Rachier discusses future plans, the highs and lows of the Chairmanship

Ambrose Rachier gave an at length interview to the Daily Nation discussing

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier is a man loved and hated in equal measure.

Whenever his name is mentioned, there arises two varied views among K’Ogalo followers.

On one side, he is a person who has brought a lot of success to the club, given it a new lease of life and ensured the stability for more than a decade now.

On the other side, he is a veteran administrator who has refused to leave office since he was first elected in 2008.

In fact, a section of fans, unhappy with his long stay at the helm of one of East Africa’s biggest clubs, have nicknamed him “Mugabe” comparing him to former Zimbabwe president, the late Robert Mugabe, who ruled his country with an iron fist hand for 40 years.

So one cold Wednesday afternoon we paid the Gor Mahia boss a visit and delved into his tenure with the Kenyan glamour club.

Dressed in a grey sharp suit, he looked jovial as he welcomed us to his office in Hurlingham, in the outskirts of Nairobi’s busy Central Business District.

He breathes with confidence and jokes on how he has kept us waiting for over half an hour before we start the interview start.

Surprisingly, the office looks like a sports apparel shop, laden with trophies and medals displayed on the table and shelves rather than law books and case files.

These are trophies Gor Mahia have won before and under his tenure. He says they are in his private office for safety reasons.

TOUGH QUESTIONS

He looks younger than his 71 years, born in 1949, in a bus near Molo when his mother was travelling from Siaya to Nairobi.

Well at ease he challenges this scribe to ask tough question as he has never been subjected to that by Kenyan journalists.

Rachier is a second born in a family of 12 and is married with seven children. His first born son and daughter have followed in his footsteps and are currently practising law.

He has practised law since 1974 and is in no hurry to retire.

Rachier did his A Levels at Alliance High School in 1969-1970 and then proceeded to study French at the University of Madagascar at diploma and master level.

In September 1971 he joined Dar es Salaam where he studied law graduating in 1975.

In 1975 he established a law firm with veteran lawyer George Oraro before establishing his won firm, Rachier and Amollo advocates.

He has taught law for the past 27 years and currently teaches Health Law and Policy to Master’s students at Strathmore University.

Does he have any sports background?

Rachier played as a full back for Alliance School and University of Madagascar football teams.

He was eager to continue with his football at Dar es Salaam and Nairobi but said he could not find a football team then.

ELECTION

Rachier revealed that he became Gor Mahia chairman unexpectedly in 2008 despite not having any interest in challenging the then chairman Erastus Okul.

“I never actually offered myself for any elective post in Gor Mahia. On May 8, 2008 while doing my work at my office at Reinsurance Plaza at around 10am, I heard some noise and a group of unruly youth overpowered the security at the gates and entered my office,” he says.

The youth forcefully removed him from his office drove him in his pickup to City Stadium where they raised his hands and in acclamation made him the chairman.

“I recognise two of them, namely Jamadar and David Dede. I said ‘no’ because I knew the chairman was Okul and we agreed to postpone the elections to the following Sunday. We met with Okul before the day and he passed the mantle to me before formalising it at City Stadium as the fans celebrated the change of guard,” he added.

He confesses that he had not campaigned or showed interest in any position at the club but concedes he regularly watched the team’s home and away matches.

Rachier says he is not leaving anytime soon as some of his opponents have been proposing because the club is worse and he can’t leave it in the hands of individuals he says will worsen the situation.

This contradicts his earlier announcement last year promising to leave by December of that year.

The veteran lawyer says he wants to leave the club better than he found it and will not hold shoddy elections just to acquiesce to those demanding for the exercise to be undertaken.

“I will hold elections when the club is stable financially and leave it in safe hands. The registrar has talked to me and she pointed out that the elections are long overdue,” he says.

Indeed Gor Mahia elections are overdue. The club held its last election in December 11, 2016. A term of office lasts two years.

“Rachier was supposed to have called the elections in 2018 but promised to do so by 2019 December after getting a consent from the registrar.
The registrar of sports has been on our neck but now it is not known when the elections will be held because of the current financial situation at the club,” said Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda.

In the last elections, Rachier garnered 579 votes to floor his challengers Chrispine Omondi and Dan Oketch who got 157 and 220 votes respectively.

Gor Mahia are currently experiencing many challenges which Rachier believes need to be addressed first rather than holding elections which is not a priority now according to him.

Rachier says he also wants to see Gor Mahia build a modern stadium in one of the parcels of land given to the club by late President Daniel Arap Moi.

Even though the land at Embakasi has since been encroached by individuals, he assures K’Ogalo fans that the club’s piece of land at Kasarani is safe and his dream of building a stadium must come to pass before he leaves.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Rachier also cited his achievements, disappointments and the future of the record 18 times Kenyan champions.

His best achievements are winning multiple Kenyan Premier League titles, helping Gor Mahia reclaim its lost glory and ending hooliganism which was at it apex when he took over.

The 46 trophies Gor have won in different campaigns during his tenure underlines the club’s success this past decade.

Even with the regular titles Rachier still bristles with anger when he remembers how Gor Mahia lost the title to Tusker in 2016.

He blames board room decisions and politics which he says were engineered by the then Football Kenya Federation CEO Robert Muthomi and President Nick Mwendwa.

“What the federation did was painful because they denied us points by focusing on a match against Tusker that had taken place way back in the first leg. Otherwise the trophy was ours,” he says.

The most painful season was in 2012 he says when Tusker snatched the league title at the 11th hour breaking K’Ogalo fans’ hearts as they were about to throw one big, wild party in celebration of their first triumph in 17 years.

“That day we were dressed up, had printed T-shirts and were excited because we were sure of being champions. As the match was about to end, Thika United scored an equaliser in the last minute and that is how our celebration was cut off by eventual winners Tusker. I cried and to me it was the lowest moment as Gor Mahia chairman,” he says.

He singles out Rwandese striker Jacques Tuyisenge and Teddy Akumu as the best foreign and local based players signed under his tenure.

In administration, he says the saddest moment is the numerous go slows over unpaid salaries.

He remembers a sad instance where a player whose wife had given birth to twins was almost being thrown out of his house because of unpaid rent arrears.

“It hit me hard because of the welfare of the twins, it was such a shame. This was sad and I even thought of quitting the club,” he says.

The club continues to suffer financially following the exit of the gaming firm SportPesa last year as their shirt sponsors.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Rachier says Gor Mahia’s sponsorship deal with sportswear company Umbro will officially start after the end of this season. He also makes assurances that Gor will have a major sponsor before the start of the 2020-2021 season.

Umbro will officially launch their sports kits according to the partnership with K’Ogalo next month but the struggles and sufferings in payment of salaries will have to be endured till the end of the season.

What of Football Kenya Federation’s looming takeover of the KPL? Rachier say KPL doesn’t oppose the coming change as long as FKF can run the league smoothly.

“FKF should learn from leading football nations. The federation doesn’t run the league. Bundesliga, English Premier League and Ligue 1 are run by the league body. Even in famous leagues in Africa like South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt the issue is the same,” he added.

Rachier has stood for the FKF presidency twice before and lost.

He says he has decided not to challenge Mwendwa this year because he is no longer interested in the post due to controversies concerning legalities and compliance to the Sports Act.

His worst regret in life is trying his hands in politics in 2007. He vied for the ODM ticket for the Gem parliamentary seat but the party’s intricacies saw him denied the ticket.

He eventually ran on a Narc ticket but lost to an ODM opponent. He has sworn never to try his hands in politics because of what he went through that year.

For now, he continues with his law practice while working to transform Go Mahia into a modern, rich and successful football club.

Rachier: Players have not been paid for 4 months


Gor Mahia Chairman Ambrose Rachier admits that the playing unit has not been paid in 4 months

Additional reporting from goal.com
The K’Ogalo chairman admits the situation at the club is tough but insists the players understand and are committed to the team

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier admits it is four months since his players last enjoyed an official salary.

The defending champions have been under tough financial constraints owing to the exit of main sponsors SportPesa at the beginning of the season. Players like Maurice Ojwang have already requested to leave if the 18-time league champions do not settle their dues.

The chairman admits the situation is tough, but they are doing everything possible to ensure the players are comfortable.
Editors’ Picks

“We have no sponsor at all, no sponsor no nothing but we are heading the [Kenyan Premier League] table,” Rachier told Goal on Thursday.

“It is four months since we last paid our players an official salary, but they are understanding the situation and that is why they have remained disciplined and committed to the team. They are not enjoying our problems like others are currently doing.

“Players are getting something for their rent and food as we sort out the financial issues.”
Article continues below

Rachier has denied reports captain Kenneth Muguna has handed a transfer request owing to the current situation.

“[Muguna] has not asked to leave, actually I have nothing from him or his agent. The only player who gave us a notice was Maurice Ojwang’,” Rachier concluded.

Gor Mahia have managed to collect 24 points from their nine games, and the next assignment will be against Ulinzi Stars.

Rachier says Muguna is not leaving

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has said that reports that Kenneth Muguna handed him a formal request to be released are false.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier has dismissed reports that captain Kenneth Muguna is on his way out of the club.

Muguna, who has broken into the national team this season, was conspicuously missing in Gor Mahia’s 2-0 win over Bandari on Sunday amid rumours that Muguna’s representatives, Ango Elite Soccer agency, had written to the club seeking his release letter due to unpaid dues.

K’Ogalo has endured financial constraints this term following the departure of sponsors SportPesa with players reportedly claiming four months salaries. However, Rachier insists he has not received any letter from Muguna.

“Journalists are just interested in negative news about Gor Mahia. There is no player who has written a letter to me stating his desire to leave Gor Mahia,” Rachier told Nation Sport on Monday.

Defender Maurice Ojwang is also said to have written to the management asking to be released.

Muguna, who distanced himself from the rumours, said he will resume training with the rest of the team on Wednesday after recovering from a knock.

“A lot has been said and I don’t want to subject myself to media interviews on an issue that is obvious. I will be training with the team on Wednesday and if the coach sees it fit to field me against Ulinzi Stars it will be for my good,” said Muguna.

Coach Steven Polack confirmed his captain had picked an injury from their previous game against Kakamega Homeboyz.

“I have also seen some issues concerning Kenneth and they are not true. I know and we have spoken about his injury. I will monitor him during our training and sees if he is fit to play,” said Polack.

The record champions take on Ulinzi Stars on Sunday.

Rachier explains why Kogalo left Kisumu

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier says that violent cartels at Moi stadium Kisumu prevented the club from generating sufficient revenue from gate proceeds.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier is not about to offer any apologies for his drastic decision to remove the team’s home matches from Moi Stadium, Kisumu despite the headwinds the action is running into.

“I am doing this with a heavy heart. Of all the towns in this country it is Kisumu where Gor Mahia’s pulse is. You can see it in the fans’ faces. People travel from as far away as my village in Gem Yala, in fact, all over the former Nyanza province to come cheer the team they love.

“However, I have a club to run professionally and the Mafia operating in Kisumu has been robbing the club blind and I cannot continue this way,” he said.

Speaking in his Rachier and Amollo Advocates offices at Mayfair Centre near Nairobi Hospital, the face of the chairman of the multiple league champions shows some strain, revealing a man making a weighty but necessary decision which might not be popular with all.

The ban was necessitated by the invasion of the Moi Stadium by cartels intent on lining their dirty pockets, not giving a care on the state of the club and its players and staff.

What rankled the chairman the most was the blatant thuggery seen on August 31 when Gor left Tusker FC staggering after a thorough beating at the stadium.

According to Rachier, the thugs, brandishing knives and also armed with what the Kenya Police normally refer to as crude weapons, chased away the club’s official stewards and then went on a gate collection spree. Or a looting spree, if you would.

Gor’s treasurer Sally Bolo was quoted in the press giving vivid account of how she had to run for dear life when the yobs came calling.

“They came with crude weapons and openly harassed us. They beat some of our staff, forced dozens of persons to access the stadium for free and still at the end demanded payment for work not done,” she narrated her woes in the picturesque town of Kisumu.

“First they declare that there is no way stewards from Nairobi can go to Kisumu and work there yet there are people in Kisumu who can do the work. What they are forgetting is that these stewards are our staff and they are strangers to the club management,” Rachier lamented.

“We have suspended all our matches in Kisumu and we shall be using alternative home grounds. Even though the lake region is a huge fan base for Gor Mahia, it is sad that we use a lot of money to travel to the city for league matches and end up getting nothing due to cartels and bouncers who pocket our money at the gate and many a times allow the fans to watch our matches free of charge,” said Rachier.

Of course, this news will shatter into pieces and leave a trail of blood in the hearts of K’Ogalo diehard supporters in the lakeside town but Rachier insisted he was acting in the best interest of the club.

He said that the club uses between Sh600,000 to Sh700,000 to prepare the team for a single outing in Kisumu.

He said he is convinced there is some serious Chinese accounting that takes place whenever Gor Mahia plays in Kisumu.

“Take the Tusker match for example. The stadium was packed to the rafters and a person known to me who is well versed with such kind of logistics said he could do a lower estimate of the gate collections totalling at least Sh1.8 million,” he said.

At the end of the day Rachier and his fellow officials were left holding the short end of the stick.

After all deductions, Rachier was handed Sh120,000, and he confesses that this left him heartbroken.

“Can you believe it Tom? After sinking more than half a million in a match all I came back with was some Sh120,000?”

Taking the view of a seasoned businessman Rachier said: “I would not have minded if we broke even. But this one is a bottomless pit and I don’t think it makes business sense to continue throwing good money after bad. I am really sorry for our Kisumu fans.”

But where are the police in all this, I press the chairman.

In all their expense reports the club officials normally list security as one of the items that leave a dent the size of an adult’s head in the budget.

“Honestly I don’t know. Maybe they are normally so focused on crowd control in the stadium and have no time for the gates which maybe they feel we can handle,” Rachier answers.

According to the chairman, the absence of police at the gates is an answered prayer to the goons.

That is if goons say a prayer before a robbery. He says that the guttersnipes usually start a commotion at the gate and in that melee, many get the chance to get into the stadium without parting with even a single cent.

However, it emerges that it is not only those who don’t have two pennies to rub together who enjoy waltzing into the stadium without paying.

Rachier said he had come across cases where people who are well off by any definition of the word intimidating stewards by invoking his (Rachier) name.

“It is in our culture that people love freebies. It is also a culture of ‘you must know people’. Some of these people will tell the stewards how we are fast friends and they don’t see the need to pay. On the other hand my view is that if they are true friends they should help me succeed at the club by paying the gate charges,” said the chairman.

In a candid admission, Rachier said even some of his own stewards have been caught with their fingers in the till, batting on the side of the goons who are hell bent on fleecing the club, perhaps paying heed to the adage of if you can’t beat them join them.

“I know we have had a few cases of some rotten eggs in our steward section and each case has been dealt with accordingly,” said Rachier.

Added to this is the sorry state of affairs that the club does not have a shirt sponsor after SportPesa took a walk because the betting company also had a visitation of pestilences from the authorities over the small issues of taxation and licencing.

All these factors have left K’Ogalo hanging on the cliff with fingertips, financially speaking, a situation Rachier is keen on turning around. For one, the seasoned lawyer believes that e-ticketing is the way forward.

“Some people are using the initial problems we faced and now want us to abandon e-ticketing in its entirety. I don’t think this is the right way of doing things,” he said.

I ask if he could consider printing tickets. “Tickets is also a bit demanding. Number two, reason we usually release the tickets for sale just hours before a match is because of the same cartels who have the ability to forge the tickets which means we will have earned no money,” Rachier states.

On this e-ticketing thing Rachier and his AFC Leopards counterpart Dan Shikanda seem to agree that it will provide the lock step and barrel solution to the financial woes facing two of Kenya’s oldest and most followed clubs.

On Friday, Shikanda was quoted in this newspaper calling on Ingwe fans to embrace the e-ticketing technology to avoid crowding at the stadium gates during the team’s home matches.

He appealed to the club’s entire fan base to hitch a ride on the e-ticketing ship.

“I urge all our fans whom I appreciate for their continued support to buy tickets early enough through e-ticketing so as to avoid last minute rush,” Shikanda implored Ingwe’s followers.

Back to Rachier and the Gor Mahia boss admitted that the piloting of the e-ticketing system had seen some expected teething problems, but he was adamant that e-ticketing would, if not totally eliminate, grossly reduce the corruption at the gates and help the club spruce up its dreary looking books of accounts.

As the interview draws to a close I remember the phone conversation we had when we were fixing the appointment Thursday night.

I wanted an early meeting which would free up my time for other engagements. But Rachier told me, “don’t make it too early, you know us Mugabes we are not early risers.”

Then we both broke into laughter.

You see, for the fact that he has stayed in Gor for quite some time — at 11 years he is the longest serving chairman ever — some of his detractors refer to him as Mugabe in reference to the late, long serving Zimbabwean head of state.

The joke ended up being on me when I sauntered into his office Friday morning and found him already seated waiting for me.

Rachier: I am not leaving soon

In a wide ranging interview with the Standard Newspaper, touching on various topics, Chairman Ambrose Rachier indicated that he may not be leaving in December as earlier announced.

Interview by the Standard

Tomorrow, Ambrose Rachier (pictured) turns 70. His entry into the world was as dramatic as the life he has lived.

He was born in a moving train, beneath a wooden bench, on the Third Class carriage where his mother went into labour enroute Molo. Since then, he says, he has never stopped moving.

If pressed for a description of himself, he gets conflicted. A renowned lawyer, rhumba lover, French speaker and lecturer, but what he says he is mostly known for is his role as the chairman of K’Ogalo, as Gor Mahia FC is fondly known.

He had said he quitting when the year ends, but he is now reconsidering the decision. “Many people including sponsors have told me not to leave Gor Mahia. The sponsors say they may not want to continue if I am not there. I may hold on longer,” he says.

His admission reinforces what critics had suspected. Rachier is not leaving. Despite the noise of “out with the oldies and in with the younglings” that the fans have made online and off the net, he seems unfazed by the calls for him to handover.  

Since he was elected eleven years ago, it has been said that he bullies his way around, and is drunk with power. Some claim he swindles the club.

Ambition and intellect

“People have called me Mugabe and claim I am forcing myself on this seat. I can assure you that if someone contested against me, they would not win,” he says.

Rachier was picked as Gor Mahia chairman in 2008, a few months after he was floored in the Gem parliamentary elections. The decision to vie for a political seat, he says, is one of his biggest regrets.

“I got exposed to so much dishonesty and was being pushed to do things that I was not comfortable with,” he says

Rachier was in his office, getting over the loss, when he heard a crowd shouting for him to get out. When he peered outside, he saw the group, in green shirts, the official colours of the club.

They were shouting: “Get out now and serve Gor!” he says. He was led to City Stadium and installed as chairman.

Sally Bolo, Gor Mahia treasurer says times were lean for the club. They were at the bottom of the league. They needed help, and in Rachier, they saw passion, ambition and intellect that Gor Mahia lacked.

“He came and we rose. Since 2012, we were the unbeaten champions. Up from number 15 where he found us,” she says.

At the club, he imposed the diktat of his legal training that emphasises discipline. The fans were rough. The team got bad press. Some players rebelled. Still, Rachier says he used his networks to get the club sponsorship and increase the players’ salaries from Sh3,000 per month, to Sh250,000 for the top players.

The recent sacking of Dennis Oliech from the club has provoked the ire of supporters who say Rachier treats the club as his briefcase company and is behind the player’s woes.

Mr Oliech is now threatening to sue the club because he was dismissed yet everyone knew that he had injuries. But Rachier says that the player was sent packing because he declared interest in the Kibra parliamentary seat and skipped practice without apologies.

“That is all Photoshop. Someone created an image of me and circulated it on social media. I was injured so I could not practice. The club was just looking for a way to get rid of me, but I am taking them to court,” Oliech says.

Freemason by conviction

Off the field, Rachier has gone back to school to study Bio-ethics. A combination of medicine and law. He says in five years, he will fold his legal files and retire. After practising for more than 40 years, he looks forward to going back to the village in Gem, Siaya County, to write his autobiography.

What might make a good read for his book would be the things he is uncomfortable talking about. Like how he was an Anglican by birth, raised by a Canon who was drenched in the ways of the church, but he became a Freemason by conviction and conversion.

“People do not understand Freemasonry. They think it is devil worship. It has the who-is-who of this country, and maybe that is why they think so,” he says, explaining that admission to Freemasonry is strictly by referral from a member who can attest to a person’s character. He says their mandate is charity.

His close associates believe his Achilles heel is booze and women. They say not even age has faded the spark that flashes in his eyes when a fine damsel crosses his path.

Rachier laughs, taps his foot and leans back in the leather seat in his law firm’s offices and sighs.  

“Oh…I love my Whitecap. Nice. I love people. Nobody talks when I extend a helping hand to a man. But hell breaks loose when I show generosity to a woman,” he says.

On his love for alcohol, he says if he was an addict, he would not have maintained his prestigious firm.

He admits he has made some slips. In 1984, when news came that the first HIV patient had been admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Rachier was among the first people to react.

Rachier wrote a scathing letter to newsrooms. He wanted the patient and anyone else who was suspected to be HIV positive to be arrested and confined. The next day, he was in the cartoon section, being lampooned.

“I was ignorant, just like everyone else. There was not much about HIV and Aids, and I thought I was helping by saying that,” he says.

He made up by doing research on HIV and Aids and ended up in the ethics review committee of Kenya Medical Research Institute. Rachier was also chairman of HIV Equity Tribunal and the task-force that drafted the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act.  

His secret of staying young is regular exercise, and reading. As he edges closer to retirement, Rachier says there is nothing much in this world that scares him. Only a frog – because it is so wiggly and vulnerable.

Everything else to him can be conquered, including Gor Mahia, the unpredictable team that he has somehow managed to tame.

Rachier contradicts Kahata

Chairman Ambrose Rachier has said that the club wanted Kahata to stay and made an offer.

“Kahata’s situation was like Meddie Kagere’s; he had run out of contract with us and neither of the two parties had an obligation to extend it. However, we wanted him to stay and we had an offer for him. Simba SC took the advantage and gave him a better package which we could not match.”  he told goal.com

“Like most players, Kahata chose to leave and we could not stop him because his contract with us had expired. He is a good player; we could have wanted him to stay but we could not offer him what Simba was offering.” continued Rachier.

Rachier had earliest stated in an interview with Citizen Sport that the club never asks players to stay. If a player is interested in extending his stay at Gor Mahia, its up to the player to approach club management on the issue.

This is a contrast to how most other top clubs are run. Most clubs never let a key player’s contract run out. They always make an offer to extend it several months before it ends. This way when the player leaves, the club can gain from transfer fees. At Gor Mahia, many top players leave with the club making no transfer fees.

Kahata: No one approached me for contract extension.

In a separate interview with goal.com on July 6, Kahata stated that no one at the club ever approached him to extend his contract.

“My contract with Gor Mahia had expired and as usual, the officials at the club could have approached me over an extension. However, none did that; I waited but it was all in vain,” said Kahata.

“On the other hand, Simba have been following me and showed they wanted me in their team, so I had to make a decision.

“Leaving Gor was not an option for me, but I was forced to do that because I felt my services were no longer needed.

“The decision to join Simba was football related, if I could have received an offer from Gor Mahia, I could have stayed.” he concluded to goal.com

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