Polack: Strikers are currently our weak spot

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack is dissapointed at the results of the last two matches whereby Kogalo have dropped 5 points thus putting them almost on par with Tusker in the chase for the 2019-2020 Kenya Premier League title. He says the lack of sharpness in attack is the root cause.

“I don’t put pressure or castigate my players, but it is true my strikers have not been clinical enough in front of goal. They have been wasting a lot of chances more so in the recent match against Naivas. “We have scored goals, but they have come by through teamwork and not individual effort,” said Polack to the Standard.

Polack, however, acknowledges that teamwork has ensured that goals also come from midfielders and wingers.

“I have to acknowledge that winning is due to teamwork and it is our joy if any players scores,” added Polack.

Despite the hard-earned victory, Gor assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo praised Naivas for giving his side a run for their money.

“It wasn’t an easy game. Despite fielding our regular players, we had to chase everything from the first minute to the end,” said Odhiambo.

“We were shocked by how things turned out especially in the first quarter. We are not used to such situations, but what helped us is experience, nothing else. We are fighting for everything this season; the Kenyan Premier League and the Cup.”

Gor Mahia will need to sharpen their attack when they take on Posta Rangers in the next round.

Polack : Philemon Otieno still a long way from playing

Commenting on Philemon Otieno, Polack indicated that the defender is still a long way off from gaining match fitness.

“One thing I like about him [Otieno] is that he is training hard every day and I am hoping he won’t be out for long,” Polack told Goal on Wednesday.

“I want him to regain his full fitness before we can see if he is able to start playing competitively but for now the Sunday game has come too soon for him.” said Polack to goal.com

Gor Mahia will also miss Wellington Ochieng and Joash Onyango for their next KPL match against Zoo Kericho

“[Wellington] Ochieng is also out injured and we don’t know how long he will be out and of course we have Joash [Onyango] who is serving a ban.”

Onyango was sent off during Gor Mahia’s league match against Western Stima which ended in a 1-1 draw and will miss the next two matches.

On playing against Zoo, Polack said: “As always we know every team playing against us will fight to give their best and we are prepared for that.

“I know [Zoo] have a good team but our main focus is to win the match and make sure we remain at the summit. The league is a marathon and we don’t want to lose focus now, we need all the players to focus and give us the result we need.”

 

After raising concerns, Polack now happy with new signings

Two goal hero: Balinya

Last week, coach Steve Polack raised the alarm when he stated that some elements within the club were trying to sign players without his permission.

“They are a lot of people trying to bring players into the club without my authorisation and I find that to be very unprofessional. I am the head coach of the team and it is my job to recommend the players to the management to sign. No other person should do that without consulting me,” Polack told Nation Sport.

Polack noted that the club needed to be serious if they want to make an impression in continental events.

“We are a big team that regularly plays in Caf competitions and therefore have to sign quality players not every Tom, Dick and Harry,” he added.

On Nicholas Omondi, Polack stated that the player has potential but needs to work hard to upgrade his game.

“He is a good player, technically very gifted and has a lot of energy but he needs to polish up his game and become tactically astute. He is a young player and has time to learn but I am happy to have him at the club.” said Polack.

Polack was impressed with Juma Balinya’s performance on Sunday.

“Balinya couldn’t get a better debut than this. Actually, he could have scored a hat-trick but I think he got tired because he hasn’t played for a while and that’s why I took him off,” Polack told Standard Sports.

“I could have substituted him earlier but I was trying to give him a chance to get a hat-trick. Without doubt, he is going to be a very important player to our team.” he concluded.

Polack on why Balinya missed Bandari match

Balinya watched from the terraces on Saturday

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack said he was eager to deploy new signing Juma Balinya against Bandari but his transfer paperwork had not gone through

“His paperwork is not ready yet, and we are working round the clock to make sure the issue is sorted out. I was intending to use him against Bandari because he showed me in training how good he is but we have to wait now”. he said to goal.com

Polack says he hopes Balinya will be available soon.

I don’t think he will be available for Wednesday when we face Sofapaka, I am not sure whether the issue will have been solved.I know the management is working to make sure that all is sorted and when we have the papers then you will see him play.”

Match Highlights

Aduda refutes Muguna rumours

Kenneth Muguna has been the subject of various transfer rumours that have linked him with moves to KCB, to DC Motema Pembe and now NKana FC where former Kogalo skippers Musa Mohamed and Harun Shakava play. Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda has denied that Kenneth Muguna is on his way to Zambia to join Nkana FC.

Additional reporting from Citizen Sport

Muguna has been linked with several clubs including Tanzania giants Simba and Yanga but the CEO insists they haven’t received any offers for the midfielder.

“We haven’t received any offer for Muguna; he is still our player.  So far all the players are settled and if any offer comes we will find a wise way of handling it ,”said Aduda.

Aduda went on to confirm that they have held talks with the head coach Steve Pollack who will provide them with a list of players to be released and those to come on board after consulting with his technical bench.

“I have spoken to the coach this morning about the transfer window, and he will assess the squad alongside the technical bench in order give us the names of those players he thinks we should release and those we can sign to strengthen our squad,”added Aduda.

Polack uncertain about Transfer deals

Meanwhile coach Steve Polack told goal.com that whereas he wants to strengthen the team during the transfer season, he is unsure of whether the club can afford new players.

“I would love to bring in some new faces to bolster my squad but again it will all depend on whether the club has money to do the transfers,” Polack told Goal on Monday.

“We all know the club is struggling financially and I don’t want to think too much about the transfer window. We can still use the squad we have but of course, I have my transfer targets ready but it will all depend with the club, do they want to sign, do they have the money to spend?

“The mid-season transfer window is always good in every aspect, even in Europe because it gives the coach the chance to make amends, where you feel you want to improve and implement the changes but again, we can only think about it if you have the money.”

Polack Muguna did not fake injuries

Gor Mahia skipper Kenneth Muguna has missed the past few games citing an injury. But that has not stopped him from playing for the national team, leading some fans to accuse Muguna of faking the injury. However coach Polack has come forward to defend the skipper.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has defended captain Kenneth Muguna over claims that he feigned injury so as not to play for the club in the past three Kenya Premier League matches.

The midfielder last turned up for K’Ogalo during the Mashemeji Derby against AFC Leopards and a section of the fans have been questioning how he quickly recovered in less than a month to play for Harambee Stars in Cecafa Senior Challenge, which is ongoing in Uganda.

The fans had blasted the player for lack of respect and using the current financial situation to despise the club by faking injury as a way of protesting over delayed salaries.

But Polack has dismissed these critics, stating that the player was genuinely injured but has now fully recovered.

“Kenneth had an injury and he didn’t fake it as some of the fans are trying to imply. He has now recovered fully and that is why he is playing for Harambee Stars. I interact with this players daily and am sure he was truly injured,” said Polack.

“Am sure that he will come back and play for us against Kisumu All Stars after the end of Cecafa and therefore the fans don’t need to judge him harshly because he still plays an integral part in my team,” he added.

Muguna is among the players who have openly shown their displeasure with the club and is also reported to have handed in a letter requesting to leave the Kenyan champions.

The player has received interest from DC Motema Pembe who outwitted K’Ogalo in the preliminary stage of a two-leg Caf Confederation Cup in October.

Coach Steve Polack told the Daily Nation that he is considering quitting due to the issue of non-payment of salaries.

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack is contemplating leaving the club due to what he says are hard working condition occasioned by the tough financial constraints currently bedevilling the reigning Kenyan Premier League champions.


Additional reporting from the Nation

Polack has spoken of his frustrations over the ongoing strike by players who are protesting lack of salaries for the last four months, adding that him and his family are also feeling the pain of being broke.

K’Ogalo players, who are not participating in this year’s Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, have not been honouring training sessions at Camp Toyoyo grounds since last Thursday demanding their dues.

The quartet of Cliffton Miheso, captain Kenneth Muguna, his assistant Joash Onyango and Lawrence Juma are the only club players who have travelled with the Harambee Stars squad to Uganda for the regional tournament.

“Things are continuing to be tough not only to the players but also for me. I’m the sole breadwinner for my family back at home and I have to pay for their house and take care of them. I will have to make a decision in a few days on the way forward,” said Polack, who admitted he is very broke.

The British coach remains optimistic the management will act to salvage the situation.

“I am just around but I urge the players to train at home to be physically fit. My hands are tied and I can’t discipline or fine them for not coming for training because they are financially down,” he added.

Last week, the Briton told Nation Sport that club chairman Ambrose Rachier had promised to settle salary arrears, but revealed that the promise is yet to be fulfilled.

Polack also lamented that the current situation has affected the performance of the team in their past encounters.

Gor has been undergoing tough financial times since the exit of their shirt sponsor SportPesa.

With the January transfer window beckoning, a number of players are rumoured to be on their way out of the club.

Defender Maurice Ojwang has already written a letter asking to be allowed to leave, while Muguna also through a sporting agency has requested to be released.

K’Ogalo, whose league match against Kisumu All Stars was postponed to December 22, currently lead the KPL table with 24 points.

Masoud Juma apologizes to Gor Mahia fans

In an attempt to make amends, Harambee stars striker Masoud Juma has taken to social media to publicly apologize to fans of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards for what he terms “A misunderstanding”.

“A day like this two years ago I had a misunderstanding with fans especially from Gor Mahia and AFC (Leopards). It was a bad show for sure but nothing has lost. Today, I just want to ask for their forgiveness from the bottom of my heart. It happens in football,” ,” Masoud wrote on his official Facebook page.

In 2017, Juma blasted fans of Gor Mahia and AFC, telling them he would never consider ‘playing for them because they were small teams and he was only interested in big teams.

Since then, he has turned out for four teams namely South Africa’s Cape Town City, Dibba El Fujairah (UAE), Al Nasr (Libya) and JS Kabyile (Algeria) but without notable success. He has not been in the frame for the national team.

Polack: We were average against Ulinzi

Gor Mahia were forced to draw for the first time this season and coach Steve Polack was left a dissappointed man after the match.

“It was an average display from my team, we did not play as we usually do,” Polack told goal.com

According to the coach, Kogalo did not play to their usual standards.

“Defensively we were better and did not allow [Ulinzi] to trouble our goalkeeper especially in the second half, but we also did not take the few chances we had. Yes, we did not lose the match, it is a point gained but I feel we did not play our usual game.” he continued.

Polack feels that the presence of the team captain would have made a difference.

“[Muguna] is a good player, but we did not have him for the game; maybe he could have helped us or not but he is a quality player,” Polack concluded.

And on a positive note, Boniface Oluoch kept a clean sheet for the third succesive game.

The draw enabled Gor Mahia to remain atop the standings with 25 points. Tusker area close second with 24 points after edging Bandari.  This season is proving to be a closer contest than last season.

Polack is named October coach of the month

Coach Steve Polack has earned a well deserved accolade forllowing a series of excellent results.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia tactician Steven Polack has scooped the Fidelity Insurance Coach of the Month Award for October following a pulsating run of victories that kept the defending champions atop the league summit.

The Brit guided K’Ogalo to three victories in three matches, trouncing Nzoia Sugar 2-0, before narrowly dispatching struggling Zoo and Kariobangi Sharks each by a solitary goal.

During an award ceremony at the team’s training ground on Thursday in Nairobi, the tactician received a personalized plaque and Sh75000 courtesy of the insurer and follows in the footsteps of the last four Gor Mahia coaches who have landed the gong since its inception.

“I’m humbled to receive a personal award for the team’s performance in October. I have to thank them for putting in hard work because I would not have got it. It is encouraging during such tough times to be awarded,” he said

Polack was shoulders above other coaches in the running for the October award with his 100 percent record that earned his team nine points.

He was trailed by KCB coach Zedekiah Otieno who earned the bankers seven points from two victories and a draw.

Wellington Ochieng is back

Full back Wellington Ochieng who has missed several matches due to injury will be available for selection when Gor Mahia take on Ulinzi this weekend.

[Ochieng] is fit to return and I expect him to train with us on Wednesday same as [Muguna] who seems to have recovered from the injury which kept him out of the Bandari match,” Polack told goal.com on Wednesday.

“Apart from the two, only keeper Patrick Odhiambo is still out. He is struggling with a shoulder injury and is still far away from making a comeback. We also have keeper David [Mapigano] back after missing the matches against Kakamega Homeboyz and Bandari.

Also returning is goalkeeper Robert Mapigano who will now face intense competition from the on-form Boniface Oluoch.

“Remember [Mapigano] arrived late from Tanzania where he was with the national team for Afcon duty and Boniface [Oluoch] did very well during his absence. I will look at them in training again before I make the decision on who will start against Ulinzi Stars.”

Polack praises Oluoch as world class

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack on Monday hailed goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch. Polack suggested that Oluoch was the key to Gor

“That was a world-class display from Boniface [Oluoch], he literally kept us in the game and also helped us to get the points,” Polack told goal.com.Mahia’s victory over Bandari.

Oluoch made a series of saves that helped Gor Mahia maintain a clean sheet. Most notable was his penalty save against Ugandan striker William Wadri.

“Bandari got a penalty and they could have staged a comeback had they scored but ‘Boni’ produced a world-class save to deny them, maybe had they scored, it could have given them the momentum to go for a second goal and the game could have easily changed the tide. “[Oluoch] played very well, he saved us, at 2-0 they could have scored from the penalty spot and then it could have been 2-1 and who knows, they could have kept troubling us for a second.” he continued.

Oluoch got a chance to prove himself during the International break when Gor Mahia played Al Ahli of Tripoli. And he has taken the chance with both hands.

“When your chance comes you have to take it whatever position, be it in goal, in defence, striking area, in the midfield and Oluoch has surprised me because he took his chance with both hands. He was terrific against Kakamega Homeboyz and against Bandari he has also performed well.” said Polack to goal.com

Oluoch lost his starting position due to some below par performances where he seemed far too nonchalant at times. So much so that coach Hassan Oktay insisted that the goalkeeping position is the one where the club badly needed a solution. Hence the arrival of Mapigano from Tanzania. It is this competition that created the spark that Oluoch needed to return to form.

“Remember in Gor Mahia we have three young goalkeepers who are very good and for him [Oluoch] to come back and put up such a good display is very amazing of him.” said Polack.

Polack Says Muguna is injured.

Explaining why skipper Kenneth Muguna did not feature against Bandari, coach Polack says that as far as he is concerned, Muguna missed the match due to injury.

“[Muguna] missed out because of injury, I had to keep the injury to myself and did not want to tell anyone,” said Polack to goal.com

Numerous outlets have reported that Muguna and Maurice Ojwang have requested release letters due to non-payment of salary which has not been paid in 3 months. Asked to comment on this, Polack responded that he is not aware of any release demands.

“I am not aware, all  I know is Muguna was out injured. Maybe he will be available when we face Ulinzi Stars in our next league match.” he said

Polack: We were dysfunctional before the game

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack has blamed the shambolic build up to the match against Mathare for Gor Mahia’s loss. In an interview with goal.com, he stated that there were no training sessions before the match.

“How can you have a last training session and players don’t show up? Yesterday [Tuesday] was very important for us to do the tactics ahead of the match but the players did not show up. I had at least six players who did not start from the last game and the reason we needed to train together for the match.

“Like I said, under the circumstances if we got a draw [against Mathare United], I would be really very happy because of the circumstances but it is not the case because we lost the game and players need to take a look at themselves.

“No player turned out for training yesterday [Tuesday], they just came to for the match, and I am that kind of a coach who doesn’t show people if I am annoyed because I always like to motivate people and the players and something needs to be done urgently if we are to win our next matches.”

On losing the match against the Slum Boys, Polack said: “That is the way it is sometimes in football you cannot win every game, you win some and lose some.

Oliech: Gor Mahia will finish third

Prior to the match against Mathare United, former Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech stated that his former club would finish no better than third position.

Additional reporting from Nairobi News.

Former Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oliech believes the current squad is not experienced enough to lift the Kenya Premier League (KPL) title this season.

Oliech, who parted ways with Gor Mahia bitterly due to his absence from training and salary arrears three months ago, now says the club’s failure to qualify for the group stage of Caf Confederation Cup preliminaries is enough evidence that their hard time in the domestic league is beckoning.

“Gor Mahia has started the league in fine form but they have a bad away record hence cannot win KPL this season. The best they can finish is position 3 or 4. They sold many experienced players and the current want needs time to gel,” Oliech said.

Former skipper Harun Shakava, Jacques Tuyisenge, Francis Kahata and Francis Mustafa all left K’Ogalo last season while key players in the frame of Philemon Otieno and Shafiq Batambuze are currently out injured.

Veteran goalkeeper Boniface Omondi has also been relegated to the bench after the signing of Tanzanian David Mapigano.

UNPAID DUES

Oliech further said that he has decided to go slow on his intentions to sue Gor Mahia, saying he is waiting for the club to get a new sponsor then he will demand his dues.

“Court cases on football takes even four years to end but I’m not done with Gor Mahia yet. I sympathize with their financial situation but I will be on them when they have a new sponsor so that I can get my money,” he said.

At the same time, the former Harambee Stars skipper has revealed that he will be available in the January transfer window when he will seek to join either Bandari or Wazito FC.