Gor Mahia’s towering defender Haron Shakava has apparently attracted the attention of South African side Mamelodi Sundowns. The South African club sent two scouts led by Mandla Mazibuka to watch the lanky central defender at the Cecafa Kagame Cup here in Kigali. The scouts say they have so far been impressed by the technical ability and composure of the youthful defender, who currently is in his second season in the Kenya Premier League.
“We have monitored the player since this tournament began, he’s skillful and very intelligent. He also has the ideal height for a defender. We are happy with what we’ve seen so far,” Mandla told Daily Nation Sport.
Shakava joined Gor Mahia after protracted negotiations with his previous club, Kakamega Homeboyz who did not want to release him. The then Gor Mahia secretary general George Bwana was quoted in the media telling Kakamega Homeboyz that Shakava was too good to play in a lower division and they should not waste his talents. He then joined Gor Mahia after a Ksh 100,000 fee was paid.
He stepped into the gap left by the departing Donald Mosoti and has since acquited himself well. He featured for Gor prominently during in the Caf Africa Champions League assignments, scoring during the penalty shoot-out win away to Gabon club US Bitam. He also found the net with a header during his team’s 2-2 draw at home to Tunisian outfit Esperance.
But Shakava now says he has not been approached by any Sundowns officials.
“I have heard of the reports but none of their scouts has approached me. I also saw them in the stands in one of our games, the former Kakamega Homeboyz player told futaa.com whilst sharing his experience in the tournament.” he told futaa.com
It appears that South African sides have suddenly come to the realization that Kenya has some good players and are intent on raiding Kenya for players. And Gor Mahia seems to be bearing the brunt of the raids. As coach Williamson noted yesterday, his starting line-up on Monday had only four players who participated in winning the league in 2013. This constant player turnover is detrimental to the side according to Williamson.
Rama Salim fails trials in South Africa
Speaking of player turnover, Striker Rama Salim who left the club in June to attend trials in South Africa has returned to the country having failed to secure a deal. He has remained non-commital on his next move.
“I came back on Monday but have not yet decided my next move,” he told goal.com when reached for comment.
Rama is a classic case of how player turnover disrupts a team because right before he left, he was regaining his old form and coach Williamson commented on how he and Sserunkuma understand each other and player well together. They had built a rapport back during the Logarusic days.
Rama could have worked out a deal with Gor Mahia that allowed him to return to the club should trials fail. But for unknown reasons, both he and Gor Mahia officials decided to sever the contract. With the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) window closed, Salim is faced with prospect of staying idle for six months if nothing comes up for him soon. Which means like Lavatsa, he will be shopping himself around possibly to lower division teams in Europe or the Middle East. But even that may be difficult as transfer windows all over the world have closed.
Rama had attened trials at Bloemfontein Celtic. After failing at Celtic, Rama went to AmaZulu, where another Kenyan and former AFC Leopards’ speedy winger Paul Were penned a deal, but nothing much came out of it as well. Perhaps he saw Kevin Omondi passing trials and was sure that if “Ade” passed trials then surely he would. After all when Loga was around, he was often in the starting line-up while “Ade” was on the bench. But it is likely that Kevin Omondi’s playing style is more suited to South African teams. The point is that Kenya’s young players need to be advised even by club officials.
Gor Mahia must adapt to this new reality
Gor Mahia as a club will have to come to terms with the fact that players will always seek to go overseas in search of greener pastures. These players have only a few years to make money before they retire. And when they see players leaving for greener pastures, they will also be keen to leave.
This being the case, then Gor Mahia as a club must be flexible. If a player is leaving to go overseas , then rather than completely sever ties, they should allow the player the option of returning. But the key is that the players should be secured with long term contracts so that when the player leaves, the club benefits from a transfer fee. In recent years, players like Mosoti, Lavatsa and others have left on free transfer.
Secondly, the Gor Mahia technical staff should work towards building a squad that can adapt to constant player turnover. This means building various combinations. Lower level tournaments like KPL Top 8 and the Charity cup can be used to try out different combinations and build depth.