Gor Mahia describe chaos in Tunisia

Additional reporting from the Nation
60,000-seater Stade Olympique Rades in Tunisia last Sunday, Esperance may have unleashed the demons in full force against Gor Mahia during the return match of the first round of Caf Champions League qualifiers, if the claims by an official of the club is anything to go by.

The hosts won 1-0 to progress to the group stage.

In the ill-tempered match, Gor Mahia players and members of the team’s technical bench were mistreated in Tunisia as the partisan home crowd chanted chauvinistic slogans.

Gor coach Dylan Kerr, his assistant Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno, team manager Jolawi Abondo and goalkeeper trainer Willis Ochieng were all assaulted in the 90-minute melee.

After the match, Kerr called it “the worst football game I have ever had to be part of.”
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“It was very scary. At one point we had to go into the pitch for our own security. We were all attacked. Willis was roughed up and thrown to the ground by the stewards and when Zico went to help, he was also assaulted. From the touchline, I ducked and missed at least three objects made of hard plastic that had been aimed at us while the game was going on. The worst thing is that when I turned to look, I saw that it was a uniformed police officer aiming the missiles,” Abondo told Nation Sport on Monday from Tunis.

The stakes were indeed high for both teams, as the first leg clash had ended 0-0. This gave both teams equal chances of making it o the prestigious group stage where clubs are rewarded with a Sh54 million bounty.

It was a highly emotional and ill-tempered match, with a three-minute stoppage just before half time when K’Ogalo technical bench ventured onto the pitch to escape missiles from the stands.

The Esperance fans were protesting against what they thought was bias by match referee from Botswana Joshua Bondo.

During the match, that was beamed live online, Esperance coach Khaled Yahia was seen entering the pitch twice in protest at the referee’s decision but escaped with a verbal caution, although Fifa rules are clear that such an offence warrants tougher punishment.

Gor however survived the intense hostility, and lost 1-0 courtesy of Anice Badri’s goal in the 21st minute after poor clearance from Wesley Onguso.

Gor now await their fate in Caf Confederation Cup play-offs round, where Caf Champions League losers will be pooled against Caf Confederation Cup first round winners.

The draw will be done on Wednesday at Caf headquarters in Egypt, and Gor’s possible opponents include Algeria’s CR Belouizdad (Algeria), Al Masry of Egypt, Nigeria’s Enyimba, CS La Mancha of Congo and SuperSport United of South Africa.


Kerr: Esperance were unsportsmanlike

Coach Dylan Kerr thinks his side did well in Tunis but were undone by unsportsmanlike conduct by the Esperance players.

“That was a hell of a game today i watched it and how these guys over power and take dives,They must now play in Kenya and get the same treatment,they acted like bullies and then run to protect the officials who i thought had a good game for them” said Kerr on social media.

Kerr have his side credit for battling to the end despite missing important players like Guikan, Kevin Omondi, Wellington Ochieng and Walusimbi.

“Pole [Sorry] to K’Ogalo, my Chairman and my hard-working players. Today I saw unreal things in football but We never gave up. We lost the game because at Machakos we didn’t score and we battled even when two players were missing, one injured and the other mmmmmmm no comment. I tried, we tried!” he added.


Video: Gor Mahia vs Esperance in 1987

Its a rare treat for Kogalo fans to be able to watch players from the legendary side that won the Africa cup in 1987.The video is heavily edited to show mostly Esperance highlights despite the fact that this match was evenly balanced. Indeed this match was televised and replayed on KBC TV several times in the run-up to the epic second leg at Kasarani. Those like myself who watched will tell you that the match was evenly balanced.

Resolute defending by the backline quartet of Peter Otieno Bassanga (15), George Otieno Solo (11), Tobias Ocholla (4) and Austin Oduor(6) Kept Kogalo in the game and David Ochieng Kamoga was solid between the posts.

At the 23 second mark he is called upon to parry a corner kick then has to quickly react to punch a powerful shot from Nabil Maaloul out for another corner. It is this second corner that results in the first controversial penalty awarded to Esperance. The ball hits Bassanga in the stomach and the referee inexplicably gives Taraji a penalty which Maaloul converted with class.

Kogalo players surround the referee and beseech him to reconsider. Perhaps sensing that a scene like Zamalek 1984 is about to erupt, skipper Austin Oduor asks the players to leave so he can talk to the referee. Bassange is yellow carded for his dissent and has to be further calmed down by Solo.

At the 4:30 mark, Anthony Ndolo comes on for an injured Sammy Onyango Jogoo. Ndolo would be instrumental in Kogalo’s second goal.

At the 6:22 mark, Charles Otieno wins the ball in midfield and puts George Nyangi “Artillery” through. Nyangi attempts to cross the ball and it is seemingly handled by an Esperance defender Ali Ben Neji. No penalty.

At the one minute mark, Charles Otieno finds Sammy Onyango on the right wing. Jogoo deftly loses his marker and unleashes one of hos trademark grass-cutters which forces a save from the goalkeeper.

It was Abbas Magongo who started the move that ended with the first goal and it is he who finished it at the 3:00 mark of the video. He plays the ball to Janabi who sends a long ball to Dawo. But Dawo can’t shake off the close attention of two defenders but the lose ball falls to Magongo who calmly controls the ball on his chest and unleashes a screamer that goes in via the cross bar.

The penalty awarded due to a supposed Isaiah Omondi handball happens in the 6:30 mark and is highly controversial.

The comical scene where Isaiah Omondi chases an Esperance player who in turn runs away for dear life happens at the 8:10 mark. Kenyan fans were laughing about this scene for days.

With time waning and Kogalo seemingly headed for a 2-1 defeat, Peter Dawo wins an aerial duel off a David Ochieng punt. The ball goes to Ndolo who heads back to Dawo. Dawo in turns scores with a scorcher that leaves Esparance stunned to tie the game at 2-2.

David Ochieng(1), Tobias Ocholla(4), George Otieno Solo(11), Peter Otieno Bassanga(15), Austin Oduor(6), Isaiah Omondi(5), Charles Otieno(3), George Nyangi Artillery(9), Peter Ochieng Pierre(12), Peter Dawo(7), Sammy Onyango(14).