There are two common denominators for teams that excel in continental tournaments:
2. Cohesion that comes from playing together for a long time
When Gor Mahia won the Africa cup winners cup in 1987, the team comprised of grizzled veterans who had been at the club for long periods. Austin Oduor (7 years), Peter Otieno Bassanga (6 years), George Otieno Solo (12 years), Bobby Ogolla (10 years), Isaiah Omondi (6 years), Sammy Onyango (8 years), David Ochieng (4 years), George Onyango Fundi and Abbas Magongo (3 years).
Because these players were so highly experienced, they were unfazed even when playing against hostile crowds. Furthermore, they had played together for so long that they were completely in sync. They could anticipate each others runs. They knew each others strengths and weaknesses and could adjust accordingly. The defence was solid because the likes of Makamu, Bassanga and Janabi had been playing together for very long.
The Gor Mahia team that reached the Africa Cup winners cup final in 1979 was a blend of youth and vast experience. The likes of Allan Thigo, Andrew Obunga, George Yoga, Paul Oduwo “Cobra”, Mike Ogolla “Machine”, Dan Odhiambo, Ouma Ole Tunda, Duncan Migan, George Ayuka etc had been playing together since the early 1970s, there familiarity with each other and vast experience is what propelled the team all the way to the final, including defeating the defending champions Horoya, the most feared team in the tournament.
Contrast that with recent seasons. When Gor Mahia played Ferroviario of Maputo in 2012, virtually the entire team was new and largely inexperienced. In Defence, Yusuf Juma and Ivan Anguyo had never played together hence their coordination was shambolic. In midfield, Moses Otieno, Kevin Ochieng, and Collins Okoth similarly had no coherence. And the attack of Ibrahim Kitawi and Baldwin Ngawa and no familiarity with each other as attacking partners. The net result was that Kogalo lost 0-3 away and 0-1 at home.
The 2012 team was however very talented. They started the league very poorly and after 6 matches, they were in the relegation zone. But as they matured and gained cohesion, they went on a winning spree and almost won the league.
In 2014, Gor Mahia yet again went on a signing spree, bringing back George Odhiambo “Blackberry”, Patrick Oboya, Shakava, Walusimbi Kizito and others. But the lack of cohesion was evident again. Sserunkuma , Oboya and Blackberry, though individually brilliant, had never played together and thus the attack was blunt. The midfield of Kizito, Akumu, Kevin Oluoch and Timonah Wanyonyi similarly lacked cohesion and were thus ineffective. While the defence of Shakava, Walusimbi, Calabar and Musa Mohamed was shambolic because they had never played togther. When Walusimbi made a run forward, nobody covered the space he left behind. With such shambles in defence and lack of cohesion in attack, it came as no shock when Gor Mahia lost 8-1 on aggregate to Esperance.
Aside from the lack of cohesion, the other issue that happens when a team has to be rebuilt every year is that late signings are often ineligible to play in African competitions. For example, in 2015, Gor Mahia had a very strong team that won the league unbeaten. Yet at the continental level, they flopped at the first stage, losing to AC Leopards both home and away. This was because key signings like Kagere, Nizigiyimana and Sibomana were signed late and were thus ineligible. In attack, Olunga and Abondo who was returning from Tusker were new signings and had never played with Blackberry. It came as no surprise that the attack was blunt and Gor Mahia lost 0-1 at home and 0-1 away to AC Leopards of Congo-Brazza. And again the 2015 team was very string, once they gelled and gained cohesion, they were unstoppable, winning the league unbeaten.
Unfortunately, the very next year 2016, Gor Mahia started from scratch yet again. Gone was the lethal attack of Kagere, Abondo and Olunga. Instead Gor Mahia had to build a completely new attack with Enock Agwanda playing alongside Jacob Keli. The midfield of Eric Ochieng, Ernest Wendo and Amos Nondi was completely inexperienced and lacked cohesion. In the end, an uninspired Kogalo side lost to CNaPS of Madagascar 1-2 at home and 0-1 away.
The period between 2018 and 2019 was a relatively successful one for Kogalo. During this period, Gor Mahia eliminated much more fancied sides like Super Sport of South Africa, New Star de Douala. They reached the group stage in 2018 and surpassed the group stage in 2019, while recording excellent results against North African teams like Esperance, Hussein Dey and Zamalek.
The common denominator during this period was that the team was vastly experienced and had played together for long periods. Tuyisenge, Blackberry, Kahata, Muguna, Lawrence Juma. While in defence Shakava, Philemon Otieno and others had a lot of familiarity. These were joined by grizzled veterans like Humphrey Mieno and Dennis Oliech who had been internationals for a decade or more.
Then in 2019-2020 season, the shambles returned. When Gor Mahia played Aigle Noir, only 15 players were registered to play in continental football. Luckily Aigle Noir were a sub par team. But the lack of depth came back to bite when Gor Mahia played DC Motema Pembe. Despite a valiant effort, they lost 3-2 on aggregate. A year earlier they would have beaten Motema Pembe.
Unfortunately, retaining players, is not a priority for this office. They have a policy of not approaching players to sign new contracts or even extend their existing contracts. Also when a player is owed 5 months salary, it is difficult to convince them to extend their salaries especially when former players like Tuyisenge and Kahata tell stories of how well they are being treated by their new teams. As a result, Gor Mahia loses several key players in mid season and at the end of the season and always has to start from scratch, playing continental matches with players who are often inexperienced or have never played together.
Furthermore due to Chairman’s Rachier’s refusal to be transparent, the club is constantly broke. As had been stated many times, if Rachier were to choose to be accountable and transparent, this club would have 10,000 members each paying Ksh 100 per month which would amount to Ksh 10 million a month. With those funds, player retention would be easy.
Gor Mahia’s peers are teams that typically excel at the continental level. Gor Mahia should strive for continental glory and not be content with just the local league.
On Wednesday August 5, Radio Jambo presenter Joseph Ogidi, popularly known as Gidi Gidi, and media personality / journalist Tony Anelka hosted a debate featuring the aspirants for the position of honorary treasurer.
Say what you may about her lack of degree or lack of qualifications and her lack of tact. But if there is anyone who said all the things that needed to be said at Wednesday’s debate, it was the infamous Judith Anyango aka “Nyangi”. It was she who pinpointed the most pressing issue facing the club today. The issue that hinders the club from progressing to the level of other regional teams like Simba FC, TP Mazembe and the Zambian clubs. All things considered, she won the debate despite being an outsider.
Watch her comments starting from the 1:06:55 mark. She laid bare all the issues that are afflicting this club.
The most important issue affecting the club is the lack of trust from fans. It is the reason that club membership has plummetted from 2000 to only 500. It is one of the reason why match attendance had plummetted from about 10,000 fans per game in 2011 to about 500 per game in 2019.
Nyangi started by saying that she knows all the corruption that has been occurring at the club. She noted that the club must harness fans goodwill by being transparent and assuring the fans that money is well taken care of and accounted for. This includes the money coming in from sponsors which Nyangi says that sometimes just disappears from the club accounts as soon as it is deposited by sponsors. She stated that in some cases, match attendance is good yet players don’t receive their match allowances.
Perhaps the most important issue that Nyangi noted was the lack of financial structures. According to Nyangi, the club is now being run through “System ya majambazi“, whereby the chairman acts not only as the chairman, but also the secretary general and treasurer. When the club treasurer goes to the bank to ask for a bank statements, the bank calls Rachier to ask if they can give the statement to the treasurer.
Nyangi noted that when Players were sold nobody knew what the transfer fee was. For example, at first when Walusimbi was sold and club officials denied that they received money only to admit that they did indeed receive the money. But it is still not clear how much was received for Walusimbi. This is why fans are staying away said Nyangi.
On membership, Tony Anelka asked Nyangi why as organizing secretary, she was unable to register members even though this is her responsibility.
Nyangi responded that Membership recruitment should be performed by the whole club. She said “I traversed the country asking the fans to register. But fans asked where the rest of the officials are. I felt like I was bearing the burden of membership recruitment alone without participation from other club officials.”
Nyangi also noted that Membership proceeds would come into the club and would disappear. She noted that due to Mambo ya giza. Fans were discouraged from becoming members.
Nyangi continued to say “If things are done the right way, fans are ready to contribute if we do simple things that don’t need a degree”.
When members raise issues they are told “Pak Gor idog e odi”. Which roughly translates to focus on supporting and leave financial management to us
In conclusion Nyangi noted that what the club needs is not people with degrees. Indeed what the club needs is a person who can do very basic and simple things to ensure accountability and transparency so that fans can return.
His opening monologue was very wordy, short on substance and full of big words. He did eventually propose some ideas. He noted that there are KRA provisions that can be used to reduce the tax burden on players. His big ideas were on ways to reduce the clubs transportation costs. Per Okoth, the new sponsorship includes Ksh 6 million for transport. He proposes to ask the sponsor to advance the club the entire Ksh 6 million and also loan the club Ksh 4 million to buy a bus. The loan will be recouped by asking the sponsor to organize 3 big matches. On the issue of hotel fees, Okoth suggested that the club invest in guest houses all over the country that the club could use instead of paying for hotels.
The main thrust of Okoth’s argument was that none of his challengers have the required qualifications to vie for this position.
On transparency, he suggested to bring in branches to man the gates. As far as he is concerned, instances of people jumping over gates and refusing to pay for tickets will be reduced if branches man the gates.
She said the fact that she is not an accountant does not mean that she is incapable of being treasurer. She maintained that she knows how to read financial statements. She says that she was one of the people who wrote the club’s new constitution and her goal is to ensure that the club constitution especially the separation of duties that include a financial officer and a external auditor. She wants to create financial structures that will be used in posterity. On the issue of ticketing, Dolfina proposed the use of an in-house e-Ticketing system so that the club have control and perform internal audits. She vowed to bring transparency into the way the club is run.
Credit to Chrispine Okoth and Dolfina Odhiambo for their passion. But it must be said that Nyangi won this debate because she pinpointed the major problems affecting the club and provided very practical solutions which if implemented are sure to have an immediate impact on the club.
This article is not saying she is the most qualified. But she won the debate because clearly has the best understanding of what ails this club and what the best solution is
If as a fan you want to address the constant exodus of the club’s key players to Wazito, Tusker, to Zambia, Tanzania and so forth. If you want players not to go for several months with no pay, or to be locked in hotels, lose their spouses, face evictions, go without treatment for major injuries, then you must pay attention to what Nyangi said. Put your prejudices aside for a moment and ask yourself whether you really disagree with Nyangi.
This club is in dire straits. It has been in terrible shape for several months now. Players have gone several months with little or no pay. Many key players have recently left. More are set to leave. There are reports that Simba of Dar es Salaam are planning another raid. There are reports of an impending mass exodus of players. The Chairman has not done much or anything to mitigate this quagmire.
If the league were to resume in August, the club might not even be able to honor matches because matches will be played to empty stadia. The Chairman himself admitted that he has not created a post Covid 19 plan. Where will the club get funds to honour matches?
Most fans understand that if this club were to start taking the issue of Accountability and Transparency seriously, the club can raise a lot of money. The lack of transparency is the biggest stumbling block that keeps the club and its players in poverty. Fans have read reports of gate proceeds being pocketed by officials, reports of club officials demanding bribes and clear evidence of officials under-reporting attendance. With this in mind, the fans, many of whom are not financially stable, are unwilling to blindly give their money to the club.
However what has become clear is that Chairman Ambrose Rachier does not have any intention of ever being transparent or accountable. He has made that clear. And at the age of 71, he is too set in his ways and cannot accept change. Even if he is pushed, he will only engage in half-hearted transparency measures. Just as he did with eTicketing where he tried it for one game and then gave up and made a lame excuse for why it would not work. He wants to run this club exactly how it was run in 1968 (52 years ago). And he is not open to new ideas.
However the Post Covid 19 scenario will require a different way of thinking. There will be no sponsor. And no gate collections. Even if the government re-opens business, many fans will stay away of stadia for fear of Covid 19. The normal way of running the club will not be viable.
How will the club survive?
The time has come to search for a more dynamic leader who can think out of the box. Just as fans brought Rachier to rescue the club in 2008, it is time for the different fan groups and branches to start an active search for a new Chairman.
There are over 200,000 committed Gor Mahia fans. Many of them occupy senior positions in corporations. It is impossible to imagine that fans cannot find a person to lead this team on an interim basis. A person who understands business aspects, understands how to promote and market the team and has contacts in large corporations that he could use to negotiate potential sponsorships. And above all things THIS PERSON MUST BE 100% COMITTED TO TRANSPARENCY. If no such person can be found then we may as well maintain the status quo.
With an accountable office, member subscriptions, merchandize sales and other aspects will increase significantly. And in the Post Covid 19 scenario it will be critical for the club to restart initiatives like Gor Mahia bread and Gor Mahia water in order to sustain the club.
This person would lead the club only on an interim basis. His/Her primary task will be to put in place structures that can sustain the club. He would then pave the way for elections.
My vote would go to Carol Radull.
Having watched Carol Radull interview football officials, it is clear that she understands what it takes to market and promote a club. She clearly understands the importance of transparency and accountability. She understands how to bring in the right people and hold them accountable. Plus with her media exposure, she would be the kind of person this club needs to put stall the impending disaster. She will give fans and players hope.
In the likely case that Carol declines, Kogallo must still find a new dynamic leader with a proven record of leading an organization who can come in on an interim basis, stabilize the club, lay the foundation for a future modern club, modernize the club’s constitution and then pave the way for elections. Surely there must be such a person amongst Gor Mahia’s legion of fans. In 2008, fans found Rachier and asked him to run the club. Surely we can find a new dynamic leader in 2020.
Rachier should cement his legacy
When Rachier announced that he would resign in December of 2019, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of his announcement was that he said he would not assist the club by finding a suitable replacement.
Flashback to 2008. The chairman was Erastus Okul. As a club Chairman, he was grossly incompetent. He was only known for constantly fighting with the KPL and FKF leaders, sowing disorder and instigating the creation of parallel leagues. But he redeemed himself when he gracefully stepped aside to allow Ambrose Rachier to take over. He admitted that he was incapable of lifting the club from its morass and stepped aside for Rachier to take over.
Now Mr. Rachier appears to have run out of ideas. Like Okul he can redeem himself by helping spearhead the search for a qualified individual who can help restore this club. He has created a good legacy by steering the club to six titles (4 league and 2 cups). Rachier should be thanked for lifting the club out of his mediocrity. He can cement his legacy by leaving the club to new leadership that can take the club out of its current quagmire and take it to the next level.
This Saturday May 23-2020, TV personality Carol Radull interviewed Dan Shikanda and Ambrose Rachier who are the chairmen of AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia respectively. Shikanda came across as a man determined to lift AFC Leopards from its current morass. He is full of ideas and is burning with ambition. Shikanda, being a Scientist, also seems to approach each problem like the Medic that he is. He diagnoses the problem and offers a solution. Just like a medical Doctor diagnoses an sickness and prescribes a treatment, Shikanda had a clear view of the problems his club is facing and indicated that he is already working on remedies.
Rachier on the other hand appears to have completely run out of ideas. He offered no valid solutions. Instead he went back to the tried and failed tactic of blaming fans and trying to guilt fans into offering support to the club. This is a tactic he has applied for the past couple of years and it has not succeeded especially in the last few years. This does not bode well for the club’s immediate future.
Whereas Shikanda seems to approach each problem like scientist seeking problems, Rachier approaches each problem like the criminal defense lawyer he is, deflecting blame, daring people to produce evidence of corruption and finding creative ways to avoid postpone the issue at hand so he can buy time.
Shikanda announced that he has developed a 5 year strategic plan that includes building infrastructure for the club. His made it clear that his goal is to close the gap on Gor Mahia on performance and surpass them. Shikanda’s strategic plan involves marketing club products such as cooking oil and bread. He intends to give businesses an opportunity to use the club’s new state of the art bus to market their products.
Shikanda has created a media team that shows fans what happens at AFC every day of the week. This will include player interviews, videos of training sessions, interviews with former players etc. Companies will be invited to market their products during these shows.
In other words, Shikanda is already implementing his strategic plan even with limited finances.
Rachier for his part said that he developed a strategic plan but he cannot implement anything due to lack of funds. He has basically thrown his arms up and surrendered because the club has no funds.
One fan wrote in during the show and called Shikanda a dreamer, even delusional. What such fans don’t realize is that even if Shikanda accomplishes 50% of his strategic plan, it will still leave AFC in a better place than they currently are.
Radull noted that five years ago she wanted to buy Kogalo jerseys. She bought 5 jerseys then she later found out that the jerseys were being sold by a club official as a side hustle. Therefore all the money she spent went to the pockets of that official.
Rachier then said that merchandize sales have failed because fans are buying pirated jerseys made in China and there was nothing he could do about the piracy. Shikanda on the other hand pinpointed the solution which is that the clubs lack an official shop. As a result, when fans want to but jerseys, they often don’t know where to buy official merchandise. Which is one reason why fans end up buying pirated merchandize.
A further reason is pricing. Kogalo at one point had the audacity to sell jerseys at Ksh 5000 at a time pirated jerseys were going for Ksh 1000. This shows that the people running the club are either delusional or lack a basic understanding or merchandising and sales. If it is cheaper to make jerseys in China then why can’t the club also pursue that option? Why not just contract with a supplier who can provide the jerseys cheaper? No fan will buy a jersey at Ksh 5000. The club ought to know this.
Shikanda noted that when he took over the club, there were 700 members. He has increased the base of paying members to 2000 paying members. Shikanda is targeting to have 10,000 members by the end of this year and before his first term his target is 200,000. The effort is being led by Victor Milimu a club official. They are using the media team to create content to keep fans engaged. Shikanda noted that he plans to make the club self sufficient even without a sponsor.
Rachier for his part noted that Kogalo Only has 400 members paying regularly. He offered that he has pursued tactics like addressing fans on Ramgogi FM, Kogalo fan day, hot 96, Dala FM. However Rachier has no set goals or targets for membership.
Rachier noted that the club has a database of 156,000 members who have contributed via bill. But these fans are not regular contributors. Again Rachier did not state what he will do to increase membership. He once again shifted blame to fans. The same thing he has done for the past few years. The question becomes, if AFC can increase membership threefold within 8 months, why can’t Kogalo also increase membership? Clearly the club is doing something wrong but the chairman is too proud to admit it.
Rachier noted that the club has 121 branches. Every branch is supposed to send Ksh 10,000 to the club per year regardless of how much they have raised. The branches are only loosely affiliated with the club. They have their own constitution and can raise money using the club’s name without remitting the money to the club. In fact nowadays even famous fans can create club merchandize using the club’s name and make money that should otherwise be going to the club. The club has no control over its branches, some of which are now engaged in outright theft of funds. Even funeral funds. The branches are now ruining the club’s name. No fan should be using the club name to sell merchandize and no branch should be soliciting funds using the club’s name. Rachier being an attorney can implement cease and desist orders.
A fan commented that the club’s poor attendance and low membership numbers are due to corruption and misappropriation of gate collections and other fans. But Rachier dismissed those sentiments as wild allegations and even challenged the fan to produce evidence of corruption.
Interestingly, Rachier demanded evidence of corruption within the club yet Radull had just told him that a club official was selling club jerseys as a side hustle and that none of the money was going to the club. Rachier also never addressed the issue of how a player Derek Otanga sensationally claimed that a club official demanded a bribe from him before he could be signed. Otanga instead decided to join Wazito
Unfortunately Radull did not challenge Rachier enough on the issue of transparency which is the primary issue holding fans from paying their hard earned money to become members or even to pay for tickets.
Rachier has been in charge for 12 years. In those 12 years, membership has not increased but instead has actually reduced significantly. A few years back, the club had 1700 members. Apparently it now has only 400 paying members. Yet Rachier persists in blaming fans instead of looking inwardly. He has been told many times that the issue of transparency is the stumbling block. But like a good lawyer, each time transparency is brought up, he deflects, shifts blame, creates alibis and postpones the issue. What makes Rachier an excellent lawyer has been detrimental to club membership recruitment.
Shikanda highlighted the fact that since he took over Ingwe 8 months ago, the players have not gone on strike.
Radull challenged Rachier asking why the club has not introduced electronic ticketing. Rachier claims that he tried but it failed because fans would send the confirmation message to other fans. These fans would then show up at the stadium with the confirmation message and claim that they paid. Rachier claimed he gave up on eTicketing for this reason.
But Radull corrected Rachier by indicating that there are companies like TicketSasa that offer a system whereby tickets can be scanned on the phone and therefore the ticket cannot be replicated. Radull was basically alluding to the Outsourcing model that was described on this column a few weeks back.
This segment proved what many fans had suspected all along: Rachier was never serious about eTicketing. What he did was a half-hearted attempt. Then he quickly pretended that eTicketing cannot work. Either he is too set in his ways and does not want to change tact. Or he simply does not want to properly account for gate collections.
Rachier admitted that the club is in bad shape, the players are going hungry and are being thrown out of their homes for lack of rent. He blamed this pn lack of participation from fans. He noted that hosting a match sometimes costs Ksh 100,000 yet ticket proceeds are sometimes as low as Ksh 7000.
Shikanda for his part noted that his strategic plan will not depend solely on match attendance on gate collections. He plans to pursue other activities such as the sales of AFC bread, AFC water and AFC cooking oil to put money in club coffers.
Post Covid Plans
Shikanda and his team are already planning for the distinct possibility that when football comes back in August, there will be no fans and there will be no sponsorship. So he plans to sustain the club via products like Ingwe water, Ingwe Sanitizer, Ingwe mafuta and so forth.
Rachier claimed that he has put a team together to study post covid plans but he does not anticipate creating a solid plan because the issue of who will run the league has not been settled.
Rachier and Shikanda then went on an unnecessary rant against FKF because they have decided to appoint referees. They both claimed that FIFA funds should be sent to clubs but Radull promptly corrected them that the FIFA money is meant for football development and is not supposed to be given to fans.
So Rachier admitted that he has no plans for a Post Covid 19 league which will have no sponsor and no gate receipts. He will go back to the tried and failed tactic of trying to guilt fans into contributing to the club.
A fan sent a message indicating that a major failure of both clubs is the lack of a good marketing strategy and that both clubs needed to engage professional marketers. Rachier indicated that he has engaged marketers who are engaged on a consultancy basis. He however did not indicate what these consultants have accomplished or what their specific purpose was, nor whether they have performance objectives or goals.
Shikanda for his part indicated that he has hired two individuals: Ronald Namai and Joseph Murule to lead the marketing effort by the club. They have clear marching orders to expose the club’s brand and each have revenue targets.
Radull challenged Rachier to explain why he has been at helm for 12 years yet he has not improved the club’s financial stability. Rachier took credit for winning the league six times. He said he has failed to stabilize the club financially. He however said the failure was due to lack of sponsors. He blamed his inability to implement his strategic plan on the departure of sponsors.
However it is worth noting that even when the club had sponsors, Rachier never implemented his strategic plan. In 2016, when Sportpesa wwere announced as the new club sponsor, this blog published an article suggesting steps the club should take to stabilize the club financially and plan for a future where there might be no sponsor. Of course not a single idea from that article was ever implemented.
The Sports Fund
Rachier and Shikanda complained that the Sports fund which was created by the government to fund sporting activities. However that fund is likely going to be used for various national teams. It is unlikely that any of that money will ever go to clubs.
Rachier deserves credit for the six titles the club has won. It must be said however that the titles happened during a period when Kogalo had sponsorship and decent gate receipts. Even in 2015 when the club had no sponsor, they were able to count on good gate receipts and the large donations from politicians. Rachier deserves credit for the six titles the club has won. It must be said however that the titles happened during a period when Kogalo had sponsorship and decent gate receipts. Even in 2015 when the club had no sponsor, they were able to count on good gate receipts and the large donations from politicians.
In 2020 things have changed. There will be no sponsor. There will be no gate receipts, only empty stadia to start the new season. If Rachier does not change tact, the club is doomed. Unfortunately Rachier appears set in his ways and unwilling to change. He is still of the mindset that he should get money from sources like the sports fund, the FKF and from fans. And he believes that he should not have to be accountable or transparent. If this continues, the club is headed for a bleak performance in 2020-2021.
Matters don’t look promising. Whereas Shikanda offered plenty of hope to AFC fans, Rachier did not offer anything to look forward to for the fan base. We hope matters change. We hope somebody can intervene and cause Rachier to change direction. The only good news is that towards the end of the interview, Rachier admitted that there is a lot more that he can do. So maybe there is some hope yet.
Please note that the goal of this column is not to simply bash the chairman. This author recognizes that Rachier deserves most of the credit for all the titles the club has won. The purpose of this column is to sound the alarm. This club is headed in the wrong direction. The Chairman seems intent on pursuing tried and failed methods. If matters are not remediated, the immediate future will prove disastrous.
Gor Mahia’s quest to retain the Kenya Premier League is still on track. This after they beat moneybags Wazito FC 1-0 at Machakos on Saturday.
Additional Reporting from futaa.com
Charles Momanyi scored the important goal in the second half, heading in Kenneth Muguna’s freekick in the 60th minute. The midfielder had another chance of making it 2-0 but could not capitalize. Inside the box, with no keeper, Lawrence had one job to do, and that is finding the back of the net but his shot went above the crossbar.
Gor Mahia was denied what appeared to be a clear goal in the stoppage time as Juma’s strike kissed the crossbar and bounced in but it didn’t count.
Wazito 0-1 Gor Mahia
Early in the game, the two sides were giving out possession as they had not settled well at Kenyatta. Gor Mahia started settling into the game, making good passes and fine runs but could not break Wazito’s defence and this saw the pair settle for a goalless draw in the first half.
The second half was much better for K’ogalo and the defending champions managed to take the lead in the 60th minute through Charles Momanyi. Gor Mahia had a free kick on the left flank and captain Kenneth Muguna stepped up to take it. He delivered a beautiful freekick inside the danger zone of Wazito and the defence could not clear leaving Momanyi to head past Kevin Omondi.
Gor Mahia players were appealing for a penalty after Dennis Ng’ang’a appeared to have handled the ball inside penalty area but the referee waved play on.
Lawrence’s disallowed goal
Juma had the ball outside the box, he took a touch before firing a shot past keeper, it hit the crossbar and bounced inside. The midfielder’s celebration was cut short as his goal was disallowed. A clear goal, but no VAR, in KPL.
The Green Army are now on top of the table with 31 points, one above second-placed Tusker who earlier in the day thrashed Chemelil Sugar 7-0. Gor Mahia’s next fixture will be against Kakamega Homeboyz on Sunday 12th while Wazito will take on AFC Leopards.
As the decade comes to an end, lets take a look back at the players who made the most impact to the team during the decade of 2010 to 2019.
Goalkeeper: Jerim Onyango
Jerim joined Kogalo in 2009 from KRA. He was team captain for three years. A natural team leader who inspired the playing unit through words and by leading through example. He was the best goalkeeper in the country in 2013. The moment of his career came when Gor Mahia played away to US Bitam of Gabon. On that day he saved three penalties to steer Gor Mahia to the next round.
Right Back: Karim Nizigiyimana
He joined Gor Mahia in 2015 and played for three years. During this period he was a solid defender and provided an extra dimension when going forward with his precise crosses. In 2016 he was voted the defender of the year and he led the league in assists
Left Back : Godfrey Walusimbi
A solid left back who was also very useful when going forward. Comfortable at either full back or in midfield. Very well poised and controlled on the ball. He joined Gor Mahia in 2013 and stayed on for four years.
Centre Back: David Owino Calabar
When he joined from Nakuru All Stars in 2012, the then coach Zdravko Logarusic was not too impressed. The Croatian coach preferred towering centre backs like Emuge and Mosoti. But Calabar being adaptable, earned his way into the starting line-up by playing at either full back position. When Bobby Williamson became coach in 2014, Calabar cemented his place at centre back but occassionally played at full back. He earned his nickname because of the man of the match performance against Nigeria in Calabar when Kenya held Nigeria 1-1.
Centre Back: Harun Shakava
He joined Gor Mahia from Kakamega Homeboyz. A towering no-nonsense defender who solidified the centre back position and eventually became team captain in 2017
Defensive Midfielder: Godfrey Baba Kizito
A consumate midfielder who combined a strong defensive presence with superb passing and playmaking skills which he used to rapidly switch from defence to offence. He played for Kogalo in 2014, helping the club win its second successive title.
Right Midfield: Moses Odhiambo Dube
An intelligent player who always made the correct decision on the field and always made the right pass leading to several crucial goals. Before joining Gor Mahia, he had played in Rwanda and Tanzania. His experience and leadership came in handy.
Left Midfield: Francis Kahata
He is the best playmaker the club fielded in this decade. Very good at linking play. Superior vision. And precise accuracy in the delivery of his passes. Led the team in assists in all the seasons he played.
Attacking midfield: Rama Salim
Rama could play in any attacking position. His combination and understanding with Dan Sserunkuma is among the best the club has ever seen.
Striker: Jacque Tuyisenge
He gets the nod over Olunga and Kagere for the simple reason that his impact at the club was larger. He played for far more seasons and left as one of the top 5 scorers in the history of the club. He was instrumental in three league titles.
Striker Dan Sserunkuma
In 2013, the club had not won a league title for 18 seasons. Twice in the previous four years, the club had lost the league on the last day. In 2013 , Sserunkuma went on a scoring tear that helped secure the first league title since 1995. Most memorable was his goal against Sofapaka that secured the league by eliminating Sofapaka from contention. Most notable was that he almost always scored in the Mashemeji derby.
Gor Mahia CEO Lordvick Aduda has assured fans that coach Polack will be returning on December 30. There have been fears after Polack himself stated that he was unsure of his future.
Additional reporting from the Nation
Kenyan Premier League giants Gor Mahia have dispelled rumours that coach Steven Polack, who left the country on Sunday evening for his native England for Christmas holiday, will not return to the club in a week’s time as expected.
The club’s CEO Lordvick Aduda has urged K’Ogalo faithful to be calm, saying the coach would be back on December 30 since he still has a two-year contract with the club.
“Polack will certainly be back and we are not worried about that. Why should it be an issue when the coach leaves to join his family for Christmas? He has contract with us and unless he tell us otherwise, he is still our coach and we expect him back on Monday,” said Aduda.
Before travelling, Polack oversaw K’Ogalo’s 3-0 win over Kisumu All Stars 3-0 in a Kenyan Premier League match on Sunday, a result that put Gor Mahia back at the summit of the standings with three matches in hand.
Speaking to Nation Sport on Sunday before departing, Polack said his assistant Patrick Odhiambo will be in charge of their league match against Posta Rangers at Narok Stadium on December 29.
“I a m going home for holidays and my assistant Patrick Odhiambo will take charge of the team. I will be back on December 30 to continue with my duties but in case of anything, I will personally communicate my decision to the club management,” Polack said, raising fears that he may not be back to continue with his duties as Gor Mahia’s coach.
Yikpe officially joins Yanga
Ivorian striker Gislain Yikpe has completed his move from Gor Mahia to Yanga Sports Club, the club confirmed on Monday.
The club through its website confirmed the signing of the Ivorian who unceremoniously left financially crippled K’Ogalo last week.
“Striker Yipke Gnamien will join the rest of Yanga squad in Mbeya tomorrow (Tuesday) after reaching an agreement with the club. We can confirm that he has passed the medical test,” said the statement from the club.
Despite joining the squad for their pre-match training ahead of their league match against Mbeya City, Yikpe and four other new signings will not feature for their new club.
The Ivorian might however make his debut against Tanzania Prison FC on Thursday.
Gor Mahia had signed Yikpe from SC Gagnoa in July as a replacement for Rwandan hitman Jacques Tuyisenge, who had joined Petro de Atletico of Angola.
For the first time in three seasons, Gor Mahia will not be in the group stage of the CAF Confederations cup. This after they lost 2-1 away to DC Motema Pembe
Additional Reporting from the Nation
Kenyan champions Gor Mahia were Sunday eliminated from Caf Confederation Cup after losing 2-1 to DR Congo giants DC Motema Pembe in the second leg play-off match in Kinshasa.
K’Ogalo failed to advance to the group stage after losing 3-2 on aggregate having settled for a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Kasarani a week ago.
At Stade Tata Raphaël Stadium, Wellington Ochieng handed Gor Mahia the lead in the 10th minute before Vinny Bongonga drew the hosts level in stoppage time of first half. Junior Kone then scored the winner for Motema Pembe in the 64th minute.
Wellington opened the scoring in the 10th minute after beating Motema Pembe’s keeper Mouko Marel with a rasping drive from the edge of the box.
Gor held on for the better part of the first half but were unlucky to concede on the brink of half time when Vinny Bongonga tapped in the equaliser.
Steven Polack made his first change in the 47th minute withdrawing the ineffective Nicholas Kipkurui for Ernest Wendo to help strengthen the midfield and it worked as the visitors poured forward in attack.
Gor almost went ahead in the 53rd minute but Wellington’s connection to Kenneth Muguna’s delivery from a corner went wide. On the other end, Bongonga shot wide in the 59th after Doxa Gikanji picked him out with a cross.
The moment Motema Pembe silently craved arrived in the 64th minute when Kone capitalised on a defensive lapse to score from close range.
Gor missed a glorious chance to level in the 78th minute after Muguna’s deep cross was cleared by Inonga Varane with Lawrence Juma lurking.
Gor Mahia will open their 2019-2020 Kenya Premier League campaign with a match against Tusker on Saturday. The match will be played at Kisumu.
The match was originally slated for Machakos
“We don’t have fans in Machakos and hence the decision to shift the game to Kisumu, where we have many fans and we know they will turn in large numbers to support the team.” said Omondi Aduda to goal.com
Aduda also noted that eticketing will be utilized for all matches
“That is what we have adopted and it is part of our new plans to restructure the day to day running of the club,” Aduda continued.
“We want to maximise on the revenue we get from gate collections and also bring order when it comes to fans purchasing tickets. We will not accept cash at the gates, and anyone intending to attend the match should purchase his or her ticket online.”
With eTicketing, the attendance and gate proceeds should be made public as soon as ticket sales have been completed, which is typically during the match.
Aigle coach: Gor Mahia have weak links
Aigle Noir coach Joslin Bifpubusa thinks that Gor Mahia has certain players who are weak links and that this issue will need to be resolved before Gor Mahia play against USM Alger.
“Gor are a good side with good players, and they played some good football.
However, they will have to make some amends to their team if they are to make it past USM Alger.
“There are some two players in the team I felt they do not deserve to be given a starting berth, yes they might have a certain role to play, but I think they are a weak link in the team.
“Maybe it is because the coach did not have all his players available for the game and had to do with them.” he said to goal.com
The Burundian coach said his team lost due to inexperience.
“We sold about 90% of our players and those with me are completely new, and their lack of experience was exposed. Stagefright got the better of them and it contributed to the two goals which we conceded within the first 20 minutes. I just wish Gor Mahia all the best in their next game, but for us we need to go and continue rebuilding.” he said.
Polack Impressed with Tobias Otieno
One of the surprise signings of this season is Tobias Otieno. The Youthful midfielder previously played for the Gor Mahia U19 team.
“Otieno is a brilliant midfielder. He is still very young and has age on his side and I honestly think he will develop into one of the best defensive midfielders,” Polack told the Nation
Polack also noted that Otieno is a keen learner.
“He is very eager to learn and constantly asks questions on positioning and other technical aspects of the game and this is a clear indication of a player who is serious with his career,” he concluded.