Rachier set to exit as Chairman

Ambrose Rachier, who has had the longest ever tenure as Gor Mahia chairman (11 years) and who has won more league titles than any other Chairman (6) is set to leave the club.

Additional reporting from Citizen Sport

Long serving Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier,69,  has shocked the football world announcing his intent to step down from his role at the end of the year.

In a heart-to -heart interview with Citizen Digital, Rachier said that he will not offer himself for re-election in December – during which the constitutional changes he has instituted at the club are expected to culminate in fresh polls.

“My position is that we’re going through the constitution making process which should be concluded in June. I estimate that we will need another six months to put everything in place and by December, in my estimation, we should have elections.

He added: “What I’m saying is that I won’t offer myself for re-election at the end of the year in the next election.

“We will be looking for some window period…to hold elections so that it doesn’t interfere with the team,” he said.

Queried as to why he’s suddenly leaving a club which he has led with distinction for 11 years, Rachier said: “The new Sports Act requires us (federation officials and club presidents) to do two terms of four years.

He went on: “Overstaying is usual; it is a disease especially at levels of governance in Africa. It’s a noble thing to leave it (leadership) to younger generation. There are others who think I’ve overstayed and now refer to be Mugabe,” he joked.

In the recent past Rachier under whose tenure Gor rose from the woods after a 15-year period of lull and began to challenge for titles had indicated that he won’t “desert the club” but leave it in the care of capable hands.

Asked as to whether he still sticks to this school of thought, he opined:  “I actually won’t say that I’ve picked somebody (to take over the leadership)but I do not want to leave chaos… I won’t campaign for somebody but I’ll look for means not to leave it in chaos… but eventually it will be members decision.”

Vilified and adored in equal measure,  Rachier stint saw the club end their 18-year wait for a Kenyan Premier league title claiming the coveted gong in 2013 and have since gone on to monopolise the competition, winning it six times under his watch besides bagging two KPL Top Eight titles, a further four KPL Super Cups and two domestic cups.

Since then K’Ogalo have made appearances at the continental football every year bar in 2017, reaching the quarter fianls of the Caf Confederations Cup this term.

However critics point to his failure to lead the club in building its own stadium, training facility an a club house.

Either way, whichever one looks at it, his exit is set to be a hit below the belt for the glamour club with the much sought after financial freedom still a mirage.

Rachier outlines status of club finances and land

Speaking to Citizen Sport, Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier gave a detailed report of the club’s finances which suggests that the club is deep in debt

Additional reporting from Citizen Sport

Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants Gor Mahia FC are shouldering a Sh. 105.5 million in debt burden according a summary of the club’s income and expenditures this season.

Gor’s revenue streams – including sponsorship funds and the sale of club merchandise have raked in Sh. 111.8 million but the KPL champions a massive 217.3 million with the cost of international travel alone eating up a third of that.

International transportation cost Gor Sh.72 million with player salaries and those of the club’s officials amounting to Sh. 62 million.

In a rundown provided by Gor’s chairman Ambrose Rachier, it shows the club also made Sh. 13 million in profit from player transfers while counterfeits meant only a paltry Sh.400, 000 have been collected from the sale of merchandise.

Gate collections from local and continental matches amount for KSh. 7 million while they were also paid a total Sh15 million by continental governing body CAF thanks to a season in which they became the first ever Kenyan team to reach the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals.

Rachier stated his desire to trim what he termed a ‘bloated office’ at the club but emphasized such powers can only be available to him once the new constitution – which he said would be ready by May 9 – is adopted.

Land

He also gave an update on the club’s long-drawn-out plan to build its own stadium, suggesting conflicts in location and unresolved land conflict as their biggest setback.

“The Embakasi land has been grabbed and the title deed got lost during Erastus Okuls’s era as the chairman. I’m following up on the Kasarani’s 10-acre piece of land but the problem is the title deed can only be registered in my name.

“The Constitution hasn’t given me the powers to make certain decisions that can make Gor Mahia a business entity,” Rachier told Ramogi FM.

Rachier also announced Gor will start awarding professional contracts to its youth team players in what could make the first KPL club to do so.

A partnership deal with Brookside, which he said will be announced next week, could prove a turning point for the club’s junior team with the extra funds set to be diverted their way.

Gor already agreed a deal with the milk processing company but no contracts have been signed yet and Rachier expects the paperwork to be complete by the end of this week.

“Rogue Players”

The official meanwhile also reiterated his resolve to crack the whip on ‘rogue’ players at the club when the KPL season comes to a close.

Rachier vowed to punish indisciplined players following the extraordinary timeline of events that led to Gor’s exit from the CAF Confederation Cup.

Photos of Gor players lying helplessly on the floor at the airport lounge in Doha, Qatar sparked online outrage and prompted Rachier into calling a press briefing to clear the air over the issue.

He turned the heat on the players and specifically called out Francis Kahata and Philemon Otieno for “conjuring up malicious pictures to evoke sympathy and fake suffering.”

Officials say players are being incited

Club official Ronald Ngala says that a club official keeps inciting players towards boycotts and go-slows while Chairman Rachier has vowed disciplinary action

Additional reporting from the Nation
Gor Mahia’s hierarchy has vowed to crack the whip on the playing unit following a boycott that led to 2-0 loss to Morocco’s RS Berkane in first leg match of Caf Confederation Cup quarter-final match on Sunday in Nairobi.

And a disbandment of the playing unit is one of the options officials are contemplating. The club’s leadership on Tuesday said that while players are right to demand money owed to them, the playing unit was being incited by a club official to arm-twist the office into acting upon ‘unreasonable demands.’

Deputy Secretary General Ronald Ngala told Nation Sport that some club officials have made shadowy deals with players with the aim of taking home part of the winning allowances and bonuses paid to the players.

Ngala said the players have conveniently forgotten that each of them received Sh100,000 last month as bonus for reaching the quarter-finals of Caf Confederation Cup.

The long serving Gor official reiterated Monday’s threat by club chairman Ambrose Rachier that players have taken the issue of boycott ‘a little too far’’, adding that ‘a drastic action’ is now inevitable.

“Do you know there is a time when the club operated without a sponsor for two years? Yet the players never complained as much as they are doing now. Let’s not go round in circles. These players are being incited by one of us,” Ngala said.
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“It is regrettable that some of us have sunk so low that they share these monies with the players. So they incite the players to go on strike so that they can also get their share. That is quite unfortunate.”

“We have noted this and have been keeping quiet as officials for long, but action must now be taken. If we follow the law, the players stand to lose big time,” he said.

Ngala’s comments come a day after Gor players candidly spoke to Nation Sport about the ill-treatment they have endured in the course of the current campaign that culminated in the poor performance against RS Berkane.

The rift between the players and the management is now growing wider, and there was an unusually sombre mood yesterday at Camp Toyoyo where the players converged to train for the first time since the Sunday’s match.

K’Ogalo is scheduled to play Bandari this afternoon in Mbaraki in a SportPesa Shield round of 16 match. The team leaves Thursday night for Morocco to play RS Berkane in return match on Sunday.

Rachier: Gor Mahia needs Ksh 35m for CAF Fixtures

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

Thanks Sonko and Namwamba but Kogalo must do better

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By Monday April 16, only two days before Kogalo were to play against Supersport United Gor Mahia still had not obtained tickets nor visas. It took the geneosity of Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko to save the day when he donated 30 tickets. This after Sports minister Mike Achesa had refused to facilitate tickets. Then the intervention of  Ababu Namwamba (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) enabled K’Ogalo to obtain Visas. Still it was too late to save the day for Ephrem Guikan and Tuyisenge who both missed the trip because their work permits did not meet the criteria required by the South African consulate.

Gor Mahia officials have known for over a month that they would require South Africa visas. And fans have been posting online and in social media that previous Kenyan teams have had difficulty getting such visas. In fact the Kenya women’s youth team once camped at the South Africa embassy after the South African embassy started to make things difficult for their travel.

Yet despite all the advance notice, no one in the Executive Committee saw it fit to start working on obtaining Visas and tickets. Had it not been for Namwamba,  who likes sports and a Nairobi governor (Sonko) who is wealthy enough to donate tickets, Gor Mahia would have been disqualified from the 2018 Confederations cup and possible barred from competing in 2019.

So Kogalo fans must thank Sonko for his generosity and Namwamba for coming to the rescue of the club. But Kogalo fans must demand better from the Chairman. How is it possible that he has been in power since 2008 a but has never seen it fit to change the constitution so the club is run by competent people? And how is it that Ludovick Aduda keeps getting appointed as CEO yet he has not proven competent? One wonders what qualifies him to be the club CEO and what if any accomplishments he has achieved.

For years the club fans  have asked for a competent person to be appointed as General Manager. This person should be in charge of the day to day affairs of the club including ticketing, visas, air-tickets, matchday tickets, accounting and so forth. Eventually the club can expand and start appointing another person to perform tasks like marketing the club, pursuing sponsorships and so forth. This person should be on a performance contract. The more money he brings into the club, the more money he should be paid. Let an established firm like KPMG perform the recruiting and hiring of these individuals.

Gor Mahia has lost several international matches due to self inflicted errors. This is because our system of elections does not yield the best candidates. Its time to create a progressive constitution where competent people are hired to run the club. An independent body like KPMG should interview and hire these people. Left to Rachier, he will likely appoint Ludovick Aduda again.

Kogalo was lucky this time that Sonko and Namwamba came to the rescue. If they continue like this then we might see worse during the group stage. Fans must now make their voices heard. We need competent people running the club.

Gor Mahia unable to secure Visas and Tickets

Ambrose Rachier

As of Monday April 16, with two days left before the match against Supersport, Gor Mahia have yet to secure travel Visas.

“We are in problems because South African embassy is insisting that we applied for the visas late. They have a strict rule that a visa to their country must take five working days and we applied for it with only four days to go.  We hope the Kenyan government will step in and help us secure the same.” said a club official to goal.com

Chairman Ambrose Rachier has admitted that the club is in dire straits

“Over the last two trips we have gone out, the government has been providing tickets for us. Up to now, they are yet to give us anything. If by tomorrow (Tuesday) we don’t have tickets, then I don’t see us travelling not unless a well wisher comes out. We don’t have money as a club,” Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier told Capital Sport.

On Visas Rachier says the team applied for their visas last Tuesday and was booked for interviews on Wednesday, the same day they were facing Wazito FC in a league fixture in Machakos. They went for the interviews on Thursday.

“We couldn’t boycott the match in Machakos and we went on Thursday. The embassy has insisted that they will start counting the five days from Thursday. So we wait and see, hopefully they will be considerate and we can get the visas tomorrow and travel at night,” Rachier further explained.

The embassy also made it difficult to secure travel documents for the foreign players.

“The embassy required us to provide one-year work permits but immigration here only gives six month work permits. So we don’t know how that will go down with them. We have explained and so we wait. It is a very precarious situation for the club,” Rachier said to Capital Sports.

The South African embassy makes travel to South Africa difficult. The Kenya women’s football team once had to camp at the embassy in protest until they were given visas.

Club secretary Ben Omondi also admitted dire straits on his social media pages.

“We are in bad shape making it hard for the team to fly to South Africa for the Caf- Confederation return leg match planned for 18th , April 2018. We have done all within our means to get travel documentations right in good time but things are not working as scheduled thus our travel to Pretoria is postponed.” said Omondi

Traveling late could doom Gor Mahia’s chances. In 2015, the Kenya U23 arrived on Botswana mere hours before their match against their Botswanan counterparts. They lost 0-3 after conceding three late goals due to travel fatigue.

Nyangi blames Aduda

And club organizing secretary Judith Nyangi is laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of CEO Omondi Aduda.

“We are in bad shape making it hard for the team to fly to South Africa for the Caf Confederation Cup return leg planned for April 18, 2018. “We have done all within our means to get all travel documentations right in good time but things are not working as scheduled thus our travel to Pretoria is postponed.”

But speaking separately, Nyangi revealed that she was kept at bay in the process of securing visas by Aduda, who was the mastermind of all the activities regarding the team travel.

“I don’t know what is happening, all these mess I am hearing them from the media. I was not involved in planning and I decided to keep calm after he (Aduda) refused to pick my calls.”

Nyangi noted that Gor Mahia have had a long time to plan for this trip so no excuses are cceptable.

“We have to say it is him, if not who else? It was known early enough since Gor Mahia left Tunisia that we would face SuperSport United, an official should have begun the work as early as possible. So personally I cannot blame the South African embassy, SA is like Europe and there are no short cuts.”

Aduda was fired from the club in February of 2015 after he was accused by the club of unlawfully representing the interests of the club to the federation as pertains to the clubs position in the ongoing FKF – KPL stand-off whereas the club is in support of the KPL.

Rachier says he is not asleep at the wheel

Ambrose Rachier was asked by Tom Osanjo about allegations of embezzlement by certain club officials. He responded as described below.

I am indeed investigating the embarrassing claims of fraudulent false account as also of the defalcation of funds from gate collections.

Regarding the putting up of a stadium, we are actually working on the architectural plans which I can share with you.

Next February, we intend to hold celebrations to mark 50 years of the club’s existence during which we will take stock of our achievements and chart the way to achieving the desired professionalism.

One of the challenges, apart from ticketing, is the attitude of fans towards paying to enter the stadium which we must change.

Rachier has been missing in action even as other premier league clubs like Kariobangi Sharks accuse Kogalo of short-changing them when it comes to gate proceeds.

Mr. Rachier please take charge before the league is lost

All the Gor Mahia players as well as the technical bench boycotted training on Wednesday. According to coach Ze Maria, the club must fulfill certain obligations in order for training to resume.

“I have some issues with the office and I want them to be sorted out before I resume training. As a team fighting for the title, we need to train in a conducive environment but unfortunately this has not been the case. We have done our best as a technical bench to protect the players but it has not been easy,” he told Goal.com

Ze Maria did not turn up for training on Tuesday or on Wednesday. After a flying start, Gor Mahia are in danger of going off-course in their quest to reclaim the title they lost to Tusker.

In 2012, Gor Mahia started the season poorly due to infighting within the technical bench. By the time the situation was addressed, The league was already 25% completed. In the end they narrowly lost the league on the last day. Had they addressed the issues earlier, they would have won the league.

In 2016, the poor start was caused by fighting between coach Frank Nuttall and the Executive committee. Had these issues been resolved before the season started, Gor Mahia would have won the league. On top of that, lax security caused Gor Mahia to lose three points which were deducted due to one fan.

In essence Gor Mahia should have won the league 5 times in a row from 2012 to 2016, if not for self inflicted wounds.

The player strike comes hot on the heels of Gor Mahia being thrown out of their Nyayo stadium offices and also being thrown out of their Camp Toyoyo training ground due to late payments.

And now there is public bickering between two officials over the issue of stewards and the issue of gate receipts.

This kind of incompetence and lack of transparency also hurts the club’s public image and can make it difficult to get sponsors in the future.

The infighting and poor organization is threatening to derail the club’s league campaign just as it did in 2012 and 2016.

The one critical element missing in all this is newly elected Chairman Ambrose Rachier. Since his re-election, he seems to have taken a hands off approach and it is beginning to affect the club. In fact Rachier has been more active on KPL related issues than with issues affecting the club.

And Rachier has had 8 years to transform the club into a well run unit with qualified professionals each with well established  assignments and performance contracts. Instead we are stuck with elected officials, many of whom are not competent and with vague assignments. Does anyone known what an assistant deputy secretary does? And can anyone explain why the club has a sponsor yet salaries are not being paid on time?

The time has come to change constitution to get competent officials so that the club is run professionally.

Rachier backing Ze Maria

Gor Mahia chairman, Ambrose Rachier has admitted that there is immense pressure from fans to make changes in the technical bench. However for now he is sticking with Brazilian tactician Ze Maria. Rachier and Ze Maria had a discussion about the string of poor results and the Brazilian gave satisfactory reasons for the losses.

“I summoned the coach today and he gave satisfactory reasons why we have lost all the 3 matches,” Rachier said. According to the club boss, the tactician blamed the losses on a couple of things. In Sudan, the coach mentioned that the team was still fresh from holiday and the players had hardly had enough time to train together. Against Thika, the coach said that he tried out all the players available, and didn’t feature his best team as his intention was to watch each player individually. According to Rachier, Ze Maria laid blame on lack of fitness for the loss to Onduparaka, who he noted were much fitter then” . This according to Kenyanstar newspaper.

Rachier also noted that pre-season results were not a good way to gauge a coaches’ performance.

“It was important to sit with the coach and find out the real issues. It would set a bad precedence is we sacked the coach based on the performance in pre-season. We have given the coach very clear targets and indicated to him that we want good results once the season starts,” Rachier said, adding, “The coach assured us that results will be better.” he continued to Kenyanstar.

Under Nuttall in 2015, Gor Mahia recorded poor pre-season results including surprise losses to Mombasa combined and a 3-0 loss to Power Dynamos of Zambia.

Many fans have been clamouring for the return of Frank Nuttall under whom Gor Mahia won the league twice and went unbeaten. But Rachier hinted at why Nuttall’s return was a non-starter.

“There are some coaches who get to the club, perform well then later team up with fans, incite them and start making some crazy demands. They feel they are demigods . The best thing to do is part ways with such coaches very fast and avoid further destabilization of the team.” he said.

FKF now suspends KPL and its officials

FKF chairman Nick Mwendwa has announced that the Kenya Premier League has been suspended until further notice. In addition, foru KPL officials have been suspended for bringing the game into disrepute.

“KPL and FKF have been at war for over 14 years. We have been doing this over and over again and we can’t keep extending these wars,” infuriated Mwendwa said according to Capital Sports.

Those who will face disciplinary hearings are KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda, Chairman James Musyoki, his vice Ambrose Rachier and Mathare United chairman Bob Munro for going against the federation’s directives despite being part of the JEC.

“FKF disciplinary committee will follow due process and summon individuals to be heard and they will pass a ruling after for us to implement. The three have brought the game into disrepute. We take serious exceptions as a federation in what KPL said in their statement as well as Rachier’s letter going against clear directives,” Mwendwa railed.

Mwendwa is infuriated because KPL announced league fixtures that excluded Zoo Kericho, Nakumatt, Vihiga United and KCB whom Mwendwa had announced were promoted.

“These same people have been at the JEC when we sat and agreed things and now they are going against the very same things we reached resolutions on. Those are blatant lies they are spreading and we can’t as a federation accept because we have facts. There are consequences when you don’t follow regulation,” Mwendwa said.

Instead the schedule included Sofapaka and Muhoroni Youth who were demoted for not meeting CAF licensing guidelines.

“We did our regulations and sent to CAF who approved that if you don’t have a club license by end of year 2016, you shall be relegated. I have the details of the AGM meeting. Item number 14 we voted on the proposal to adopt club licensing regulation. We got 70 votes against zero. If a club is not licensed, it will not be in the top tier league,” Mwendwa affirmed.

KPL clubs have been against league expansion to 18 teams. Rachier has noted that this means less money for each team. According to Capital Sports,  Mwendwa also said the financial implication was agreed on at Sh36mn and FKF is expected to deposit Sh24mn to KPL by April.

However, Mwendwa was at pains to substantiate allegations that both Nakumatt FC and Zoo Kericho had offered to add Sh10mn each to the agreed Sh36mn kitty to cater for an 18-team league, creating a clear conflict of interest as they will benefit from the league expansion.

“What is wrong with that?” Mwendwa posed when asked about the allegation.