Unlike last season when Gor Mahia went to Tanzania and Rwanda, this time Gor Mahia have to travel to extreme ends of the continent, flying to North Africa twice and to Angola once. The cost of travel is exhorbitant and club chairman Ambrose Rachier is once again appealing to the government for assistance.
Additional reporting from the Nation
Gor Mahia need Sh35 million to honour their upcoming Caf Confederation Cup group stage matches. And the 17-time Kenyan champions have already sent a distress call to the government to bail them out ahead of their opening match next month.
K’Ogalo were pooled in a tough group “D” that has five-time African champions Zamalek of Egypt, Petro Atletico (Angola) and Hussein Dey of Algeria in Monday’s draw conducted by Cameroon legend Patrick Mboma in Cairo, Egypt.
Despite celebrating reaching the group stages of this competition for the second successive time, the painful reality has dawned on the club management ahead of their opening game against Zamalek on February 3 in Nairobi.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, whose draw is slated for March 20 in Cairo, Egypt. Quarter-finalists will bag Sh35 million and semi-finalists Sh45 million, while the winners pocket Sh125 million and runners up Sh63 million. Related Content
Gor, who edged out New Stars de Douala of Cameroon 2-1 on aggregate in the previous round, are already sure of receiving Sh27 million for reaching this stage.
However, club chairman Ambrose Rachier says the annual Sh66 million sponsorship from gaming firm SportPesa is insufficient for this campaign. The amount is channelled towards the Sh5.5 million monthly wage bill of the record champions. “First, I would like to thank the government for paying our tickets to Cameroon to honour the New Stars game,” Rachier said. “I humbly appeal to them to cater for accommodation and transport in upcoming trips since we are struggling financially,” the veteran lawyer added.
According to Rachier, an away trip costs about Sh8 million in flight tickets and accommodation. “We are discussing on a motivational scheme for the playing unit for a smooth show this time round,” he concluded. His sentiments were echoed by Deputy Secretary General Ronald Ngala, who said they target to reach the semi-finals having missed by a whisker last season, after finishing third in group “D” on five points, three behind Algerian outfit USM Alger and Rayon Sports of Rwanda, who progressed to the quarterfinals.
Defender Philemon Otieno says they are prepared to make amends despite tough away fixtures in Northern and Southern Africa. “One thing we’ve learnt in these continental fixtures is to be mentally strong when playing away and make sure you convincingly win at home,” confided Otieno, who captained the side in the two-leg playoff.
Gor has up to January 31 to register youthful defender Geoffrey Ochieng’, strikers Ephrem Guikan, Nicholas Kipkirui and legendary Dennis Oliech, who were ineligible to feature in the qualifiers.
GOR MAHIA FIXTURES
February 3: Gor Mahia v Zamalek (Egypt) February 13: Petro Atletico (Angola) v Gor Mahia