One of the activities that every organization must perform is public relations. This is especially true for an organization like Gor Mahia. Away from the field, there is very little positive news as the media spotlight almost always shines on the negative. With the media and much of the public dwelling on the negative, it is incumbent upon club officials and fans to shine a light on the positives that Gor Mahia provides to this country. Let us take a look at some :
Gor Mahia provides gainful Employment
At any point in time, Gor Mahia provides gainful employment to at least 25 players. This is especially important in a country where the youth unemployment rate is 60%. Gainful employment keeps youth busy with positive activities and away from crime. The young players are also taught life lessons such as investing for a future when they can no longer play football. In addition, Gor Mahia also employes coaches, assistant coaches and other officials.
Gor Mahia brings colour to the premier league
The vast majority of Gor Mahia fans are peaceful and are mostly interested in cheering the team and creating an electric atmosphere. Gor mahia fans are the most exhuberant and provide many interesting story-lines which makes the Kenya premier league more exciting. Having exhuberant fans is a good advertisement for the Kenya premier league. KPL matches are televised all over Africa. When matches are televised and show empty stadiums, it makes it harder to get a TV audience. No one is interested a match played to an empty stadium. On the other hand a colourful and exuberant atmosphere makes attracts more television viewers. Because of this, KPL can sell television rights to Supersport at a higher rate. One can therefore conclude that Gor Mahia is the most important booster to the financial fortunes of the Kenya Premier league.
Gor Mahia is a tourist attraction
Because Gor Mahia fans create such an electric atmosphere, the Kenya Tourism board has been recommending to tourists that they attend matches involving Gor Mahia if they want to get a taste of a Kenyan stadium atmosphere. As a result it is not uncommon to find tourists at Gor Mahia matches such as this group from Australia.
Gor Mahia puts money in the coffers of every team
Any team that hosts Gor Mahia is almost always guaranteed to raise Ksh 1 million in gate collections. This is because Gor Mahia fans travel in droves. And in fact for some teams, hosting Gor Mahia is one of the most important events in any season because it helps them meet salary arrears.
Aside from the teams, local authorities who own the stadium also eagerly await a visit from Gor Mahia because such a visit can pay their stadium maintenance bills for several months.
Businessmen / Vendors depend on Gor Mahia
As has been mentioned above, Gor mahia fans travel in droves. When the team travels to places like Machakos, Thika, Mombasa or Nakuru, it is always a bonanza for local businessmen including street vendors, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, hotel owners, matatu owners etc. For these businessmen, the annual or bi-annual visit of Gor Mahia to town is one of the most important events.
Gor Mahia moulds the youth
Gor Mahia is one of only two or three teams in the KPL that has a youth team. As has been noted above, sports is a good way to keep youth in positive activities and away from idleness that leads to crime and drugs.
From a football perspective, exposing players to good coaching at a younger age increases the chances that they will be better footballers. The fundamentals of football and tactical awareness are best learned at a young age. Some of these youth players will therefore be good enough to play in the KPL. One or two may even become good enough to play in Europe. One of the reasons why Kenya players perennially fail when they attend trials in Europe is precisly because they never learned the fundamentals at a younger age.
Youth teams that are run by clubs are the backbone of any successful national team. Spain won the world cup in 2010 largely thanks to players groomed at Barcelona’s youth team. The Tanzanian national team that recently beat Kenya had half of their players from the youth team of Azam FC.
Gor Mahia gives players of all backgrounds and ethnicities a chance
Gor Mahia is always one of the most diverse teams. Over the past 5 years, the team has fielded players from virtually every province in Kenya and every major ethnicity. Players with names like Makori, Kitawi, Kiplagat, Masika, Ongwae, Hadji Mwachoki, Pablo Njuguna, Chris Wekesa, Lavatsa, Kiongera, Anthony Gathu, Mosoti, Kariuki, Musa Mohamed, Shaban Kenga, Rama Salim, Bataro, Mutiso, Wanyonyi, Shakava and others have all found a home at Gor Mahia. That list represents almost every major ethnicity in Kenya be it Kisii, Kamba, Kalenjin, Maragoli, Bukusu, Kikuyu, Nubians, Giriama, Taita, Idakho, Swahili, Somali etc. You name it and you will find that they have played at Gor Mahia. The same applies to the fan base because Gor Mahia has staunch supporters in every province in Kenya.
Even Abdimalik Mohamed, a Somali player from Isiolo played for Gor Mahia and used that platform to get trials in Sweden and the Middle East.
Some like Makori were plucked from virtual obscurity in rural areas. Others like Anthony Gathu were given a chance at Gor Mahia when no one else gave them a chance and with the exposure they got, they were able to succeed at other teams.
Charitable work by Gor Mahia fans
Most media reports about Gor Mahia fans typically focus on the negative. Yet Gor Mahia fans are actively involved in Charitable work. Every year, the Gor Mahia fans foundation visits children at the Kenyatta national hospital and lifts their spirits by bringing them gifts. And if you were ever hospitalized as a child you probably know how such a visit can bring cheer.
Gor Mahia fans also participate in other charitable events such as the annual Stanchart marathon which Gor Mahia fans attended and brought colour by running in tandem and singing.
Sponsors and media open your eyes
With Gor Mahia fans and players involved in so many positive activities, there is an opportunity for a sponsor to gain some good public relations by being associated with an organization that is doing plenty of good for the society at large. An astute sponsor will partner with fans of goodwill as well as players and officials to engage in positive public relations activities. For example tourists who attend Gor Mahia matches could be pictured in jerseys with the sponsor name and logo. A sponsor can partner with the U19 team to perform training clinics in places like Kibera. Or partner with fans who are performing charitable activities. The point is that the options for good public relations are infinite.
As for the media, its time they realized that there is a lot more to Gor Mahia that they are not covering. Club officials and fans must also take it upon themselves to highlight what is good about Gor Mahia. And there is plenty of that.