2019-2020: The Year Gor Mahia overcame adversity

The 2019-2020 season will be remembered as one of the most tumultuous seasons not only in the history of Gor Mahia but also in the history of Kenya Football. The local football scene had to deal with the loss of its primary sponsor Sportpesa, which had been sponsoring both the local league and the two top clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. Then the league was interrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic that engulfed the entire globe. Through all this, coach Steve Polack had to keep the team motivated even as players went several months without salaries, key players quit the team for greener pastures while several players went on strike amid constant rumours of key players leaving.

End of 2019 season: Departure of key players and coach

2019 was a good season for Kogallo. Aside from winning the local league, the team reached new heights when they surpassed the group stage of the CAF Confederations cup, by reaching the quarter-finals. However things started to come off the rails from there. Key Gor Mahia players were busy looking for better deals. Jacque Tuyisenge who had been a reliable scorer for the team for several seasons and who in 2019 became the 5th highest scorer in the history of the team, departed for Angola. Playmaker Francis Kahata, who fell out with Chairman Rachier after the debacle where he was photographed sleeping in an airport, left for Simba Sports club. Harun Shakava who had also been rumoured to be leaving, finally left for Zambia.

Beginning of 2019-2020 season: Sponsor Departs

Chairman Rachier with Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri

Betting company Sportpesa had been sponsoring several sports teams and Federations all over the country. In April of 2019, the government instituted tough new regulations for the betting sector and Sportpesa was their primary target. As a result, Sportpesa threatened to withdraw all their sponsorships. They finally did in August of 2019. Gor Mahia were hard hit as they had been receiving money from Sportpesa both as title sponsor and as league sponsor.

Gor Mahia were now in dire financial straits with no sponsor, no money coming from a broadcast deal and no money from a league sponsor. To make matters worse, attendance at Gor Mahia matches had plummeted significantly due to the unavailability of City stadium which was closed for repairs in 2016 and Nyayo stadium which was also closed for upgrades. Attendance also fell because fans no longer trusted the stewards and officials whom they suspected of pocketing gate collections. Even with a sponsor, Gor Mahia often struggled to pay players and the technical bench in a timely manner. Without a sponsor, matters were bound to take  bad turn and they did.

Gor Mahia unveils new coach and new players

After the departure of Hassan Oktay, Gor Mahia unveiled a new coach with Finnish and English connections. In came Steven Polack who had previously coached Asante Kotoko of Ghana.

Gor Mahia also unveiled 17 new signings for the 2019-2020 season: Caleb Omondi, Alphonce Ombija, Lloyd Khavuchi, Godfrey Ombijo, Richdonald Bolo, Samuel Osok, (promoted from the club’s youth team), Abdalla Shira and Tobias Otieno (from Sony Sugar), Elvis Ronack (Nzoia Sugar), Maurice Ojwang (Western Stima), Robert Mapigano (Singida United, Tanzania), Dickson Ambundo (Alliance, Tanzania), Curtis Wekesa, Dennis Oalo (Nairobi Stima), Francis Afiriye (Ivory Coast), Gieslin Gikpe (Ghana)

New signings

Insufficient Number of Players

In the opening round of the CAF Champions League, Gor Mahia were pitted against  Aigle Noir  of Burundi. Gor Mahia’s problems started to mount when they were only able to travel with 15 players for the opening leg played in Bujumbura. Gor Mahia had earlier registered 25 players for their CAF assignments but later made several changes that led to late registrations. They thus had to make do without some players notably new signings Gislain Yikpe, Clifford Miheso and Francis Afryie.

Polack Starts with a bang

Polack’s first assignment came in the away match against AS Aigle. He had only put pen to paper a few days before taking charge for this game.

Despite playing under difficult circumstances, Gor Mahia were able to hold the Burundians scoreless in Bujumbura.

“I think it went well because we were never in danger of losing,” explained Polack in his post-match comments.

“We were short of bodies but we found a way to go around that. It’s just half-time in this tie and now that we have a feel of what the opposition is capable of, we will prepare for them at home.”

It was during the return leg at Kasarani that Polack started to show his true worth. Having studied the Burundians, Polack devised a game plan that sliced open the Burundian defence and Gor Mahia hammered the visitors 5-1. The goals came from Kenneth Muguna, Kipkirui(2), Ambundo and Boniface Omondi.

Shortly thereafter, Polack showed once again that he was a master tactician when he led Kogalo to a 5-2 victory over Tusker.  The goals cme from Nicholas Kipkirui in the first half, before Kenneth Muguna, Boniface Omondi, Charles Momanyi added four more in the second half.

Continental Debacle

Having defeated Aigle Noir, Gor Mahia were now pitted against USM Alger, a team that Kogalo had played only two seasons earlier and had recorded decent performances against. Gor Mahia’s travel plans were thrown into dissaray when the Ministry of Sport initially declined to fund Gor Mahia’s travel.

“The Ministry has no money and Gor Mahia management should have written to us through the federation to get money from the sports fund instead of the ministry itself. The ministry has no money and their request has fallen through as at now,” said Mr Kirimi Kaberia, the Permanent Secretary.

“We have tried looking for ways to help them but it has not been successful. We shall have a meeting on Tuesday to find a way out but as you know, the ministry does not budget for funds to cater for such travels,” added Mr Kaberia.

Unlike two years earlier, Gor Mahia were no match for the Algerians this time around. They lost the opening leg 4-1 before going down 2-0 at home.

It did not help that Gor Mahia were still playing without their new signings who had been registered late.

With Gor Mahia having been eliminated from the CAF Champions League, they were relegated to the CAF Confederations cup where they were pitted against Congolese side DC Motema Pembe.

Player Revolt

With Gor Mahia’s financial problems mounting, a player revolt started. First it was captain Kenneth Muguna and Vice captain Joash Onyango who stopped attending training. Coach Polack was incredulous.

“It’s not my job to know whereabouts of players but the team manager (Jolawi Abondo) has briefed me that Onyango and Muguna are no longer picking his calls and communicating with him. I don’t know if they have valid reasons for that but I take it as an act of indiscipline,” Gor coach Steven Polack told Nation Sport on Saturday.

Despite financial issues, Gor Mahia were recording good results in the local league thanks largely to coach Steve Polack’s ability to keep players motivated.

Gor Mahia vs DC Motema Pembe

Gor Mahia Now had the services of some new signings such as Ivorian Yikpe Ghislain.  Missing was Philemon Otieno who had picked up an injurry while playing for Harambee Stars. It was an injury that required surgery. Yet FKF refused to pay for Otieno’s surgery. Gor Mahia for their part could not finance the surgery, resulting in a tussle between Gor Mahia and FKF. In the end, Otieno got the surgery he needed thanskl to financial assistance from Harambee Stars team-mates like Johana Omollo, Victor Wanyama and Michael Olunga.

Shafiq Butambuze, the Ugandan left fullback suffered a similar fate. After getting an injury, he did not get the surgery he needed and had to seek assistance which he got 7 months later.

Gor Mahia put on a fight. Ghislain, who started on the bench, scored with his first touch when he came on as a substitute. But the lead was short lived as the Congolese side equalized minutes later following a defensive blunder. Late in the game, defender Charles Momanyi handled in the box and was shown red by match referee Lofti Bekoussa who also awarded a penalty. But then in a twist of events Mapigano made a heroic save to deny Vinny Bongonga from the spot.

Mapigano saves a penalty

The return leg was played at the 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.

Polack blamed the lack of top class players.

“I’m not castigating the current players but Gor Mahia needs to sign top class players who can do well in continental matches. I have only stayed here for a few months and can’t name the players the club is supposed to buy but in future I will know who to sign,” he added.

Return to the League

Gor Mahia returned to the local league. By this time (November 2019), Kogalo still held an unbeaten record in the local league. This was impressive considering that the players had not been paid salaries since August. But the financial issues finally took their toll as Gor Mahia lost their unbeaten run to Mathare United.

Polack blamed the fact that players had boycotted training due to non-payment of salaries.

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

Mashemeji Derby

With Gor Mahia players completely unmotivated due to non-payment of salaries, arch rivals AFC Leopards saw an opportunity to beat Gor Mahia, something they had not done in over two years. The match between the two arch-rivals started on a slow note for Gor Mahia. The players looked unmotivated in the first half as AFC dominated proceedings. Apparently the players were staging a go slow to protest unpaid salaries.

At halftime coach Polack read the riot act to the players and lit a fire under their chairs. Gor Mahia came back a completely changed team in the second half and took control of proceedings.

Yikpe Ghislain celebrates after scoring

Towering Ivorian Yikpe Ghislain put Kogalo ahead at the 55th minute, towering above the Leopards defense to power in a header from a Kenneth Muguna corner.

The Ivory Coast striker was to score his and Gor Mahia’s second ten minutes later after a sumptuous move from the home side. Yikpe was to start a move that ended with Clifton Miheso with the winger beating off a series of players before cutting it back for the striker who tapped the effort past Benjamin Ochan.

. A quick counter saw Omondi spring the ball to Miheso with the former Leopards man sending a long ranger shot that beat keeper Ochan at the near post; the player refusing to celebrate his effort as a show of respect to his former employers.

Leopards were to pull a goal back seven minutes from time through Tresor Ndikumana Lawrence Juma scored a fourth following some good work from Boniface Omondi down the right.

Remaining League Campaign

Having started the league campaign on a high note, Gor Mahia was ending on a low note thanks in large part to financial issues. The next game after the Mashemeji derby was a scoreless draw with Ulinzi. Coach Polack stated that players lacked motivation due to non-payment of salaries.

“To win matches we have to sort all this issues so that players can concentrate. The league is very competitive and we have to get focused so as to win our matches,” Polack told Nation Sport

Polack himself contemplated quitting.

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

During the month of Decemeber, Gor Mahia went through a period of two weeks where players did not train. Again this was due to non-payment of salaries.

“We are not in a good position, we have not trained for two weeks, everybody knows we have not been training, we only trained two weeks ago,”

Soon thereafter, Ivorian Yikpe Ghislain, left the club to join Young Africans of Tanzania and Ghanaian Francis Afiriyie left to join Township Rollers of Botswana.

When the league resumed, the slump continued as Gor Mahia barely escaped defeat against Posta Rangers. A late goal from Muguna salvaged a 1-1 draw.

In January, Gor Mahia managed a 1-0 win over moneybags Wazito. Polack was happy that the team had won despite not training.

“In the half-time break, I had to give the players both good and bad words and I am happy they woke up in the second half. It has been a long week, to be honest, we trained just twice so I am happy with the way we played in the 90 plus minutes and won the game.” said Polack.

A week later however, Gor Mahia succumbed to a 2-1 defeat away to Kakamega Homeboyz who were now proving to be Gor Mahia’s most capable challengers.

K’Ogalo looked exhausted during the match having travelled to Kakamega the same day and Homeboyz outclassed them in the entire match.

Gor Mahia would recover in late January, beating Bandari 3-0 at Afraha. The match featured a rare goal by goalkeeper David Mapigano who caught his opposite number by surprise.

Gor Mahia continued to record good results in the remaining league matches. This was however interspersed by some surprise losses such as a 3-1 loss to Sofapaka.

A key win that put Gor Mahia in good position to retain the title was the 1-0 win over arch rivals AFC Leopards in the second leg of the mashemeji derby. Boniface Omondi scored the all important goal. Gor Mahia was recording wins despite players constantly going on strike to pay non-payment of salaries. By February, Gor Mahia players had now gone 6 months with no salary.

Gor Mahia went on strike in the second week of March right before they were to play Posta Rangers in the FKF cup.

A player who sought anonymity said they have had enough of empty promises from the management.

“Our houses have been locked and have find it rough to go for training with empty stomachs. We understand the club doesn’t have a sponsor but we also have families to feed. It is really tough,” said the player.

Government suspends sports activities.

The match against Posta Rangers was scheduled for March 14. A day earlier, the government of Kenya suspended all football activities due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Posta Rangers showed up at the venue but Gor Mahia were nowhere to be seen.

“It was all over in the media that the government had stopped all sports activities for a period of time and it is the reason we did not travel to Nakuru for our match against Rangers,” Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda.

Financial Problems continued.

With football activities suspended, Gor Mahia’s financial problems were set to escalate since gate collections which is the club’s only source of revenue was now shut down.

During the month of March, the players were given only Ksh 3000 each.

“When my phone vibrated on Friday I checked and saw an Mpesa SMS only to be shocked that it was only Sh3,000. To make matters worse, I had a Fuliza loan and the whole amount was swallowed,” said a player.

“I don’t think the money was a salary as such, but was meant to help them buy vegetables and maize flour. There is no money, but we are trying our best to find something for their upkeep,” said club official Ronald Ngala.

Gor Mahia declared league champions

With the league suspended, KPL CEO Jack Oguda was adamant that the league would resume. However FKF Chairman Nick Mwendwa had other ideas. He declared Gor Mahia as league champions on April 30th, citing FIFA rules. Gor Mahia were leading the league by seven points by the time the league was terminated.

“Congratulations Gor Mahia! You are champions once again and you will represent Kenya on the champions league Next season. Lets do this !” Mwendwa tweeted.

Oguda protested and took the decision to the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT). It would take the SDT five months to make their decision. Finally in September of 2020, SDT declared Gor Mahia teh champion, siding with the FKF.

 

 

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Remembering Charles Otieno “Engine”

Charles Otieno’s early Days

Charles Otieno Joins Kogalo for the 1st time

Charles Otieno in action against Esperance in 1987

Charles Otieno suddenly departs to Breweries

The midfield combination of Charles Otieno and George Onyango Fundi would have to wait a few years

Charles Otieno returns to Gor Mahia

Charles Otieno (second from right) seen here with the national team at the 1987 All Africa games

Charles Otieno’s Final departure from Gor Mahia

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Gor Mahia team of the decade: 2000-2009

1. George Odhiambo “Taffarel: A solid goalkeeper who would often step forward to take penalties.
2. Francis Akango “Jakambare”: A solid no nonsense fullback
3. Chris Wekesa: A burly fullback whose solid play in 2008 and 2009 saw him called to the national team
4. Eric Masika “PPO”: The youthful Masika was a crowd favourite in 2009
5. Julius Owino “Awilo”: A natural leader who captained club and country
6. Andrew Oyombe: Effectively shielded the defence and featured prominently for the national team and also played in Europe
7. Kenneth Omondi: Was voted Transparency cup MVP in 2005
8. Zablon Otieno “Pro”: Skillful left footed midfielder who was a brilliant playmaker.
9. Emmanuel Wakata: A free scoring attacker who later played in Rwanda
10 George Odhiambo “Blackberry”: His best years were between 2008 and 2010 when he was league MVP
11. Habil Otieno: An effective goal poacher who scored often from half chances.

Substitutes

Jacktone Odhiambo
Charles Odipo
Patrick Oyiengo “Adesh”,

Honorable Mention

Jimmy Bagaye, Robert Oluoko, Charles Odipo, Dan Onyango, Tony Onyango, Andrew Ongwae, Tom Odundo, Charles Ojwang, Nathan Munai, Steve Biko, Sylvanus Onyango, Bramwel Karamoja, Ibrahim Kitawi, Duncan Owiti “Macheda”, Stephen Ochola, Elisha Ochieno “Achach”, John Kiplagat

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Gor Mahia team of the decade: 1990-1999

Victor Onyango: A brilliant goalkeeper yet full of drama
Zedekiah Otieno: Overlapping right back who starred for both club and country and was coach of both club and country
Tiellen Oguta: An uncompromising full back who went on to play in Europe
Josiah Ougo: A composed yet solid central defender
Sammy Omollo “Pamzo”: One of the best defensive stoppers this country has seen
Tom Juma: A tireless box to box midfielder
Allan Odhiambo: A towering defensive midfielder who often scored as many goals as the strikers. In the 1991 league campaign, he was the club’s leading scorer.
Dan Ogada: An engine that was able to drive the team forward, create chances, deliver brilliangt through balls and with supreme ball control
John Odhiambo “Baresi”: A highly capable dribbler, remembered for outplaying the Super Eagles in that epic encounter in 1997
Steve Okumu: A reliable goalscorer who used his quick first step to evade defenders.
Steve Odiaga: A powerful and towering attacker

Substitutes

Joseph Asembo: A towering goalkeeper, very good with high balls
Paul Ochieng: Burly defender who intimidated strikers with his size
Bonaventure Maruti: A speedy attacker who scored freely. Went on to play for many years in Europe.
Charles Oduor: A reliable fullback
Mike Otieno: An explosive left winger with incredible acceleration. He later became the team’s coach.

Honourable Mention

Stephen Kinuthia “Kenos”, Charles Oduor “Fundi”, Albert Njeru, William Odidi, Joseph Akinga, Frazier Ochieng, Tom Ochieng “Malindi”, Tom Okaya, Brian Okumu, Bramwell Mwololo, George Owalla, George Sunguti, Joseph Owino Andai “Conte”, George Sunguti, Dan Shikanda, Tom Odhiambo, Charles Omondi “Korea”, Felix Otieno, Jared Ochieng Achieng, Hezron Omondi “Othuks”, Joseph Akinga, Zelleallem Teshome, Pius Wamaya, Michael Kisaghi, Eric Obura, Aggrey Obonyo, David Odhiambo “Deo”

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Gor Mahia team of the decade : 1980-1989

1. David Ochieng: Solid no drama keeper who starred for both club and country.
2. Tobias Ocholla: Reliable and created several goals with his long throw ins
3. Peter Otieno “Bassanga”: Industrious left back
4. Bobby Ogolla: The best defensive stopper this country has ever seen
5. Austin Oduor: The most succesful team captain in Kenya’s history
6. Charles Otieno: The Engine of the team
7. Abbas Magongo: Tireless, skillful and covered every inch of the field
8. Sammy Owino: Immensely talented midfielder who scored brilliant inidvidual goals
9. George Onyango: Schemer par supreme
10. Peter Dawo: Known for his goal-scoring spree in 1987. Was voted Among Africa’s 10 best players in 1987
11. Nahashon Oluoch: Brilliant dribbler who also scored superb individual goals. Also voted among Africa’s 10 best

Substitutes

Tirus Omondi: An acrobatic goalkeeper and full of drama
Swaleh Ochieng: Powerfully built left back who shut down opposing players with robust tackles
John Okello Zangi: Enigmatic, tireless, and very dexterious on the ball
Sammy Onyango: Superb crosser, corner taker and penalty taker. Two footed
Hezborn Omollo: Scored over 50 league goals between 1983 and 1985

Honorable Mention

George Odembo “Nyangi”, George Otieno “Vigo”, George Otieno “Solo”, Isaiah Omondi “Janabi”, Ben Oloo “Breakdance”, Gideon Hamisi “Aziki”, Enock Obwaka, Hamisi Shamba, Abdallah Shebe, William Obwaka, Goro Oronge, Jaffar Mwidau, Ignatius Khaduli, Hezron Osuka, John Chore, Anthony Ndolo, Mike Adede, Abbey Nassur, Peter Ochieng “Pierre”,

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Gor Mahia team of the Decade 1968-1979

1. Dan Odhiambo: Had the sharpest reflexes of any Kenyan goalkeeper
2. Paul Oduwo “Cobra”: Tirelessly ran up and down the right flank. Kept defenders at bay with robust tackles
3.  Festus Nyakota: A solid no-nonsense fullback
4. James Ogolla “Kadir”: Versatile defender who played in central defence and on the flanks
5. Mike Ogolla “Machine”: Nicknamed Machined because he dealt easily with opposing attacks
6. Jerry Imbo: Very talented midfielder who made everything look easy
7. George “Best” Yoga: Still one of the top 5 scorers in the history of the club
8. Steve “McQueen” Yongo: Played superbly in defense midfield and attack. Starred at the 1972 AFCON
9. William Ouma “Chege”: The best striker Kenya produced before Dennis Oliech
10. Allan Thigo: The high priest of Gor Mahia football. The best ever playmaker Kenya has produced
11. Peter Ouma “Pele” : Efficient scorer who also scored for Kenya at the 1972 AFCON

Subs

James Sianga: Take no prisoners goalkeeper who later became a succesful coach
Nicodemus Arudhi: Efficient Inside right who scored often and later became infamous
Tim Ayieko: Ugandan with kenyan roots who starred for the Uganda Cranes
Maurice Ochieng: Led the league in scoring in 1976
Andrew Obunga: Explosive centre forward

Honorable Mention

Ben Oballa, Masanta Osoro, Chris Obure, Jaoko Orifwa, Jackson Aluko, Samson Odore, Duncan Migan, Fred Siranga, George Ayuka, Charles Ondiek “Racham”, Sospeter Otin, Walter Molo, Maurice Ole Tunda, Francis Midany “Power”, Josphat Okello “Smart”, Amos Nandy, Sammy Ndonga, Simon Nyatome, Festus Nyakota, Tom Oyake, Owen Nandi, Paul Odhiambo, Laban Otieno

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Gor Mahia team of the decade 2010 to 2019

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.

 

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1983: The last time Gor Mahia played a Burundian side

With the CAF Champions League match against Aigle Noire approaching, it is worth taking a trip down memory lane to recall the last time Kogalo played a Burundian side. But 1983 was such an eventful year that it is worth remembering the peaks and valleys that beset Gor Mahia in that epic year.

Background

New signings

Key signings: Far left David Ochieng and Abdallah Shebe (with ball) teamed up with Gideon Hamisi (centre)

1983 CECAFA Cup

A poor start to the 1983 season

The Vital O Fiasco

Investigation

Chairman Mbori was under pressure

The arrival of Len Julians

 

At Bata Stadium Limuru before beating Bata Bullets 4-0
Backrow: Shebe,Zangi, Makamu, Bassanga,Aziki, Charles Otieno,Vigo,Jogoo,Jerry Imbo
Front Row: Okello Kolobot, Enock, Solo, Janabi, Nick Okoth, Hezborn, Pierre, Kamoga
Enock Obwaka, Peter Ochieng Pierre and Gideon Hamisi

Mashemeji derby First leg

1983 KNFL Second Leg

Gor Mahia vs Norwich City

 

Zangi (left) seen here in later years, scored twice against Norwich City

Mashemeji derby second leg

Sammy Onyango scored in almost every mashemeji derby he played

End of the 1983 season.

Hezborn Omollo was the second leading scorer in the 1983 KNFL

 

Final Standings in 1983



1983 Post Season

Only Bob Ogolla and Bassanga were in the Stars starting line-up. Austin was left out altogether

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Tuyisenge leaves as one of the best heading specialists ever to play for Kogalo

Jacque Tuyisenege is leaving Kogalo after an illustrious career at the club. Since joining the club in 2016he has proven to be a reliable scorer. He joined the club at a time when fans were concerned about the club’a attack given the departure of Michael Olunga and Meddie Kagere.

After an injury riddled start that left many fans wondering why he was signed without a medical test, Tuyisenge finally hit his stride and went ona goal scoring spree that ended with him being the 4th leading scorer in the 2017 KPL.

One area where Tuyisenge excelled was in the aerial division where his ability to accurately direct powerful headers resulted in numerous crucial goals. As Tuyisenege leaves, let us recall some of the best heading specialists this club has seen.

Peter Dawo

When it comes to scoring with headers Peter Dawo is second to none. Not just in Kenya but one can safeky make the claim that no African striker has ever scored so prolifically from headers.

His name is synonymous with Gor Mahia’s only continental trophy in 1987. This is because he scored 10 goals to emerge as the top scorer in the tournament. 9 of the goals were from headers. The most memorable came in the semi finals when with Gor Mahia staring at elimination with only a few minutes left, he scored with a powerful back header. Just as crucial was the header he scored against Esperance when he headed home a precise corner kick from Abbas Magongo after lulling the Esperance defence to sleep by pretending to tie his shoelaces.

Dawo scores against Esperance

Dawo also scored numerous crucial league goals such as the 1987 Mashemeji derby. In a tense match at a packed Nyayo stadium,the game appeared headed for a scoreless draw when Dawo rose to head home a cross from Ben Oloo “Breakdance” and in the process sent fans into a near delirium.

Dawo was the kind of striker who created utter chaos and bedlam against any defence because of his hyper-activity in the goal area and his amazing leaping ability.

Allan Odhiambo

Allan Odhiambo (centre)

The towering Allan Odhiambo was a product of Eastleigh secondary school at a time when they were the best school team in Nairobi, winning the city title in 1988 and 1989. Odhiambo first came to prominence in 1990 as a central defender of the Kenya U21 team coached by Gerry Saurer, a coach who excellent at identifying and unearthing talents. That was the best U21 team ever in Kenya’s history as nearly half of them played for the Kenya national team in later years.

Odhiambo, barely in his twenties in 1991, ended up as the leading scorer for Gor Mahia in 1991 with 12 goals. It was quite an achievement considering that he mostly played in central defence or as a defensive midfielder, a position that coach Len Julians deployed him to take advantage of his scoring . He scored in both legs of the mashemeji derby in 1991.

George Otieno “Vigo”

Vigo (right) in action against Aggrey Litali of Motcom in 1983

A powerfully built defensive stopper, Vigo was sometimes preferred in that position by coach Len Julians because unlike other defenders of that era, Vigo was good on the ball and was able to initiate moves from the defensive area.

And when Kogalo was awarded a corner kick, you could count on Sammy Onyango sending an accurate delivery exactly where Vigo anticipated the ball and Vigo would not dissapoint. He scored numerous goals from heading home corner kicks in the 1982, 83 and 84 seasons. Thsi despite playing sparingly.

Jacque Tuyisenge

His most memorable goal remains the goal he scored against English premier league side Everton in Dar es Salaam. On that occassion, Muguna took the corner to the near post and Tuyisenge, anticipating where the ball was going, left the Everton defenders flat footed and powered the ball home from a very difficult angle.

The goal was epic because it was against a premier league side and it was less than a minute after legendary Wayne Rooney had opened the scoring.

Tuyisenge would go on to score numerous other goals from the air. But also on the ground. A feat that enabled him to become the fourth leading scorer in the history of the league. Only Sammy Onyango, Hezborn Omollo, Allan Thigo and Peter Dawo have scored more goals for Kogalo.

Tuyisenge was also a humble person, a class act, a committed professional. Despite his stature, he was not one of those who was always agitating to move overseas for a better deal.

On behalf of GORMAHIA.NET and Gor Mahia online supporters club, Thank you Tuyisenge for three exceptional seasons at Gor Mahia. You will be remembered.

 

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2018: A solid year for Gor Mahia

The 2018 season will be remembered as the year when Gor Mahia wrapped up the league title with more than 10 matches to go. The club played well in continental and regional events only to stagger at crucial stages.

Trophy presentation for the 2018 Kenya Premier League

Nevertheless, Kogalo can walk away proud. Aside from winning the league by 13 points, they also won the Sportpesa Super cup, beating Simba of Dar es Salaam 2-0 in the final. And also won the domestic super cup, beating AFC Leopards.

New Signings and Transfers

Gor Mahia signed Charles Momanyi, Ivorian Ephraim Guikan, Wesley Onguso, Samuel Onyango, and Lawrence Juma

Also joining was Humphrey Mieno whom Kogalo had tried to sign in the previous year from Tusker as well as Kevin Omondi who had starred for Kogalo previously.

Meanwhile Gor Mahia lost veteran defender Musa Mohamed as well as creative Midfielder Kenneth Muguna, both of whom joined former club coach Ze Maria in Albania

Super Cup

Gor Mahia were eligible to play in the Super cup, having won the league in 2017. They faced off against arch-rivals AFC Leopards who had won the FKF cup in 2017.

The match was played at Afraha stadium with no stadium being available in Nairobi. Gor Mahia won 1-0 with Harun Shakava scoring the all important goal in the 40th minute.

“I am happy with the result. Shakava made the difference and I am proud of the team. They did us proud,” said Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr.

Gor Mahia celebrate winning the Super Cup

Champions League preliminary round

Gor Mahia were pitted against Leones Vegeterianos of Equatorial Guinea in the prelimianry round. The first leg was played in Machakos since no international calibre stadium in Nairobi was available. All three were under construction.

Gor Mahia went on to win the first leg 2-0. Kevin Omondi scored the first goal. Ephrem Guikan scored the second with his very first touch of the ball after coming on as a substitute. Humphrey Mieno missed a penalty that could have made it 3-0.

In the return leg, the Equatoguineans took the lead in the 55th minute and pressed for another goal to force penalties. Gor Mahia fought back and scored when a Leones defender deflected a Francis Kahata corner into his own net. Gor Mahia scored again in injury time but the goal was disallowed. The game ended 1-1 and Gor Mahia qualified for the next round.

Champions League First Round

In the first round, Gor Mahia were pitted against Esperance, a team that four years earlier had outclassed them and eliminated them by a aggregate score of 8-2.

In the first leg at Machakos stadium, Gor Mahia acquitted themselves well, dominating possession especially in the first half. The second half was more balanced. The game ended 0-0.

In the second leg in Tunis, Gor Mahia acquited themselves really well, defending solidly and recording several shots on goal. It took a defensive blunder to gift Esperance a 1-0 win.

Esperance fans, unhappy with Gor Mahia’s solid performance, threw foreign objects at Gor Mahia players after the match.

Gor Mahia gave a good account of themselves

Esperance went on to win the 2018 champions league. Therefore narrowly losing to the eventual champions showed Gor Mahia’s mettle.

CAF Confederations cup playoff

Having been eliminated from the Champions League, Gor Mahia faced off against Supersport of South Africa for a chance to go to the group stage of the CAF Confederations cup.

The first leg was played at Machakos. Gor Mahia won 1-0 thanks to a penalty slotted home by Jacque Tuyisenge. The penalty occured after a Meddie Kagere header was handled by a Supersport defender.

Kahata in action against Supersport in Pretoria


The second leg almost proved to be a quagmire. Only days before the match was to be played, Gor Mahia announced that they did not have the wherewithal to secure airline tickets. Worse still they had not secured travel visas It took the financial intervention of Nairobi mayor Mbuvi “Sonko” to secure tickets and the intervention of Foreign affairs cabinet secretary Ababu Namwamba to secure visas. However two key players Jacque Tuyisenge and Ephrem Guikan did not get their visas and were unable to travel to South Africa.

The return leg in Pretoria was played to an almost empty stadium. The South African side went ahead in the 58th minute from a Haron Shakava own goal. Francis Kahata equalized less than a minute later, converting a cross from George Odhiambo. Supersport would score again in the 68th minute. Gor Mahia had to hang on grimly for the last 22 minutes plus added time. The 1-2 loss enabled Gor Mahia to qualify for the group stage on away goals rule.

International Friendly: Gor Mahia vs Hull City

Gor Mahia had earned the right to play Hull City after winning the Hull City challenege cup against AFC Leopards at Afraha. That match ended 0-0 and Gor Mahia won 5-4 on penalties

The match against Hull City was played to a capacity crowd, the likes of which had not been seen in Kenya for decades.

Gor Mahia played well but could not score. The game ended 0-0 and went straight to penalties. It looked like Gor Mahia were going to win the penalty shootout when goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch saved two penalties.

CAF Confederations cup group stage

Gor Mahia started their group stage campaign on a positive note. They forced a 1-1 draw away to Rayon Sports. Meddie Kagere scored the opener before the Rwandese side equalized from a free-kick. A large crowd of Gor Mahia fans traveled all the way to Rwanda. Gor Mahia were the better side but were unable to make their dominance pay. Nevertheless the away draw boded well for Gor Mahia’s chanced of advancing to the next stage.

Gor Mahia fans in Kigali

In the second match, Gor Mahia held USM Alger of Algeria 0-0 at the newly refurbished Kasarani sports centre. Gor Mahia had to play most of the second half with 10 men after Joash Onyango was sent off in the 55th minute.

In the third Match, Gor mahia recorded their first win, beating Yanga of Tanzania 4-0. Ephrem Guikan scored twice. The other goals came from Tuyisenge and an own goal.

When Gor Mahia beat Yanga 3-2 in the 4th match in Dar es Salaam, it seemed Gor Mahia were on their way to the quarter-finals. The goals came from Tuyisenge, Blackberry and Shakava.

Yet again Gor Mahia fans traveled in large number to Dar es Salaam

The month of August was a nighmare scenario. They were required to play 10 matches in 29 days. This after having already played in the CECAFA club cup and the Sportpesa shield. In addition, the club lost key players Godfrey Walusimbi and Meddie Kagere to foreign sides.

The two factors took a toll on Gor Mahia as they went down 1-2 to Rayon Sports of Rwanda at Kasarani. Francis Mustafa scored Gor Mahia’s goal.

Gor Mahia needed at least a draw against USM Alger in their last match. But they could not overcome the fatigue, finding themselves 2-0 down before Jacque Tuyisenge scored a late consolation. The match ended 2-1 and Gor Mahia narrowly missed out on the quarter-finals.

2018 Premier League

The first match of the 2018 Premier League was a clear indicator of the extent to which Gor Mahia would dominate the league in 2018. In the league opener, Gor Mahia destroyed Nakumatt 4-0. Meddie Kagere too showed his intentions, scoring a hat-trick with Wellington Ochieng sealing the score.

Gor Mahia would have won the league unbeaten but the marathon August schedule where they played 10 matches in 29 days after having already played in the CECAFA cup and the Sportpesa Super cup, put paid to those aspirations.

By August Gor Mahia had opened up such a wide lead that it was not a matter of if but when they would win the league. Despite playing 10 matches in 29 days, Gor Mahia clinched the league in grand style, beating Sofapaka 3-0 then beating arch rivals AFC leopards 2-0 within a few days. Boniface Omondi and Bernard Ondiek scored the goals.

Boniface Omondi scored a top shelf goal against AFC

In the end Gor Mahia garnered 75 points, which is 13 points ahead of the second team (Bandari). They would have garnered more points but they took their foot off the accelerator pedal after clinching the league and went on to lose four matches. Gor Mahia also scored an impressive 71 goals, which was a massive 23 goals higher than the second best team in that regard.

2018 Sportpesa Super Cup

The 2018 Sportpesa Supercup was used to determine who would play Everton at Goodison Park. It featured Four teams from Kenya(Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Kakamega Homeboyz, Kariobangi Sharks) and four teams from Tanzania (Yanga, Simba, Jeshi La Kujenga Uchumi and Singida United).

Gor Mahia started solidly, beating Jeshi 3-0 with goals from George Odhiambo, Godfrey Walusimbi and Meddie Kagere. They then beat Singida United 2-0 thanks to a brace from Meddie Kagere. In the final, Gor Mahia blanked Simba of Dar es Salaam 2-0 with goals from Kagere and Tuyisenge.

All in all , a solid performance from Kogalo in which they scored 7 goals and conceded none.

Gor Mahia players receive the Sportpesa Supercup

2018 Sportpesa Shield

The Sportpesa Shield was the 2018 edition of Kenya’s domestic cup to determine who would represent Kenya in the 2018-2019 CAF Confederations cup.

Gor Mahia started off against SS Asad whom they dismissed 5-1 with goals from Lawrence Juma(2), Innocent Wafula, Jacque Tuyisenge and Eliud Lokuwam.

In the round of 32 match, Gor Mahia trounced Kenpoly 5-0. Ivorian Ephrem Guikan notched a hat-trick. Lawrence Juma added another and Kenpoly scored an own goal.

In the round of 16, Gor Mahia faced their first top tier opposition: Posta Rangers. They went on to win 3-1 with a brace from Kevin Omondi and another by Samuel Onyango.

Gor Mahia played against Kariobangi Sharks in the quarter-finals. The match was played soon after Gor Mahia had returned from Algeria where they played USM Alger. Kariobangi won 4-2 on penalties.

Coach Dylan Kerr suggested that FKF Chair Nick Mwendwa, who also owns Kariobangi Sharks, deliberately scheduled the match to coincide with Gor Mahia’s return from Algeria to take advantage of Gor Mahia’s travel fatigue.

“Congratulations to Sharks they were the better side today I can, however bad we played be so proud how they gave everything even though it wasn’t the best today. Thank you to the K’Ogalo family who supported us today pole that we lost. FKF president new what he was doing” said Kerr in a tweet.

2018 CECAFA Club Cup

Gor Mahia added the 2018 CECAFA club cup to their busy schedule. Many fans felt that the club should skip it given that they were playing an inordinately large number of matches.

Gor Mahia had to play without leading scorer Meddie Kagere who departed to Tanzania to play for Simba.

They started off with a 2-2 draw against Rayon Sports. It was dissapointing as Gor Mahia were leading 2-0 at halftime with goals from Mieno and Tuyisenge.

In the second match, Gor Mahia twice came from behind to hold LLB Aacademic of Burundi 2-2. Philemon Otieno scored first then Jacque Tuyisenge scored an injury time goal to grab a point.

In the third group match, Gor Mahia dismissed AS Port of Djibouti 2-0 with goals from Charles Momanyi and Ephrem Guikan.

Gor Mahia’s best match of the tournament came in the quarter-finals. here they came from behind to beat Ugandan champions, Vipers 2-1. Francis Mustafa score his first ever goal for Gor Mahia when he scored from a rebound. Jacque Tuyisenge scored the winner.

Mustafa celebrates his first Kogalo goal

In the semis, Gor Mahia lost to Tanzanian moneybags Azam by a score of 2-0. It was the same side that beat Gor Mahia in the 2015 final.

Coach Dylan Kerr cited fatigue as the reason for the loss.

Late Payments

2018 will also be remembered as yet another year when late payments of player salaries were commonplace within the club. Players went on strike and engaged in go-slows on numerous occassions to protest non-payment of their dues. In March for example, it was reported that Gor Mahia players had not been paid for two months.

Matters came to a head again in September when fans came to the rescue of skipper Harun Shakava who was about to be evicted by his landlord due to non-payment of rent. He and other players had not been payed for months.

International Friendly: Gor Mahia vs Everton

It was another first for Gor Mahia as they became the first team from the CECAFA region to play an English Premiership side in the UK.

Unlike the first encounter against Everton, this time Gor Mahia was fielding a much weaker side having lost several key players. They were also playing an Everton side that was sharp as they were already in mid season, whereas this was the off season for Gor Mahia.

Joash Onyango and co had no answer for Everton

The gap in class was evident as Everton stunned Gor Mahia with quick and precise passes that left Gor Mahia players flat footed. In the end Gor Mahia went down 4-0

Kerr Departs

Following the loss to Everton, Gor Mahia fans were stunned further when popular head coach Dylan Kerr announced that he was leaving. Kerr had no contract at Gor Mahia. Fans were hit hard as Kerr was very popular and had steered the club to two league title and numerous important wins.

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