Coach Frank Nuttall praises players

It took four games but New Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall has finally recorded his first win since his arrival at the club. Gor Mahia scored a deserved 2-0 win over Kisumu county based Chemelil Sugar FC.

It was an all round excellent performance. Most striking was George Odhiambo “Blackberry’s” return to form. This column once noted that Blackberry just needed a coach to get inside his psyche to enable him to regain his confidence. Coach Nuttall may have found that key. And given the way he picked out Sserunkuma’s run for the second goal, then perhaps the duo are finally starting to get in sync.

Aside from Blackberry, it was an all round good performance. Owino “Calabar” gave his usual solid performance at the back. Skipper Jerim “Jagoal” has been solid in the past three games. Saturday was no different. And Walusimbi continued to thrive in his new playmaking position. Note that Walusimbi leads the club in assists this season. Kizito was solid as well.

“The players were fantastic today and it’s a good feeling to winning this match,” Nuttall said after the match.

Nutall noted that the team would continue to stay focused on their overall goal.

“We created a lot of chances in the first-half and scored the goal but we improved in the last half. We will approach each match as it comes and do our best to see we achieve our target of retaining the title,” Nuttall said in a post match interview.

Chemelil coach Mike Mururi has admitted he lost fairly

“My boys played very well in the first-half, we got our chances but we did not utilize them but Gor got theirs and converted. Lapse in the defence saw us concede the two goals so I lost fairly but we are still in the race because the difference is not huge.”

Gor Mahia 2 Chemelil 0

courtesy of goal.com

A double from striker Dan Sserunkuma pushed K’ogalo’s points to 47, four adrift of second placed Tusker FC who drew 1-1 against Nairobi City Stars

Gor Mahia opened up a four point lead at the top of Kenyan Premier League table after edging out Chemelil Sugar 2-0 at City Stadium on Saturday.

A double from Ugandan striker Dan Sserunkuma pushed K’ogalo’s points to 47, four adrift second placed Tusker, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Nairobi City Stars on Friday.

It was first victory for new coach Frank Nuttall, who replaced Bobby Williamson, and the Briton is now confidence that they have what it takes to retain league crown.

“This was a comprehensive victory against a very determined side. We were on top from onset and I thank God now that I have won my first match in charge of the team.

“We will continue to take a match at a time because we still have several matches to play for and remember the league is very close to call. Every game is going to be a battle and it’s good to be on top. The journey is still long way to go and we will take each game as it comes.”

Chemelil coach Mike Mururi conceded defeat but refused to rule out his side for a maiden league title this season.

“We lost to a well organized side but that does not mean that we are out of the race. Seven or six matches to go means the league is far away from being decided.

“We will keep fighting as hard as we can to challenge for the title. I have told my players after this defeat that we are still in the race for the title and we must keep faith that we can do it.”

The sugar millers will remain fourth after defeat to Gor Mahia on 41 points, six points adrift the league leaders and champions.

Gor Mahia were the better side from onset as Sserunkuma and George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo caused all sorts of problems for Chemelil’s back four. Sserunkuma went close in opening minutes but was denied after combining well with Odhiambo.

Chemelil also had their moment of brilliance with a lovely free-kick by Murage forcing a tip save from keeper Jerim Onyango. Onyango had to produce his best to block another shot three minute later.

K’Ogalo went ahead minutes later as Sserunkuma jumped to head home from an unmarked position. Gor Mahia led 1-0 at half-time break and looked a more rejuvenated side in second half with Sserunkuma and Odhiambo leading the attacks.

Sserunkuma completed his brace in 56th minute, racing to tap home a cross from Odhiambo, who enjoyed a good afternoon. Erick Ochieng was presented with best opportunity to make it 3-0 by a pin-point cross from Patrick Oboya but his shot was too feeble to allow the keeper collect the ball.

Gor Mahia take on Chemelil next

Tim Otieno vs Ulinzi

Gate Collections from Ulinzi match

Gor Mahia dropped 2 crucial points against Ulinzi. But on a positive note for Gor Mahia, the match raised Ksh 648,150 in gate collections. This according to goal.com This amount is 20% higher than typical midweek collections which are usually less than Ksh 500,000. Not a bad result for a match that kicked off on a Wednesday at 4pm. This year Gor Mahia has played an inordinate amount of midweek home games.

Out of that amount, the club took 372,650 while the rest went to statutory deductions.   Ticket charges were Kshs 600 for the main stand (VIP) and Kshs 300 for the terraces.

Chemelil Up Next

Gor Mahia will next take on Chemelil on Saturday at 3pm. Gor Mahia fans will be hoping to put Chemelil coach Mike Mururi in his place. He is the one who claimed that referees have been helping Gor Mahia in the league.  Interestingly, Tusker official Leonard Odipo also claimed that referees were helping Gor Mahia. This has now become a theme by officials of other teams who are clearly trying to play mind games with referees.

Nevertheless, the match against Chemelil will not be easy. They are having what is probably the best season they have had in almost a decade.  In fact former Gor Mahia striker Goro Oronge thinks Chemelil will win the league. Oronge said the fact that Gor Mahia had two matches in hand was of little consequence, given the quality of all the teams contesting this year’s league. Oronge thinks Gor are still capable of slipping up and expects Chemelil to exploit that as the season draws closer towards its business end.

Oronge states that because there is a dearth of scoring in this year’s league, every team has a chance. “During my days in Gor under the then head coach Len Julians, virtually every player could score. It was not a case of individual players trying to shine and earn credit but winning those days had everything to do with teamwork and a good goal-scoring system in place,” said Oronge, who felt this was an aspect that all clubs were struggling with this term.

It is this lack of scoring that Gor Mahia will need to fix. The club is going through a dry spell in gaolscoring. In fact the last time they scored during the run of play was against AFC on July 27. Gor Mahia have scored only two goals in the last four games. One from a free-kick and one from a penalty.

Hopefully the club will soon come to term’s with coach Nuttall’s tactics. The new coach will also need to bring some poise and composure to striker Timothy Otieno and possibly help Blackberry regain his form of old. The good news is that Gor Mahia has a much better against Chemelil than they do against either Ulinzi or Tusker, especially at home.