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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Lavatsa is back, Owusu joins.

Former Gor Mahia attacker Edwin Lavatsa has sealed a comeback as the transfer window closes. Lavatsa left Gor Mahia for MC Alger. He stayed there for six months and then moved to Bandari, Kakamega Homeboyz and was most recently associated with Nairobi City stars. He has apparently impressed coach Polack sufficiently.

According to Capital Sport, another player who joined on the transfer deadline day was Ghanaian impirt Jackson Owusu who inks a deal with the Kenyan giants from Asante Kotoko.

Others are Migori Youth top scorer Clinton Okoth on loan while youngsters Alpha Onyango and Alphonce Omija have been promoted from the youth team.

Also signed in at Gor is Ugandan striker Juma Balinya, Nicholas Omondi from Kibera Black Stars, Mike Apudo from Posta Rangers.

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Oktay: Gor Mahia made me famous

Oktay won several awards at Gor Mahia

Former Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay is effusive in his praise for Gor Mahia. Before joining Gor Mahia, Oktay was the assistant coach at Braintree Town FC , a 5th tier side in England.

He then came to Gor Mahia and steered the club to a league title and to its best performance in a continental event since 1989.

“I was unknown before but after coaching [Gor Mahia], I am a big name now,” Oktay told People Sport. I hope Kenyans understand just how big Gor Mahia is out there.

Oktay now says a number of top African sides are looking for his signature.

“Gor has opened doors for me. Right now, I have three good offers. Nkana FC of Zambia, Rayon Sport of Rwanda and a club from Botswana have all approached me. I am looking at the offers before making a decision.”

The tactician says he will not mind making a return to the KPL if an offer came his way.

“I wouldn’t think twice. I love Kenya and Gor fans. I know the club has financial challenges but I had no problem when my salary was delayed and I would not mind now,” he concluded.

K’Ogalo are targeting their 19th crown this season and are currently third on the log with 35 points from 15 games.

Gor Mahia signs Michael Apudo

Gor Mahia has acquired Posta Rangers full back Michael Apudo from Posta Rangers. Sammy Omollo, the Posta Rangers coach, confirmed the move.

“He has been a good servant to the club since we signed him from Sony and he requested to be released to pursue greener pastures and we obliged. May he succeed in his new club,” Pamzo told Nation Sport.

The fullback position has been problematic for Gor Mahia. Wellington Ochieng has been injury prone of late. Philemon Otieno has just resumed training and will not be available for selection until he regains match fitness.

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Afiriyie explains why he left

Ghanaian striker Francis Afiriyie who recently left Kogalo for Township Rollers of Botswana, recently told goal.com what eventually made him take the decision to change clubs.

“I thought things will change at the club, unfortunately, there was no sign they will,” Afriyie told Goal on Saturday.

“[Gor Mahia] is a great club, I enjoyed in the few months we were together it is unfortunate I had to leave. The club has what it takes to be the biggest in Africa only if they find a solution to their financial problems. We had to part ways in mutual consent.

Afiriyie is full of praise for Kogalo fans.

“The fans are amazing and we had a good relationship with them, they are very loyal and love their team.”

He also stated that he is happy to have played for Kogalo

“[Gor Mahia] are a good team and everybody wants to be associated with them so if I get a chance of playing for them in the future I will take it. For now, I wish them all the best in the league and future assignments,” Afriyie concluded.

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Gor Mahia transfer news January 14 2020

Promising midfielder, Tobias Otieno has left Kogalo to join a team in the USA. The team is known as Omaha Union. His new team posted a message on their social media pages

Union Omaha is a professional team that plays in the USK League 1 which is the 3rd tier of USA football

Toby posted a message on his social media pages thanking his new team
“I felt very excited seeing this post. I would love to thank Union Omaha freternity for the big step they’ve made in my signing. Big thanks and Can’t wait to join you guys for a great season”

 

Gor Mahia sign Clinton Okoth from Migori Youth

Having lost West African players Yikpe Gnamien and Francis Afiriyie, Gor Mahia have gone local in their bid to shore up their attack.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Reigning Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia have signed National Super League (NSL) leading scorer Clinton Okoth from Migori Youth.

Okoth, 19, was on the radar of a host of other KPL clubs notably KCB, Tusker, AFC Leopards and Kariobangi Sharks after topping the NSL scoring charts with 14 goals in the first leg but it’s Gor who have secured his services on a one-year loan deal.

Okoth is expected to fill the void left by Francis Afriyie and Gisleim Yikpe who left K’Ogalo this month.

Migori Youth Chairman Abdi Aziz says the move is good for the youngster who has been at the club since he was 13.

“He has to grow as a player so I think it is a good challenge for him to try the next level which is the top league. Football has changed and nowadays it is all about how smart and effective you are not how old you are like before,” Aziz told Nation Sport.

“He has to learn how to fight and I think at Gor Mahia he has the opportunity to play since they don’t have many strikers at the moment. He has served us well and we wish him success,” he added.

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Gor Mahia close in on Juma Balinya

Gor Mahia are pursuing Ugandan striker Juma Balinya who is currently a player for Young Africans of Tanzania

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia are on the verge of signing Ugandan striker Juma Balinya from Yanga SC as replacement for Yikpe Ghislain who was poached by the Tanzanian giants last month.

Balinya is already in the country and coach Steven Polack has told Nation Sport that he will assess the player in Tuesday’s training session at Camp Toyoyo grounds.

“The player arrived today (Monday) and I will asses him today to see if he is fit to play for Gor Mahia. I may either decide to sign him after watching him today or a couple of training sessions. If he is not fit, we will not consider his services,” said Polack.

Balinya terminated his two year contract with Yanga in December, 2019 due to non-payment of salary, the same situation that led Yikpe to abandon K’Ogalo and sign for the Dar es Salaam based side.

Apart from Yanga, Balinya has also played for Uganda Police FC, Vipers FC, Bunamwaya FC and Lweza FC in his home country.

Balinya, who finished last season as top scorer in the Uganda Premier League with 17 goals while featuring for Uganda Police FC, will have to complete with Nicholas Kipkurui to earn a place in K’Ogalo’s striking role.

Gor Mahia is looking to bolster its squad this season, more so the striking department following the exit of Yikpe, Ghanaian Francis Afriye and Tanzanian Dickson Ambudo who has left due to the current financial instability at the Kenyan Premier League 18-time champions.

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Afiriyie off to Botswana

Francis Afiriyie is the latest player to leave Gor Mahia and his likely destination is Botswana where he landed on Tuesday

Additional reporting from Citizen Sports

The financial crunch at Gor Mahia is taking toll on players with Ghanaian striker Francis Afriyie the latest to ditch the club.

Afriyie left for his native country Ghana before Christmas but has not returned.

Gor however got news of his exit at the weekend via his agent, who attributed his departure to lack of payment of his client’s salary, which he argues is a breach of the contract.

The Ghanaian joined the Kenyan champions at the beginning of the season and has been an important cog in K’Ogalo’s formation.

Club deputy secretary general Ronald Ngala confirmed the developments. “His( Afriyie)  agent said we have not been able to pay the striker as per the contract. This has been due to lack of finances since we currently don’t have a sponsor.”

Afriyie’s exit comes just a fortnight after another striker, Ivorian import Gnamien Yikpe ditched the club for  Yanga SC of Tanzania, featuring as a substitute on January 4 in the derby against Simba which ended two-all.

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Afiriyie sticking with Kogalo despite offers

Despite rumours to the contrary, Ghanaian striker Francis Afiriyie has said that he is staying with Gor Mahia
Additional reporting from goal.com
The Ghanaian striker has confirmed he is still part of the K’Ogalo squad and has opted to finish the season with the club despite financial problems

Gor Mahia striker Francis Afriyie has stated he is keen on helping the team get a transfer fee when he eventually leaves.

The Ghanaian is yet to report back after leaving for his native country for the festive season and many believe he is pondering a K’Ogalo exit. However, the forward has explained his intentions and confirmed he will be back in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) soon.

“I must admit many “Spanish side Zaragoza, Saltillo and Matamoros from Mexico have shown interest in my services, but I am not leaving yet. I am taking my time and [will] let Gor Mahia get transfer money.

“I want to help Gor to get big transfer money from me, that is why I am rejecting all these offers.”

The striker states it is up to the management to decide whether they will keep him beyond this season or not.

“My contract with Gor expires in July this year; if the team can suit my demands then we will be good to go. Currently, I am working on my flight and will join my colleagues this week. I am still focused on helping the team win their 19th league title,” Afriyie concluded.

On Monday, Gor Mahia lost Ivorian striker Gnamien Yikpe to Yanga SC who snapped him up on a two-year deal.

Polack: We will not miss Yikpe

Meanwhile coach Steve Polack says the club will not miss departed Ivorian striker Yikpe Ghislain.

“I don’t think the club will miss his services,” Polack told Goal. “He managed to score a couple of goals for us while he was around but if he got a good deal, then you have no option but to wish him well.

“[Yikpe] is a good striker but equally we have quality players who can play very well in his role, so that is the reason why I am not worried at all, we will cope well and we will play well.

“Also it is good to let players move because he got a good deal out there, so I don’t think we should have asked him to stay. No.”

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Yikpe Ghislain appears headed to Yanga

A Tanzanian newspaper is reporting that towering Ivorian striker Yikpe Ghislain has left the club for Young Africans of Dar es Salaam.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Ivorian striker Gislain Yikpe is on the verge of joining Yanga Sports Club, according to media reports in Tanzania.

The towering Ivorian was pictured at the Julius Nyerere International Airport accompanied by a Yanga official with Tanzanian media reporting the forward has agreed terms with the club.

“Gislain Yikpe has arrived in Dar es Salaam to join Yanga. After holding talks with the club, the Ivorian striker has agreed to terminate his contract with Kenyan champions Gor Mahia,” Viwanjani Leo reported.

The lanky forward joined K’Ogalo mid this year from Guinean Ligue 1 side Hafia FC on a two-year contract. Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda however said the player has not served any notice neither have they received any communication from Yanga regarding the reported move.

“We will definitely pick it up with Yanga and the relevant authorities. We are not opposed to any player moving but the laid down rules and regulations must be followed,” Aduda told Nation Sport on Friday.

K’Ogalo are undergoing financial difficulties with players owed salaries and allowances for over four months now. According to Fifa rules, a player is free to move to another club if he/she hasn’t been paid for over two months, provided he gives sufficient notice and this could be the avenue Yanga want to explore.

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Miheso puts pen to paper, Zico appointed to national team

Gor Mahia have officially completed the signing of midfielder / winger Clifford Miheso. The vastly experienced Miheso put pen to paper on a two year contract. He joined from lower tier side, Kenya Police.

Miheso, a product of Kakamega High school, has played locally for Thika United, AFC Leopards and Sofapaka, as well as stints in Finland, Portugal, South Africa and Zambia.

Miheso who is 26, has been in and out of the national team since 2012 and narrowly missed on selection to the AFCON 2019 squad. He is a welcome addition to the midfield that is sorely lacking in playmakers since the departure of Francis Kahata.

Zedekiah Otieno appointed to Harambee Stars

Gor Mahia legend and former coach Zedekiah Otieno has been appointed assistant coach of the national team Harambee Stars. He will assist Francis Kimanzi who has been appointed head coach to replace departing Frenchman Sebastian Migne.

Zico has been Harambee stars head coach in the past. Most notably when his side held Uganda Cranes coached by Bobby Williamson in Kampala and denied them a place in AFCON

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