Rachier explains Polacks absence

There have been numerous rumours about coach Steve Polack leaving the club. Numerous coaches have expressed interest including former AFC coach Luc Eymael and former Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne. Chairman Ambrose Rachier has dimssised those rumours as baseless.

Additional reporting from the Nation

The tactician left the country on September 11 for a short holiday but grapevine had it that he was set to exit the club. Rachier has however dismissed the reports and says the coach will be back soon.

“We granted him leave and he is currently in Finland. What complicates matters is the fact that he had to spend two weeks in quarantine but he should be coming back. I haven’t heard anything from him to the effect that he wants to quit the club so those are just baseless rumours,” Rachier told Nation Sport.

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack poses for photos with the trophy after he was named the Fidelity Insurance Coach of the Month for November on January 9, 2020 at Camp Toyoyo grounds in Nairobi.

“He has a return ticket and is eager to continue with his work at the club. As a matter of fact, the programme the team is following at the moment was solely curated by him,” he added.

Polack joined K’Ogalo in 2019 replacing Hassan Oktay who left the club citing personal reasons.

Rachier is also confident the team has done good business in the current transfer window. The reigning Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions have signed 14 players and he believes they will fit in well into the team.

The team resumed training albeit in small groups due to Covid-19 regulations earlier this week and Rachier says all is proceeding well.

“We lost a number of players but I believe the 14 we have brought in are good enough to fill the void left. I cannot authoritatively say we now have a better team than last season – that is an area of expertise for the coach and the technical bench,” said Rachier.

“As management, we will accord the team all the necessary support within our reach to ensure the team does well locally and continentally,” he added.

Some of the new signings include Burundian International Jules Ulimwengu, Malawian wonderkid Andrew Malisero, Ugandan forward Tito Okello, Cameroonian Bertrand Konfor, Andrew Juma, former Nairobi City Stars goalkeeper Levis Opiyo, John Macharia, John Ochieng from Chemelil Sugar, Kennedy Owino, Benson Omala and Kelvin Wesonga who joined from Western Stima amongst other fresh faces.

The team lost some key players notably Kenyan International Joash Onyango who moved to Simba, goalkeeper David Mapigano to Azam, Boniface Omondi and Peter Odhiambo to Wazito and Dickson Ambundo who returned to his native Tanzania.


Okello: I will play for the jersey not myself

New signing Tito Okello who is one of the players the team will be counting on heavily this season, promises to steer the club to greater heights in the new season

Additional reporting from goal.com
The Ugandan born star is among the new players at K’Ogalo and has promised to ensure he fights for the 2020/21 Champions League participants

Tito Okello has promised to fight for the Gor Mahia badge when the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) 2020/21 season begins.

Okello is among the new players the Kenyan giants acquired in the ongoing transfer window as they build a team to participate in the KPL and in the Caf Champions League.

In an interview with the club’s media, Okello, who was recently called up by South Sudan ahead of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Uganda, has promised to help K’Ogalo have good results.
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“I am not a media-loving guy and I do my work knowing there is a lot of expectations and, of course, that is something to expect especially when in a team like Gor Mahia,” Okello said.

“I do not work for my name I work for the badge that is what I want the fans to know. I will fight for the club first then my name will come later. Let them expect the best from me.

“From my side, it is a pleasure joining a team like Gor Mahia because it has been one of my dream clubs. I have been dreaming to play for big teams and it has come true now.

“I always work hard to achieve my dream and when I was young I used to watch KCCA FC and I was like ‘oh my dream is to play for KCCA’ and indeed I achieved.

“I dreamt of playing for Vipers and I was there. Gor Mahia were one of the teams so it is a pleasure being here because I see it is like God is paving the way for me.

“With hard work, I think everything will be okay.”

The former Kassasiro Boy also spoke about how he is dealing with the Nairobi weather.

Okello was among the first batch of Gor Mahia players to train for the first time in cold Nairobi weather on Tuesday but he is optimistic of getting used to the climate.

“The environment is not very much different from that of Uganda,” he concluded.

“The weather is a little bit different though because it is cold and I have spent a lot of time indoors but yes I am getting accustomed to it slowly.

“With time, I will get used to it especially because I have already loved the place, the Nairobi City and so, hopefully, I think I will catch up so fast.


Sec Gen Ocholla warns sellers of counterfeit merchandize

Gor Mahia Secretary General Sam Ocholla is threatening legal action against any person who sells the club’s merchandize without permission.
Additional reporting from the Nation
Ochola has confirmed genuine club merchandise will arrive in the country before the new season kicks off.

Even though the resumption of football is still in doubt, Ochola has warned fans against buying fake Gor Mahia merchandise that have since flooded the market.

Just like their rivals AFC Leopards who have opened a new merchandise shop in the City Centre, Ochola revealed that the original jerseys will be sold at the club’s offices located at Finance House building in Nairobi.

“Anybody be it a Gor Mahia fan or business man purporting to be selling Betsafe jerseys will face the full wrath of the law. As Gor Mahia secretariat we have not issued any permit for our Betsafe merchandise to be sold. When they are arrive, we shall engage our marketing team so that fans can get original ones and not counterfeits or fake ones,” Ochola told Nation Sport.

The official added that in the past, the club has lost a lot of revenue because of individuals who sell branded club merchandise without the secretariat’s consent. He insisted that he will personally be monitoring sale of merchandise to ensure the club gets good returns.

“We must weed out these elements who use our logo and the club doesn’t get anything. For Betsafe merchandise, we are ready to involve security agencies to help us get value for our sponsorship and money for the club. We urge fans to be patient because we have made arrangements for the merchandise to be here before the league kicks off,” he added.

Ochola also revealed that the club’s operations will be centralised at Finance House as part of concerted efforts to professionalise the club. The media mogul promised to revamp Gor Mahia after the August 8 elections saying his main focus will be to ensure players welfare is catered for so that they can do well in the Caf Champions League this season.

“We have all seen what is going on in other big clubs outside the country. Gor Mahia is a big club in Africa and we should ensure we live up to that status. I am ready to fight for the best interests of players and ensure the go slows and other problems are things of the past. Gor will be in another level during my tenure and our target is to go past group stages in Champions League,” he added.


Gor Mahia have signed Jules Ulimwengu

Gor Mahia have completed the signing of Burundian marksman Jules Ulimwengu. This according to a announcement in the club’s social media pages.

In 2018, Ulimwengu was the top scorer in the Rwandese League while playing for Rayon Sport. In 2019, he joined Chinese second tier side Shaanxi Chang’an. Gor Mahia had tried to sign Ulimwengu in 2019 but Rayon Sport demanded a transfer fee of US$ 150,000. This after Ulimwengu played a starring role in the 2019 CECAFA club cup. He scored the lone goal when Rayon Sport upset giants TP Mazembe of DR Congo. He then scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Atlabara of South Sudan to propel Rayon into the quarter-finals.

He was born on 21 April 1999 which makes his listed age as 21. He started his career with Vital O of Burundi in 2016. He then joined LLB Academic, also of Burundi in 2018 before joining Rayon Sport in 2019. He becomes the second Burundian to sign for Kogallo in recent history following in the steps of Karim Nizigiyimana who was KPL defender of the year in 2015.

Last season, Gor Mahia lacked a consistent scorer. Kenneth Muguna was the teams leading scorer in the league with 6 goals. Still the club was able to score 47 goals in 23 matches. With the arrival of Ulimwengu, Kipkirui and Tito Okello, Gor Mahia potentially have a dynamite attack.


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