them going.

“Not everyone can save because sometimes what they receive goes into all their needs but let’s try to spare something little. I’m really struggling but things would have been worse if my savings were depleted,” he added.

The Briton is however hopeful that things will change in the near future. He also thanked the government for cushioning the players during these tough times.

TOUGH TIMES

Kenyan Premier League players have been going through tough economic times as some clubs have not been paying salaries due to lack of sponsorship.

Nairobi City Stars defender Wesley Onguso is one of the players who have ventured into boda boda business so as to make ends meet.

Polack’s team is one of the clubs which have been really affected as they have not paid players salaries for the past five months.

Club chairman Ambrose Rachier recently said that the situation has forced him to talk to landlords to rescue his players from being evicted due to rent arrears.

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Steve Polack and Joash Onyango discuss their immediate future

Polack unsure of the future

Gor Mahoa coach Steve Polack says he is still committed to fulfilling his two year contract but is not sure of the immediate future.

Additional reporting from goal.com

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has cast doubt on his future with the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions.

The British coach, who joined K’Ogalo at the start of the 2019-20 season, has exclusively told Goal he would love to see through his two-year contract with the club, which comes to a close next season, but he was not sure if that will indeed be the case.

“I have a contract [with Gor Mahia] to the end of next season, so you know, so I am here until then for sure,” Polack told Goal on Wednesday.
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“But like I say in football you never know what is going to happen, football is completely different to any other business, and you never know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

Asked if he had received any offers from different clubs, Polack said: “I keep reading the teams who want me but nobody in this world has given me a call or have contacted me.”

Asked whether he is committed to Gor Mahia, Polack explained: “Of course yes, of course, but like I said tomorrow you will never know, the club [Gor Mahia] could tomorrow say, they don’t want me, so will I stay on if they don’t want me?

“So I just want to do my work for the best of my ability and then we can just move on from there but let’s just see how things unfold.

“The way the situation is with the coronavirus pandemic and then we have the resources, the financial struggles of the club, let us just get over this first and see where we can go from there.

“That is the best thing you know, we need to get over this because it is not easy for clubs [not Gor Mahia alone in KPL], so we need to get over the problems and then tackle the other issues later when everything is back to normal.”

The former Asante Kotoko coach guided Gor Mahia to the season curtain-raiser trophy and was on course to clinch the KPL title when the league was banned indefinitely owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.

While the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has moved to crown Gor Mahia the champions, the KPL has insisted the fate of the league is not decided yet.

Joash Onyango denies exit rumours

Gor Mahia Vice Captain Joash Onyango has come out to deny rumours that he is headed to Simba SC of Dar es Salaam

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia’s assistant captain, Joash ‘Berlin Wall’ Onyango, has dismissed reports that he is on his way out of the club and he is heading to Tanzania giants Simba SC.

The centre back has said nobody from Simba SC has approached him and neither is his agent Osman Ahmed aware of any interest from the Tanzanian club, known among its fans as ‘Wekundu wa Msimbazi.’

Simba SC spokesman Haji Manara was on Monday quoted by Tanzania media as saying they had singled out one Gor Mahia player whom they will sign up when the transfer window opens in August.

However, Manara didn’t reveal the name of the player with but reports indicate that the player in question could be Onyango or club captain Kenneth Muguna. Both are key players at Gor.

On Tuesday, the Kenyan international said he is only open to leaving Gor Mahia when his contracts expires in December.

“These reports are all over the media yet nobody from Simba has contacted me or my agent. I have not received any offer from them so I don’t think I am the player they are talking about,” Onyango told Nation Sport on Tuesday.

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Its time to find a successor to Ambrose Rachier

This club is in dire straits. It has been in terrible shape for several months now. Players have gone several months with little or no pay. Many key players have recently left. More are set to leave. There are reports that Simba of Dar es Salaam are planning another raid. There are reports of an impending mass exodus of players. The Chairman has not done much or anything to mitigate this quagmire.

If the league were to resume in August, the club might not even be able to honor matches because matches will be played to empty stadia. The Chairman himself admitted that he has not created a post Covid 19 plan. Where will the club get funds to honour matches?

Most fans understand that if this club were to start taking the issue of Accountability and Transparency seriously, the club can raise a lot of money. The lack of transparency is the biggest stumbling block that keeps the club and its players in poverty. Fans have read reports of gate proceeds being pocketed by officials, reports of club officials demanding bribes and clear evidence of officials under-reporting attendance. With this in mind, the fans, many of whom are not financially stable, are unwilling to blindly give their money to the club.

However what has become clear is that Chairman Ambrose Rachier does not have any intention of ever being transparent or accountable. He has made that clear. And at the age of 71, he is too set in his ways and cannot accept change. Even if he is pushed, he will only engage in half-hearted transparency measures. Just as he did with eTicketing where he tried it for one game and then gave up and made a lame excuse for why it would not work. He wants to run this club exactly how it was run in 1968 (52 years ago). And he is not open to new ideas.

However the Post Covid 19 scenario will require a different way of thinking. There will be no sponsor. And no gate collections. Even if the government re-opens business, many fans will stay away of stadia for fear of Covid 19. The normal way of running the club will not be viable.
How will the club survive?

The time has come to search for a more dynamic leader who can think out of the box. Just as fans brought Rachier to rescue the club in 2008, it is time for the different fan groups and branches to start an active search for a new Chairman.

There are over 200,000 committed Gor Mahia fans. Many of them occupy senior positions in corporations. It is impossible to imagine that fans cannot find a person to lead this team on an interim basis. A person who understands business aspects, understands how to promote and market the team and has contacts in large corporations that he could use to negotiate potential sponsorships. And above all things THIS PERSON MUST BE 100% COMITTED TO TRANSPARENCY. If no such person can be found then we may as well maintain the status quo.

With an accountable office, member subscriptions, merchandize sales and other aspects will increase significantly. And in the Post Covid 19 scenario it will be critical for the club to restart initiatives like Gor Mahia bread and Gor Mahia water in order to sustain the club.

This person would lead the club only on an interim basis. His/Her primary task will be to put in place structures that can sustain the club. He would then pave the way for elections.

My vote would go to Carol Radull.

Having watched Carol Radull interview football officials, it is clear that she understands what it takes to market and promote a club. She clearly understands the importance of transparency and accountability. She understands how to bring in the right people and hold them accountable. Plus with her media exposure, she would be the kind of person this club needs to put stall the impending disaster. She will give fans and players hope.

In the likely case that Carol declines, Kogallo must still find a new dynamic leader with a proven record of leading an organization who can come in on an interim basis, stabilize the club, lay the foundation for a future modern club, modernize the club’s constitution and then pave the way for elections. Surely there must be such a person amongst Gor Mahia’s legion of fans. In 2008, fans found Rachier and asked him to run the club. Surely we can find a new dynamic leader in 2020.

Rachier should cement his legacy

When Rachier announced that he would resign in December of 2019, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of his announcement was that he said he would not assist the club by finding a suitable replacement.

Flashback to 2008. The chairman was Erastus Okul. As a club Chairman, he was grossly incompetent. He was only known for constantly fighting with the KPL and FKF leaders, sowing disorder and instigating the creation of parallel leagues. But he redeemed himself when he gracefully stepped aside to allow Ambrose Rachier to take over. He admitted that he was incapable of lifting the club from its morass and stepped aside for Rachier to take over.

Now Mr. Rachier appears to have run out of ideas. Like Okul he can redeem himself by helping spearhead the search for a qualified individual who can help restore this club. He has created a good legacy by steering the club to six titles (4 league and 2 cups). Rachier should be thanked for lifting the club out of his mediocrity. He can cement his legacy by leaving the club to new leadership that can take the club out of its current quagmire and take it to the next level.

Commentary by Vincent “Video Editor” Ogutu
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Polack urges KPL to declare the fate of the league


Coach Steve Polack is urging the Kenya Premier League to get its act in order and declare tge fate of the 2019-2020 Kenya Premier League

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has told the Kenyan Premier League to show leadership by deciding the fate of the local football league instead of adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

Speaking to Nation Sport on Saturday, Polack urged the Kenyan Premier League to either make the decision to hand his club a 19th league title, or nullify the season.

Polack said it was time the league body decided the fate of the season which has seen all local football activities suspended following a ban on sports activities and social gatherings a day after Kenya recorded her first confirmed case of coronavirus on March 13. KPL suspended the top league with 10 rounds of matches remaining.

The outspoken coach downplayed the chances of the league running to conclusion following the extension of dawn to dusk curfew for another 30 days and cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi.

“I have washed my hands on the matter of the current season because it will be impossible to complete the remaining matches. As KPL meets this week, my proposal to them is to either cancel the season and hand over the title to us or nullify it,” he said yesterday.

CURFEW EXTENDED

President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday extended the dusk to dawn curfew, but changed the timing from the initial 5am to 7pm to a new time of 4am to 9pm.
But the ban on sports activities remains in place.

“The remaining matches cannot be completed in late July yet the new season should start by late August. My focus is now on next season and not the remaining 10 matches,” he said.

The Briton agreed that either decision would evoke positive and negative reactions from different KPL clubs, more so those at the top and at the bottom of the table of standings.

He however said that as the body tasked with making decisions on such matters, KPL should not fear any backlash.

“They should not fear or engage in supremacy battles. What the president has done is for the safety of Kenyans, including footballers. KPL shouldn’t wait for another 30 days but should come out and give direction,” he added.

GOVERNING COUNCIL

On Tuesday, the league body hinted that matches could resume if the government relaxed some restrictions on movement. However, Nairobi and Mombasa counties are still under lockdown.

More than half of the KPL teams are based in Nairobi. Bandari is the only team from Mombasa.

Polack has often said that the fair way is to hand Gor Mahia the KPL title, but he would embrace any decision from KPL.

The 18-time champions Gor lead the KPL log on 54 points after 23 rounds of matches. This is seven points more than second-placed Kakamega Homeboyz who have been on the pitch 22 times.

Next week, a KPL Governing Council meeting, to be chaired by the chairman Ambrose Rachier, is expected to seal the fate of this season.

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Rachier: We have not payed players for 5 months


Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier has confirmed to that players are owed 5 months salary

Additional reporting from goal.com

The K’Ogalo chairman has come out to confirm they are yet to pay salaries to players for the last five months
Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has confessed they have gone five months without paying salaries for the playing unit.

The Kenyan champions are among the clubs in the top-flight that have faced difficulties to pay salaries since betting firm SportPesa withdrew their support for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) earlier this season.

Apart from withdrawing support for the top-tier, SportPesa also stopped its financial support for Gor Mahia and rivals AFC Leopards, forcing the two giants to struggle and have since lost a number of key players.

K’Ogalo chairman has now stated they don’t have money to pay the players and will continue to rely on well-wishers.

“Including this month, I will say Gor Mahia will have to pay salaries for five months, sometimes we are getting well-wishers just like we have Kulundeng, who came around with a small token and we are able to pay them Sh3, 000,” Rachier told KTN News.

On Tuesday, Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack claimed he has made countless trips to the club chairman’s office to persuade him to pay the players and the technical bench accrued salaries.

The British coach openly told Goal he was suffering the same way as the players.

“That is false [those saying I don’t care about my players], I am at the chairman’s office every day talking and delivering the plight of my players, every day, have been there every day for the last six weeks, I think maybe I have only missed one day,” Polack explained to Goal.

“I am there every day, pushing and asking them [officials] questions and explaining to the chairman how my players are suffering and telling them the situation about the players, myself and the technical staff and so that is the situation.”

Gor Mahia’s Ghanaian import Jackson Owusu is among the players who have been hit hard by the club’s financial situation, as he was kicked out of the hotel he was staying in while one player, who did not want to be named, told Goal he had also been evicted from his house for non-payment of rent.

Gor Mahia were crowned champions for the 2019-20 season by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) after they moved to end the season owing to Covid-19 and they will represent Kenya in the Caf Champions League next season.

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Polack: Gor Mahia must keep players to compete in Africa

A number of key players are running out of contract and coach Steve Polack has expressed concern that if they leave, Kogallo will not be competitive in continental football next season

Additional reporting from goal.com

The British coach warns K’Ogalo to make sure they keep their best players ahead of the new season set for August
Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has warned club management they will be going a step down should they allow their best players to leave in the coming transfer window.

K’Ogalo have already been crowned the 2019-20 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions, a fourth straight title in a row, after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) moved to end the top-flight owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

By winning the league, Gor Mahia secured a ticket to represent the country in the Caf Champions League next year but a number of their key players have contracts running down among them defender Joash Onyango and midfielder Boniface Omondi.

Meanwhile, captain Kenneth Muguna and Tanzania duo of keeper David Mapigano and Dickson Ambundo have openly revealed they will leave the club if they get a good offer in the coming window.

It is the reason the British coach has pleaded with the club’s top brass to make sure they keep their best players so they can be able to compete with the best teams in the continent come next season.

“If they [officials] want Gor Mahia to do well in Caf competition, then they must make sure we keep the best players we currently have in the squad for continuity purposes,” Polack told Goal.

“We have to sit down with my management, look at the players whose contracts have run down, are they going to sign are they going to go? If they are not staying, then we must look out for players we have to bring into the club.

“Of course I have players I am interested in but I will always go for sticking with the same team, you have to keep stability and cannot keep changing a team every year, you cannot keep changing 10 to 15 players every year, for me that is wrong and is something I don’t want to see happen at Gor Mahia while I am in charge.

“You cannot have stability in a team when you keep changing players, we have to see the players we have and make sure we keep them, we must talk to those whose contracts are running out and then after that we can go for a few new faces to help complete the squad.”

Asked on whether keeping the squad intact and signing a few new faces will help Gor Mahia to do well in Caf competition, Polack responded: “Of course yes, that is the way to go, when you have your squad intact it becomes easy for the new signings to integrate well and it makes your work easier as a coach.

“But changing your team every year will affect your team because you were improving with the squad, and then you have to start afresh by helping the new signings to get to understand your philosophy and get used to the team, which might take time.”

Last season, Gor Mahia’s dreams of making it to the group stages of the competition were ended after they were knocked out of the first round following a 6-1 aggregate loss to Algeria’s USM Algers.

Kipkirui says he is loyal to Gor Mahia

Gor Mahia prolific talisman Nicholas Kipkirui has assured K’Ogalo fans that he is going nowhere as a mass exodus of players looms at the club.

Kipkirui, who revealed that he has got offers from a number of clubs, says that his allegiance is with the club and he plans to see out his contract which ends in June 2021.

The former Zoo Kericho attacker, who revealed that being broke has forced him to relocate from Nairobi to his home in Kericho County, says Gor was there for him during his long spell with injury and the best way of paying back is to stick with the Kenyan Premier League champions through happier and sad times.

“I’m not going anywhere soon. Yes, I know many will leave at the end of the season because of the tough financial conditions at the club, but I am determined to finish my contract and renegotiate with the club,” he said.

 

Since the exit of their shirt sponsor, Sportpesa in August year, K’Ogalo has found it hard to pay salaries and currently owes players pay for several months.

The 23-year-old, however said his main focus is regaining top form so that he can lead K’Ogalo to clinch both the domestic and continental titles next season.

“I just want to get back to top form and I believe I can achieve that since the injury I had at the start of this season was a great setback and affected my performance,” he added.

The versatile attacker who has been a regular starter at K’Ogalo revealed that he is now training with some of the local clubs in Kericho so as to keep fit.

“I have been following the training schedule given to us by our coach and also trains with local clubs here. There is a lot of talents in Kericho which needs to be tapped,” he said.

The highly rated striker joined Gor in November 2018 from Zoo Kericho, where he is remembered for scoring 14 league goals for the then newly promoted KPL side.

Despite inconsistent performances this season, Kipkurui has managed to be Polack’s first choice striker, relegating Ugandan import Juma Balinya to the bench.

Other strikers Gor boasts of in their squad are Boniface Omondi, Kennedy Agogo, former Kibera Black Stars striker, Nicholas Omondi and former Migori Youth forward, Clinton Okoth.

Kipkirui, the 2018 Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Young Player of the Year Award winner, has bagged four league goals this season.

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Musa, Kahata compare compare their experiences with Kenya

Both Musa Mohamed and Francis Kahata are appreciative of Gor Mahia fans and the fact that the club prepared them for greater things. However they both concluded that clubs overseas are run better than in Kenya. In particular they both noted that since they moved to Zambia and Tanzania respectively, they have not experienced issues with salary delays or non payments as was always the case at Kogalo. Both former Gor Mahia players spoke to goal.com

Musa Mohamed: Mohammed: Gor Mahia prepared me for Nkana FC move

The Harambee Stars defender admits playing for K’Ogalo helped him to secure a transfer to the Zambian league

Kenyan international Musa Mohammed has revealed how playing for Gor Mahia in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) prepared him well for a move abroad.

The soft-speaking defender had admitted his ten years at K’Ogalo, during which captained the side for nine, played a key role in his move to sign for Zambian club Nkana FC.

“Gor Mahia is a big team with a huge number of fans who are always pushing you to perform better day by day. If you have played for Gor Mahia you can play for any club anywhere,” Mohammed told reporters on Tuesday.
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Mohammed however, took issue with the management style of the Kenyan club, saying Nkana are run in a more professional manner where players are well taken care of.

“The fact is; it is much better playing here in Zambia. The club officials treat players well and everything that you have agreed on, a player is given. In other words, everything is run and managed in a professional manner compared to at Gor Mahia,” Mohammed continued.

Mohammed further said he did not take much time to settle in Zambia because of the huge number of Kenyan players featuring in the league.

Some of the players include Duncan Otieno (Nkana FC), Jesse Were, John Makwatta, Ian Otieno, and David Owino (Zesco United) and keeper Shaban Odhoji of Napsa Stars FC.

“It was easy for me. Before travelling to Zambia, I had been in touch with a number of Kenyan players and they gave me advice on what to expect. By the time I got there, it was easy to settle in quickly,” Mohammed added.

Meanwhile, Mohammed, who also played for Harambee Stars during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, says he was well motivated with the good preparations the team underwent, which included a high-level training camp in France.

“It has left me with a desire to want to go back to the competition next time. The planning for all the matches were excellent and standing toe to toe with established players in the tournament was a big plus for most of us,” he revealed.

On the bonuses they received from the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), Mohammed said: “I have never received such kind of money while playing for Harambee Stars. It has never happened before and it remains such a big motivation for us to want to go back to the tournament.

“The money helped me to establish myself in many areas and also to complete some projects I had started. My wish is that we can continue to manage our affairs in such a professional manner as it benefits everyone.”

Kahata: Simba SC run more professionally than Gor Mahia

The midfielder made his name playing for K’Ogalo before signing for Wekundu wa Msimbazi last year

Kenya attacking midfielder Francis Kahata has claimed Simba SC are run in a professional manner, more so than Gor Mahia.

Kahata served Gor Mahia from the time he was signed from KF Tirana in 2015 before joining Simba in 2019.

He has been a regular member of the Wekundu wa Msimbazi team and has revealed what sets Gor Mahia and Simba apart.
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“There is a big difference in how Simba are managed compared to Gor Mahia,” Kahata told Goal.

“The Tanzanian giants are more professional. We don’t have issues of delayed salaries, play on good grounds and everything from travelling to team organization is done well.

“People in Tanzania were talking about me even before I joined Simba and so it was easy to fit in. The welcome was amazing and helped me settled down quickly.

“In Tanzania, we have many sponsors and fans are also very passionate. This makes all the difference as the welfare of the players are well taken care of.”

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Shikanda has some valid ideas, Rachier is full of excuses.

This Saturday May 23-2020, TV personality Carol Radull interviewed Dan Shikanda and Ambrose Rachier who are the chairmen of AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia respectively. Shikanda came across as a man determined to lift AFC Leopards from its current morass. He is full of ideas and is burning with ambition. Shikanda, being a Scientist, also seems to approach each problem like the Medic that he is. He diagnoses the problem and offers a solution. Just like a medical Doctor diagnoses an sickness and prescribes a treatment, Shikanda had a clear view of the problems his club is facing and indicated that he is already working on remedies.

Rachier on the other hand appears to have completely run out of ideas. He offered no valid solutions. Instead he went back to the tried and failed tactic of blaming fans and trying to guilt fans into offering support to the club. This is a tactic he has applied for the past couple of years and it has not succeeded especially in the last few years. This does not bode well for the club’s immediate future.

Whereas Shikanda seems to approach each problem like scientist seeking problems, Rachier approaches each problem like the criminal defense lawyer he is, deflecting blame, daring people to produce evidence of corruption and finding creative ways to avoid postpone the issue at hand so he can buy time.

 

Strategic Plan

Shikanda announced that he has developed a 5 year strategic plan that includes building infrastructure for the club. His made it clear that his goal is to close the gap on Gor Mahia on performance and surpass them. Shikanda’s strategic plan involves marketing club products such as cooking oil and bread. He intends to give businesses an opportunity to use the club’s new state of the art bus to market their products.

Shikanda has created a media team that shows fans what happens at AFC every day of the week. This will include player interviews, videos of training sessions, interviews with former players etc. Companies will be invited to market their products during these shows.

In other words, Shikanda is already implementing his strategic plan even with limited finances.

Rachier for his part said that he developed a strategic plan but he cannot implement anything due to lack of funds. He has basically thrown his arms up and surrendered because the club has no funds.

One fan wrote in during the show and called Shikanda a dreamer, even delusional. What such fans don’t realize is that even if Shikanda accomplishes 50% of his strategic plan, it will still leave AFC in a better place than they currently are.

Merchandize Sales

Radull noted that five years ago she wanted to buy Kogalo jerseys. She bought 5 jerseys then she later found out that the jerseys were being sold by a club official as a side hustle. Therefore all the money she spent went to the pockets of that official.

Rachier then said that merchandize sales have failed because fans are buying pirated jerseys made in China and there was nothing he could do about the piracy. Shikanda on the other hand pinpointed the solution which is that the clubs lack an official shop. As a result, when fans want to but jerseys, they often don’t know where to buy official merchandise. Which is one reason why fans end up buying pirated merchandize.

A further reason is pricing. Kogalo at one point had the audacity to sell jerseys at Ksh 5000 at a time pirated jerseys were going for Ksh 1000. This shows that the people running the club are either delusional or lack a basic understanding or merchandising and sales. If it is cheaper to make jerseys in China then why can’t the club also pursue that option? Why not just contract with a supplier who can provide the jerseys cheaper? No fan will buy a jersey at Ksh 5000. The club ought to know this.

Membership Goals

Shikanda noted that when he took over the club, there were 700 members. He has increased the base of paying members to 2000 paying members. Shikanda is targeting to have 10,000 members by the end of this year and before his first term his target is 200,000. The effort is being led by Victor Milimu a club official. They are using the media team to create content to keep fans engaged. Shikanda noted that he plans to make the club self sufficient even without a sponsor.

Rachier for his part noted that Kogalo Only has 400 members paying regularly. He offered that he has pursued tactics like addressing fans on Ramgogi FM, Kogalo fan day, hot 96, Dala FM. However Rachier has no set goals or targets for membership.

Rachier noted that the club has a database of 156,000 members who have contributed via bill. But these fans are not regular contributors. Again Rachier did not state what he will do to increase membership. He once again shifted blame to fans. The same thing he has done for the past few years. The question becomes, if AFC can increase membership threefold within 8 months, why can’t Kogalo also increase membership? Clearly the club is doing something wrong but the chairman is too proud to admit it.

Branches
Rachier noted that the club has 121 branches. Every branch is supposed to send Ksh 10,000 to the club per year regardless of how much they have raised. The branches are only loosely affiliated with the club. They have their own constitution and can raise money using the club’s name without remitting the money to the club. In fact nowadays even famous fans can create club merchandize using the club’s name and make money that should otherwise be going to the club. The club has no control over its branches, some of which are now engaged in outright theft of funds. Even funeral funds. The branches are now ruining the club’s name. No fan should be using the club name to sell merchandize and no branch should be soliciting funds using the club’s name. Rachier being an attorney can implement cease and desist orders.

Accountability

A fan commented that the club’s poor attendance and low membership numbers are due to corruption and misappropriation of gate collections and other fans. But Rachier dismissed those sentiments as wild allegations and even challenged the fan to produce evidence of corruption.

Interestingly, Rachier demanded evidence of corruption within the club yet Radull had just told him that a club official was selling club jerseys as a side hustle and that none of the money was going to the club. Rachier also never addressed the issue of how a player Derek Otanga sensationally claimed that a club official demanded a bribe from him before he could be signed. Otanga instead decided to join Wazito

Unfortunately Radull did not challenge Rachier enough on the issue of transparency which is the primary issue holding fans from paying their hard earned money to become members or even to pay for tickets.

Rachier has been in charge for 12 years. In those 12 years, membership has not increased but instead has actually reduced significantly. A few years back, the club had 1700 members. Apparently it now has only 400 paying members. Yet Rachier persists in blaming fans instead of looking inwardly. He has been told many times that the issue of transparency is the stumbling block. But like a good lawyer, each time transparency is brought up, he deflects, shifts blame, creates alibis and postpones the issue. What makes Rachier an excellent lawyer has been detrimental to club membership recruitment.


Player Strikes

Shikanda highlighted the fact that since he took over Ingwe 8 months ago, the players have not gone on strike.

Electronic Ticketing

Radull challenged Rachier asking why the club has not introduced electronic ticketing. Rachier claims that he tried but it failed because fans would send the confirmation message to other fans. These fans would then show up at the stadium with the confirmation message and claim that they paid. Rachier claimed he gave up on eTicketing for this reason.

But Radull corrected Rachier by indicating that there are companies like TicketSasa that offer a system whereby tickets can be scanned on the phone and therefore the ticket cannot be replicated. Radull was basically alluding to the Outsourcing model that was described on this column a few weeks back.

This segment proved what many fans had suspected all along: Rachier was never serious about eTicketing. What he did was a half-hearted attempt. Then he quickly pretended that eTicketing cannot work. Either he is too set in his ways and does not want to change tact. Or he simply does not want to properly account for gate collections.

Sinking Ship

Rachier admitted that the club is in bad shape, the players are going hungry and are being thrown out of their homes for lack of rent. He blamed this pn lack of participation from fans. He noted that hosting a match sometimes costs Ksh 100,000 yet ticket proceeds are sometimes as low as Ksh 7000.

Shikanda for his part noted that his strategic plan will not depend solely on match attendance on gate collections. He plans to pursue other activities such as the sales of AFC bread, AFC water and AFC cooking oil to put money in club coffers.

Post Covid Plans

Shikanda and his team are already planning for the distinct possibility that when football comes back in August, there will be no fans and there will be no sponsorship. So he plans to sustain the club via products like Ingwe water, Ingwe Sanitizer, Ingwe mafuta and so forth.

Rachier claimed that he has put a team together to study post covid plans but he does not anticipate creating a solid plan because the issue of who will run the league has not been settled.

Rachier and Shikanda then went on an unnecessary rant against FKF because they have decided to appoint referees. They both claimed that FIFA funds should be sent to clubs but Radull promptly corrected them that the FIFA money is meant for football development and is not supposed to be given to fans.

So Rachier admitted that he has no plans for a Post Covid 19 league which will have no sponsor and no gate receipts. He will go back to the tried and failed tactic of trying to guilt fans into contributing to the club.


Marketing

A fan sent a message indicating that a major failure of both clubs is the lack of a good marketing strategy and that both clubs needed to engage professional marketers. Rachier indicated that he has engaged marketers who are engaged on a consultancy basis. He however did not indicate what these consultants have accomplished or what their specific purpose was, nor whether they have performance objectives or goals.

Shikanda for his part indicated that he has hired two individuals: Ronald Namai and Joseph Murule to lead the marketing effort by the club. They have clear marching orders to expose the club’s brand and each have revenue targets.

Accomplishments

Radull challenged Rachier to explain why he has been at helm for 12 years yet he has not improved the club’s financial stability. Rachier took credit for winning the league six times. He said he has failed to stabilize the club financially. He however said the failure was due to lack of sponsors. He blamed his inability to implement his strategic plan on the departure of sponsors.

However it is worth noting that even when the club had sponsors, Rachier never implemented his strategic plan. In 2016, when Sportpesa wwere announced as the new club sponsor, this blog published an article suggesting steps the club should take to stabilize the club financially and plan for a future where there might be no sponsor. Of course not a single idea from that article was ever implemented.

The Sports Fund

Rachier and Shikanda complained that the Sports fund which was created by the government to fund sporting activities. However that fund is likely going to be used for various national teams. It is unlikely that any of that money will ever go to clubs.

Summary
Rachier deserves credit for the six titles the club has won. It must be said however that the titles happened during a period when Kogalo had sponsorship and decent gate receipts. Even in 2015 when the club had no sponsor, they were able to count on good gate receipts and the large donations from politicians. Rachier deserves credit for the six titles the club has won. It must be said however that the titles happened during a period when Kogalo had sponsorship and decent gate receipts. Even in 2015 when the club had no sponsor, they were able to count on good gate receipts and the large donations from politicians.

In 2020 things have changed. There will be no sponsor. There will be no gate receipts, only empty stadia to start the new season. If Rachier does not change tact, the club is doomed. Unfortunately Rachier appears set in his ways and unwilling to change. He is still of the mindset that he should get money from sources like the sports fund, the FKF and from fans. And he believes that he should not have to be accountable or transparent. If this continues, the club is headed for a bleak performance in 2020-2021.

Matters don’t look promising. Whereas Shikanda offered plenty of hope to AFC fans, Rachier did not offer anything to look forward to for the fan base. We hope matters change. We hope somebody can intervene and cause Rachier to change direction. The only good news is that towards the end of the interview, Rachier admitted that there is a lot more that he can do. So maybe there is some hope yet.

Please note that the goal of this column is not to simply bash the chairman. This author recognizes that Rachier deserves most of the credit for all the titles the club has won. The purpose of this column is to sound the alarm. This club is headed in the wrong direction. The Chairman seems intent on pursuing tried and failed methods. If matters are not remediated, the immediate future will prove disastrous.

Article by Vincent “Video Editor”  Ogutu
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Bus repair divided fan opinion

A story in the Daily Nation indicates that a branch of Kogalo fans have raised a significant amount of money towards the repair of the team bus. The action has divided fans who question why repairs are needed at a time when the team is not traveling and players are going without pay.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia fans, through their branches, have taken a huge step towards renovating the team bus by issuing a down payment of Sh187,113 out of Sh250,000 required to get the job done.

The money was collected by the branches under umbrella of GMFC COC with the repair expected to be completed once the remaining Sh62,887 is raised.

“Thank you for the good job you did in raising fund towards GMFC bus repair. On Sunday 17th we manage to give a down payment Sh 187,113,” reads part of a post on Gor Mahia FC Facebook page

“The mechanic agreed to do the repair at a cost of Sh250,000. We urge all GMFC branches which have not fulfilled their pledges to send their contributions as quick as possible to enable us raise the remaining amount totalling to Sh62,887,” the post further reads.

Pictures of a dummy cheque of the issued amount were also shared on the post.

However, the decision has not gone well with a section of fans, who claim that the money should have been used to pay players who have gone for months without salaries.

FANS’ VIEWS

“I can only be proud of you guys mkisema players wamelipwa hiyo bus haijawai cheza game hata moja. Players wanaumia hawalipwi mnakuja na kiherehere ya bus,” wrote one fan by the name Bingi Man.

“Misplaced priority,” said a certain Tom Okoth.

Others supported the idea saying they are also open to mobilization of resources to buy the team a new bus.

“How I wish we could gift the team with a Scania after winning this trophy again this year. Let’s try comrades. Together we can,” said George Vallens while George Guya wrote “Good job next try to give a quotation for new bus.”

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Jackson Owusu detained in hotel over unpaid bills

Gor Mahia’s newly signed Ghanaian midfield ace Jackson Owusu is being held in a Nairobi hotel over an outstanding bill and also claims he hardly has anything to eat.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Imagine you are in a foreign land where there is no activity relating to your profession and your freedom is severely limited.

This is the situation Gor Mahia’s Ghanaian import Jackson Owusu has found himself in. He is trapped in a hotel in Nairobi and his unpaid bills have sky rocketed to Sh600,000. The cancellation of the Kenyan Premier League because of the coronavirus outbreak has aggravated his situation.

The versatile midfielder has been staying at Jimlizer Hotel in Buru Buru. Gor Mahia’s Organising Secretary Judith Anyango ‘Nyangi” confirmed that K’Ogalo owes the hotel over Sh600,000 due to earlier and current pending bills.

Owusu narrated to Nation Sport how he is dead broke and how his pleas to the club management to pay the bills have fallen on deaf ears. He said the club has not responded as fast as he expected.

The Ghanaian import, who joined Gor Mahia during the January transfer window, was able to earn a starting berth under coach Steven Polack. He even featured in the last “Mashemeji” derby against arch-rivals AFC Leopards in February.

Polack and Owusu had earlier worked together when the coach handled Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko during the 2018 season. Polack is revered by the Ghanaian giant’s fans for leading them to the group stages of the Caf Confederation Cup.
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“Gor Chairman Ambrose Rachier has been promising to come and assist me but he has not been here. I am not allowed to leave with anything out of the hotel until their is a commitment from the club that the money would be paid. As at now, I don’t know when this will happen,” Owusu said.

He said the issue has annoyed his parents in Ghana who are worried about his plight in a foreign land.

“My parents are poor and fully depend on me. They live in Kumasi, many kilometres away from Accra. Circumstances have forced me to reach out to them for help. Because of my condition, my parents travel to town from Kumasi to send me something little to survive on. We have not been paid by the club, therefore, I cannot help them,” Owusu said.

“Sometimes, I only eat one meal a day. I only get the food if the attendant at the hotel is instructed by the manager. Some fans brought me food on Wednesday and I am really grateful for their kind gesture.”

However, a source at Gor Mahia said it is unclear clear how Owusu was still staying in the hotel yet fellow foreign players David Mapigano and Juma Balinya had rented apartments.

“Usually when a foreign player joins Gor, they familiarise themselves with the environment for even a month then after getting their salary they rent houses,” a source who sought anonymity said.

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