Gor Mahia to seek ministry permission to train

Amina Mohamed and Joe Okudo (Permanent Secretary)

The preliminary round of the Africa champions league is set to kick off on November 27 which is just over 2 months away. And with Gor Mahia having recruited several players who have never played together, the team needs to start sharpening their team tactics. With that in mind, Secretary General Sam Ocholla says Gor Mahia will seek special permission to start training.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia will seek for a special permit from the ministries of sports and health so that they can start training’.

Gor Mahia have Caf Champions League assignments slated for November.

Even though the fixtures for Caf Confederation Cup and Champions  League are not yet out, Caf last month released a roadmap for resumption of its competitions including the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in November.

On Friday, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed issued guidelines on the resumption of sports activities in the country but football was one of the contact sports which will have to wait longer for the greenlight to resume.

With their engagements in the Africa inter-clubs tourney looming, Gor Mahia secretary general Sam Ochola says they have no choice but seek permission from the health and sports ministries to train as a unit.

Before Friday’s announcement, most Kenyan Premier League clubs had resumed training in anticipation that the 2020/21 BetKing Premier League season would start in October.

“We are participating in a tough continental assignments against teams which have already hit the ground running and that is why we have to seek for clearance from the two ministries,” said Ochola.

The recently elected official added that they had received the go a head to train in small groups by following strict Ministry of Health guidelines.

“We have been training in groups but now we have to assemble our squad and train vigorously. However, that is subject to clearance from the Ministry of Health and we are sure, we shall adhere to the protocols. Our main aim this season is to excel in continental tournament and that is why our preparation is key,” he added.


Amina Mohamed: Football to remain suspended

Gor Mahia will need to sharpen their tactics and gell as a team before the start of the Africa champions league which begins in November. However
ports Minister Amina Mohamed has thrown a wrench in those plans when she announced that contact sports like football will remain suspended

Additional reporting from goal.com

The football fraternity suffered yet another setback as the government said the ban on contact sports will remain in force

Sports CS Amina Mohamed has confirmed football and other contact sports will remain suspended in the country until further notice.

In a statement obtained by Goal, Mohamed revealed only non-contact sports will be allowed to resume after months of suspension owing to the effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but in a phased manner.

“All contact sports [including football] will remain suspended until further notice,” Mohamed said on Friday while issuing the final guidelines to sport’s resumption. “However, all non-contact sports will reopen in a phased manner.
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“All outdoor recreation and non-contact sporting activities will re-open in a phased manner as listed in the guidelines.

“Testing of Covid-19 will not be mandatory but where required, the cost shall be met by the federations, sports organisations, participants or event organizers as applicable.”

However, Mohamed clarified national teams taking part in international events will be required to seek a special exemption from the Cabinet Secretary of Sports.

“National teams participating in the international events in the Water sports or contact sports categories will be required to seek a special exemption from the Cabinet Secretary of Sports,” Mohamed continued.

“All federations are required to submit their respective revised international team Kenya event calendars to the Principal Secretary for Sports on or before September 30, 2020, for planning purposes.

“The commissioner of sports will work with national teams and athletes representing Kenya in international events to advise and guide on national and international compliance of Covid-19 regulations before the departure and re-entry into the country.”

The latest statement means the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) may not kick off as earlier planned in October, but the Harambee Stars will be able to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.

On Thursday, FKF president Nick Mwendwa confirmed to Goal they were waiting for the approval from the government to have the national team move to camp ahead of the upcoming assignments.

“The government has not yet given us feedback despite us having the national team games coming,” Mwendwa told Goal on Thursday.

“If we do not honour the games we will be removed from the qualifiers and the government has not responded.”

The youthful administrator further revealed plans for Kenya ahead of their assignments. The East African nation is scheduled to host Comoros on November 9 before playing them away eight days later.

“On October 10 we have a friendly game at home; actually we had planned to have two friendly matches before our home and away games against Comoros,” Mwendwa added.

“However, we are yet to confirm the teams will be playing in the build-up matches. The main thing now is for the government to give us the green light to start training.”
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Kenya started their campaign for the 2021 Afcon, to be held in Cameroon, with an impressive 1-1 draw away to Egypt. They followed it up with another draw, by the same margin, in Nairobi against Togo.

In Group G, Comoros, who started their campaign with a 1-0 win against Togo before settling for a goalless draw against the Pharaohs, lead with four points.

They have managed to score a goal, conceding none in the process.


Polack: We are ready for the season

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack is confident of the club’s prospects for next season despite not having been involved in any of the signings.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Polack though conceded that he doesn’t know the players and was not involved in the process of acquiring them but said they have completed their activities in the transfer market.

“We have brought in 12 new players in our squad but it is true I don’t know many of them. However, I believe they have what it takes to play for Gor Mahia next season. I will have to watch them during training sessions and decide how to field them next season,” Polack said.

Foreigners Uganda international Tito Okello, Cameroonian midfielder Bertrand Ngafei and Malawian midfielder Andrew Malisero have joined the 18-time Kenyan champions.

The reigning champions have raided KPL side Western Stima and got the services of Kelvin Wesonga, Kennedy Owino, Sydney Ochieng’, custodian Samuel Njau and teenage sensation Benson Omala. Chemelil Sugar midfielder John Ochieng’, goalkeeper Levis Opiyo (City Stars), Andrew Juma (Mathare United) and forward John Macharia have also joined the club.

Gor Mahia Secretary General Sam Ochola has also confirmed Burundi striker Jules Ulimwengu has also agreed personal terms with the club and is expected in the country once the ban on international flights is lifted by the government.

“I have been informed that some of them are young players who have been doing very well in their clubs and I am sure they will replicate that performance in our team.”

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa recently said the new Betking Premier League season is likely to kick-off on October 26. Polack now says that he has urged his charges to step up their individual training sessions.

“They have been training individually but I have instructed players to work harder so as to raise their fitness levels. This will be my second season in-charge and I want to deliver success to the club more so in Caf matches,” he added.

The Sports Dispute Tribunal (SDT) is expected to give a ruling on the fate of this season on September 15 after it was halted on March 16 due to a coronavirus pandemic.


SDT declares Gor Mahia 2019-2020 KPL Champions

The Sports dispute tribunal have sided with the FKF decision to declare Gor Mahia 2019-2020 league champions after the league ended with Gor Mahia still atop the charts.

Additional reporting from Citizen Sports

Football Kenya Federation will feel vindicated after the Sports Disputes Tribunal on Tuesday upheld its decision to halt the 2019/20 Kenyan Premier League season and declare Gor Mahia the Premier League champions.

FKF made the decision on April 30 this year at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic that had made the government to halt sports activities and any social gathering events in the country.

However the league management body contested the decision, arguing that due process wasn’t followed as it was the only entity with the authority to make a decision on whether to stop the league.

However on Tuesday, the Tribunal boss John Ohaga ruled that FKF was within its rights to make the decision.

Reacting to the ruling, KPL CEO Jack Oguda said they have no choice but ‘to respect the ruling’.

“The judge faulted our application that we did exhaust all dispute resolution mechanisms.

“We have to accept the ruling, that is the rule of law. The shareholder(KPL clubs chairmen) will have to decide on the next step,”he explained. “The chairman (Ambrose Rachier)will have to call a meeting for the club chairmen to decide the next step.

The decision to declare Gor champions divided opinion amongst soccer stakeholders with bitter rivals AFC Leopards indicating back then that they would challenge the decision.

However, hardly a week after declaring so, Leopards boss Dan Shikanda changed tune.

The ruling effectively paves way for the 2020/21 KPL season which is expected to commence as soon as the government gives the green light for the resumption of sports activities in the country.


Muguna: I am staying

Gor Mahia team captain Kenneth Muguna has sought to set aside rumours of his imminent departure

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia fans can breathe a sigh of relief after club captain Kenneth Muguna on Sunday asserted that he is staying at the club.

Muguna has been subject of speculations and was at one time during this transfer window rumoured to be on his way to South African giants Orlando Pirates, Simba SC of Tanzania and DC Motemba Pembe of DR Congo.

The K’Ogalo play-maker has now come out saying he didn’t understand the genesis of all the speculations yet none of the clubs has contacted him or his agents.

The 2017 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Player of the Year told Nation Sport that he will see out the remainder of his contract, which ends in September 2021 and his focus is now to lead the club to continental glory.

The last time K’Ogalo achieved such a fete was in 1987 when they won the prestigious Mandela Cup after seeing off Tunisia giants Esperance in the finals. K’Ogalo and Esperance drew 3-3 on aggregate (2-2 in Tunis and 1-1 at Kasarani), with K’Ogalo winning on the away goal rule.

“I have been silent and watching all this speculation and unverified stories written by journalists and in blogs. Let me make it clear that I am a Gor Mahia player and I am heading nowhere, in fact to be precise, I am prepared to ensure I play for this great club until the end of my contract in 2021,” said a confident Muguna.

“What is going through my mind is making history by leading Gor to more silverware in the new season.This can be achieved through confidence, self belief and discipline between all players and the technical bench,” said the former Western Stima midfielder.

The iconic and experienced midfielder has been one of the key players at the reigning KPL champions’ camp. His departure would have left a huge gap in the midfield considering that he started almost all of Gor Mahia matches last season and was the club’s top scorer with eight goals before the coronavirus pandemic struck in March and led to the stoppage of the league.

Muguna brushed off thoughts that Gor Mahia’s chances of retaining the league are slim following the departure of some key players.

His assistant, Joash Onyango, winger Boniface Omondi, Ugandan striker Juma Balinya, goalkeeper Peter Odhiambo, Tanzania custodian David Mapigano, his counterpart Dickson Ambudo and youthful striker Dennis Oalo are some of the players who have left K’Ogalo.

“Players come and go, but it is self belief and motivation that makes each and every footballer take on the pitch to win games. The players who have been signed by the club are good and through self belief and a lot of learning from experienced ones, they will perform,” he added.

K’Ogalo has already signed 12 players and Muguna, 24, says he is ready to show leadership and work together with them.

Since joining Gor in 2017, Muguna has bagged three KPL titles and has also been a fixture in the Harambee Stars squad.

He featured for Stars during last year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Stars were bundled out of the group stages.


Video: Kenneth Muguna speaks on preparations for Champions League

Skipper Kenneth Muguna is confident that Gor Mahia will do well in continental competitions.

On the Covid 19 pandemic, Muguna stated that the players were significantly impacted. They are adjusting to it and hoping that things go back to normal soon.

On training he says he has a gym at home and thus has kept himself in shape

Muguna says that he would rather win the league instead of being given the league by a boardroom decision but he understands that the league had to be halted for the sake of public health.

He is sure that team will play well next season.

On Joash Onyango’s departure, he says he understands because no player can stay at the same team forever.

On the continental campaign he says the preparation must be good and player effort must be maximum and the office must do its part.

He speaks well of coach Steve Pollack. He enforces discipline and loves football.

Muguna says his football career started in Kondele Kisumu at a team called Urusi, then Real Kisumu, the KYOC then Palos and then Western Stima


Reports of Ze Maria’s return and Pollack’s departure

Despite coach Steve Pollack vehemently denying that he was leaving, there are numerous reports that he has indeed been replaced by Ze Maria

Additional reporting from goal.com
The KPL heavyweights are set to confirm the former KF Tirana tactician as the new man in charge as Steven Polack has left the country

Jose Marcelo Ferreira (Ze Maria) is expected to be appointed Gor Mahia’s head coach, Goal can exclusively reveal.

Rumours of the Brazilian’s return to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) has gathered speed over the past few days and now a source close to K’Ogalo has intimated he is set to be appointed as a coach again.

“Unless something big or very special happens, Ze Maria is the new coach,” the source revealed.
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“Gor Mahia have been in the market for a few weeks searching for a new coach since they were sure Polack will not be part of them going forward.

“The hierarchy settled on Ze Maria unanimously because of his previous experience and of course his undoubted love for our team.

“I am saying the office settled on him unanimously because the new officials are working with unity since it is a lean office compared to the previous one.”

Ze Maria’s news comes just a day after coach Steven Polack requested for a 10-day holiday before the 2020/21 season begins.

A source close to Gor Mahia told Goal that Polack has left his role after he tabled a few needs he wanted the club to sort out before the new campaign begins.

“We are aware of how the previous coaches took holidays only to confirm their resignation while away from the club. Take it from me brother, he [Polack] is not returning,” the source said in regard to the Polack issue.

“He asked for a one-way ticket and all pending salaries before he left and this is the reason I am telling you he is gone. He had issues which seems are not going to be resolved any time soon.

“That is why he has left.”

In a recent interview, the former Inter Milan and Levante right-back-cum-midfielder Ze Maria revealed how coaching Gor Mahia was an exciting role.

“It was the biggest club in Kenya, so every game was like managing Flamengo or Corinthians in Brazil. The stadium was packed,” Ze Maria said then.

“There were difficulties. Sometimes you go to a stadium where the players don’t all fit in the changing room, so you have to change on the bus.

“But the passion is absurd. African players are technically similar to Brazilians, but they lack opportunities to move to bigger leagues.

“Because of the pitches, when you dribble, the ball would bounce a metre up in the air, but the quality with which they controlled and conducted it, not even a Brazilian would do that.”

The Brazilian succeeded Frank Nuttall, who had led K’Ogalo to the 2015 KPL title with an unbeaten record, but resigned in 2017 abruptly before joining KF Tirana.

He exited the club after it had just won the SportPesa Super Cup and were on top of the KPL table with 27 points.

Although Ze Maria could be appointed soon, Polack has maintained he will travel back and resume his duties.

“I am not a coward to leave and not to come back. I have a two-way ticket; after finishing my business with family at home, Gor Mahia will be my next step in preparations for the 2020/21 KPL season,” the Finnish coach told Goal.


Pollack headed to Finland on holiday

Gor Mahia coach Steve Pollack is headed to Finland on a much anticipated 10-day holiday.

Additional reporting from the Standard

vice chairman Francis Wasuna said Pollack requested for the holiday ahead of the much-anticipated resumption of sporting activities in the country.

“Pollack will be hitting the run-way tonight to Finland for a 10-day.

“The coach (Pollack) requested for some days off and we gave him 10 days and he will be travelling tonight to Finland,” Wasuna said in a statement on Friday.

The vice-chairman, however, pointed out Pollack is expected back in Kenya after the stated days unless the plot is interfered with by quarantine programs where an extension will be needed.

“The plan is to have him (Pollack) back after 10 days but we are not sure of any quarantine programs the other end.

“If it happens and his 10 days are interfered with, then an extension of his stay in Finland might be necessary,” Wasuna stated.

The football season is back and with it, the ever buzzing transfer window.

During this period, football clubs all over the world are allowed to transfer, exchange, or release players, either at an agreed fee or for free, depending on a player’s contract situation.

Jerim Onyango joins senior team as coach

Former Gor Mahia captain Jerim Onyango who has been working with the Gor Mahia youth team, will now work with the senior team as goalkeeper trainer.

Additional reporting from pepeta.co.ke

Onyango has been the team manager of the junior team but the club has now moved him to work closely with the goalkeepers from the senior and junior sides with Collins Kalee now slotting in as the manager of the junior side.

Through the new Secretary General Mr. Samuel Ochola the changes have been necessitated by the need to have a seamless team.

“The changes have been necessitated by the need to have a seamless team working together. There will be combined training sessions where the juniors can learn from the senior team and the coaching staff too can work and learn from each other for the betterment of the club.

“We will be having a lean committee with much being done at the club’s secretariat and that means, we will not be outsourcing services,” Ochola said.

On his elevation, Kalee said: “I am delighted because I have been there since the inception of the junior team and I appreciate what the office has done. I will work to ensure the youth team produce players who are good enough to play at senior levels so that as a club we save on the expenditure towards signing new players.”

With Kalee as the team manager, Kennedy Ochola will take up the kit manager position with Celestinus Otieno as his assistant.


Ze Maria headed back to KPL

Former Gor Mahia coach Ze Maria is reportedly headed back to the KPL while rumours of Steve Polack’s imminent departure are resurfacing

Additional reporting from goal.com
The rumours are gathering speed with other reports indicating K’Ogalo are in the market looking for someone to take over from Steven Polack
Former Gor Mahia head coach Jose Marcelo Ferreira (Ze Maria) could be on his way back to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), according to the latest reports.

The Brazilian succeeded Frank Nuttall, who had led K’Ogalo to the 2015 KPL title without losing a single match, but resigned in 2017 abruptly before joining KF Tirana.

He exited the club after it had just won the SportPesa Super Cup and were on top of the KPL table with 27 points.

In a recent interview, Ze Maria stated coaching Gor Mahia – who will fly the Kenyan flag in the Caf Champions League again – was like leading Brazilian sides Flamengo or Corinthians.

“It was the biggest club in Kenya, so every game was like managing Flamengo or Corinthians in Brazil. The stadium was packed,” Ze Maria said then.

“There were difficulties. Sometimes you go to a stadium where the players don’t all fit in the changing room, so you have to change on the bus.

“But the passion is absurd. African players are technically similar to Brazilians, but they lack opportunities to move to bigger leagues.

“Because of the pitches, when you dribble, the ball would bounce a metre up in the air, but the quality with which they controlled and conducted it, not even a Brazilian would do that.”

When Ze Maria resigned as Gor Mahia coach, he later signed Kenneth Muguna and Musa Mohamed for the Albanian side but the two returned after short stints in Europe.

Should the former Inter Milan star join any of the KPL sides, he will be tasked with ending Gor Mahia’s dominance in the last three seasons.

Ze Maria’s former side has won the previous three titles but has failed to progress further on the continental front, where they were last eliminated by Daring Club Motema Pembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Meanwhile, credible reports have indicated Gor Mahia striker Dennis Oalo has joined Posta Rangers.

Oalo joined K’Ogalo last year from the National Super League (NSL) side Nairobi Stima and has also previously featured for KPL outfit Kisumu All-Stars.

Williamson ready to work with no contract

Another Former Gor Mahia coach Bobby Williamson, who has been out of work since being sidelined from Harambee stars, now says he is willing to work without a contract

Additional reporting from goal.com

The tactician has been out of work since 2016, but has now revealed he is keen on coaching any team interested in his services
Experienced coach Bobby Williamson has revealed he is ready to work for any team in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) even without a contract.

The Scot has been out of work since getting fired by Harambee Stars in 2016 but is now ready for a touchline return to any team that will show interest in his services.

“I am available to talk to anyone,” Williamson who resides in Kenya told Goal on Tuesday.

The former Gor Mahia coach has also stated he is ready to work without a contract which will allow either of the two parties to leave without restrictions if an opportunity arises. However, he is also ready to be tied with a binding contract.

“I would be prepared to work without a contract,” the 59-year-old revealed.

“I want to be paid; but if there is no contract, the club can let me go at any time without cost, and on the other hand, if someone else wants me I can walk away at no cost.

“If the club insists on a contract, that is fine,” he concluded.

Williamson is remembered for helping K’Ogalo win their first title in 18 years back in 2013. He went on to explain to Goal what he told the management after achieving what other coaches had failed to achieve after almost two decades.

“It is all about the mentality they have; that winning mentality,” the former striker explained.

“Before I arrived, they were close to winning the title, they then got over the line. I said after we had won the league, that they would never wait 18 long years again and that has been proven. The recruitment is important and they have brought coaches on board that have kept that momentum going.”

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In 2014, the coach left his post at the club to serve the Kenya national team in the same capacity.

“My time at Gor Mahia was good, I made a lot of friends and was privileged to help the team get their first league title after almost two decades,” Williamson told Goal.

“I had an agreement with the chairman [Ambrose Rachier] that if the national team comes calling I will leave and it is what happened about a year later.”


Afiriyie leaves Township Rollers

Former Gor Mahia attacking ace Francis Afiriyie has left Botswana giants Township rollers the club have announced.

Additional reporting from Ghana Soccernet

Afriyie, 25, joined Rollers in January this year on a two- and-a-half deal after leaving Kenyan side Gor Mahia FC.

The former Bechem United player joined Gor Mahia in 2019 but the left club due to unpaid entitlements.

A statement from Township Rollers read:

“West African forwards, Francis Afriyie of Ghana and Fabien Mongba of the Ivory Coast this afternoon departed for their respective home countries, bringing to an end their stay at Township Rollers.

“Afriyie and Mongba recently underwent tests for Covid-19, and through the assistance of their respective countries’ embassies, they were able to be repatriated back home.

“We wish them a safe trip home. ENDS….”

Afriyie previously had spells in Europe for Serbian side Vojvodina and in North America for the Mexican side Murcielagos.