Gor Mahia ready to go to war

Facing a tall order in Madagascar, Gor Mahia will need to play the match of their lives to overcome two away goals and a 1-2 deficit. Experienced Central defender Musa Mohamed understands the task ahead.
We must put up a great fight and secure ourselves passage to the next round. We have been here before against this same team (CNaPS) and we have the believe that we can do it again,” he said to the club site.

Musa was in Madagascar last year and should not be overawed by the raucous crowd in Mahajanga. Working in Gor Mahia’s favour is that this time the crowd will be much smaller. The main stadium in Antananarivo which hosted the match last year is not available. As such the match will be played in Mahajanga whose stadium is a 10,000 seater. Still Musa understands the depth of the task ahead. Gor Mahia will need to conert the chances that come their way while maintaining defensive discipline.

“The situation is however different this time. They have the advantage over us unlike last year and we must be clinical to make our chances count. We have had a good preparation for this match and the team morale is high. We have been in that stadium and we know what the atmosphere there will be and just like last season we can score goals there.” he continued.

Indeed defensive discipline is important: Madagascan sides have proven over and over that they can use their speed to capitalize on defensive lapses as BTM did in 1988 when Jean Claude Rabeamanana capitalized on a loose back pass to score. Luckily Gor Mahia were still able to win 3-1 on aggregate.

Coach Frank Nuttall while acknowledging the steep task ahead, is still optimistic that his side can turn the tables
“We are going there with one mission, to win big and hopefully make it to the next round,” he said.
“The first leg was a disaster for us, but at least we have a goal. We know it is not going to be easy but we will give it our best shot. We have not lost hope yet,” he told the Nation.

One player who could help resolve Gor Mahia’s goal-scoring woes in Ali Abondo who recently returned from trials in South Africa. Abondo scored in Madagascar last year. However by Thursday evening, it was not even clear if Abondo would travel.

“He was expected to return on Sunday and we expect him to join the team for training tomorrow (Wednesday). Unless the coach has a problem we shall travel with him because we are yet to receive any information about him signing for another club and we need him.” said Ngala to goal.com

It would be advisable for coach Nuttall to bring Abondo and assess his ability to fit with the rest of the team on Friday. His fitness is not in question since he has been training in South Africa for four weeks.


CNaPS taking no chances as they await Gor Mahia

Buoyed by their crucial away win, CNaPS sport are confident ahead of the return leg encounter against Gor Mahia. The Madagascan newspapers are replete with stories saying that though Gor Mahia play very physical football that borders on rough play, they have nothing to fear since it is unlikely that Gor Mahia will overcome the deficit away from home. So confident are the papers that they have already started to analyze their potential matchup against Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

The same cannot be said of the coach or the players. Coach Hery Raberisoa is not resting on his laurels. After the match in Nairobi, he spoke of his resolve to win the second leg.
“Kenyans have evolved technically, compared to last year. For our part, we will completely forget the first leg and focus the meeting of Mahajanga as if it were a final, need to win at all costs, “said the coach.

The captain of CNaPS, Ando, is aligned with the words of his coach and says his team is going for nothing short of a win
“After our win on Saturday, we were all very happy. But we will not rest on our laurels. We must win in Mahajanga, to endorse our qualification. ”

CNaPS have shown that they have the ability to score goals rapidly. As was stated in this column 3 weeks ago, they build their attacks from the flanks. Which means the Gor Mahia full back pair of Nizigiyimana and Sibomana will need to be a lot more vigilant and alert than they were at Nyayo stadium two weeks ago. CNaPS will likely go for early goals to further dig Gor Mahia into a hole that is too deep to climb. Nuttall needs to prepare his team for this assault and prepare them psychologically to fight back no matter the odds. Last year Gor Mahia looked dead and buried until Blackberry scored a late goal.

Indeed Gor Mahia should prepare to face a hostile crowd. Unlike the situation in Kenya, Madagascans always turn out in large numbers to cheer their home teams in international matches. Even corporate teams like CNaPS who are popularly known as “The Cashiers” which is Kenya’s equivalent of NSSF and whose team has existed for a very short period always get huge raucous crowds. Quite unlike Kenya where attendance is low for community teams and much much lower for corporate teams. So Frank Nuttall will need to prepare his side for a hostile environment.

However Gor Mahia haev shown time and again that they care capable of putting on a better performance away from home. Against Anse Re-Union in 2013, Gor Mahia put on a dismal performance at home and a much better performance away. Even against CNaPS last year, Gor Mahia scored twice away from home. Things are tougher this time. Fans will be praying for a miracle.

Missing from the traveling squad is Collins Okoth “Gattuso” who could not sort out his travel documents on time thus laying bare the shoddy organization and poor discipline at the club. Ali Abondo who returned on Tuesday will not travel either. He is in Kenya awaiting a response from Ajax Cape Town with hopes of joining them soon.

The match will be played on Saturday at the 10,000-seater Alexander Rabemananjara Stadium in Mahajanga, on the North West coast of the country. Gor Mahia are treveling on Thursday

Traveling Squad

Goalkeepers: Jerim Onyango, Boniface Oluoch, Gradus Ochieng

Defenders: Musa Mohamed, Abouba Sibomana, Karim Nizigiyimana, Harun Shakava, Bernard Odhiambo.

Midfielders: Khalid Aucho, Ernest Wendo, Eric Ouma, Eric Ochieng, Amons Nondi, James Ogada

Strikers: Jacob Keli, Enock Agwanda, George Odhiambo, Ronald Omino, Edmond Murai.


Nuttall optimistic ahead of return leg

Nuttall with Enock Agwanda on Saturday Image courtesy of Boniface Osano

Despite losing the Africa champions league preliminary round first leg match at home to CNaPS, coach Frank Nuttall is optimistic that Gor Mahia can turn the tables on their Madagascan challengers.
“Having lost the first leg makes us the underdogs and we understand it will be a tough match. However, we also know that there is a good chance we can win and so the players will be giving their best,” he said.

“It will be a tall order for Gor Mahia. They have scored two goals in the last four matches.Nuttall admitted that the team is having difficulties converting the many chances they create and will need to work on it ahead of the weekend match.” said Nuttall to the Standard.

New signing Jacob Keli has yet to show the spark that made him a hot commodity two years ago. Which is surprising considering that he has been playing well for the national team. Perhaps the return of Ali Abondo who is scheduled to resume training on Wednesday will boost the team

When asked about the rift between him and goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch, Nuttall would not commit.

“He trained very well today and is fine. Like all CAF registered players, he remains in contention for selection this weekend,”

Jerim Onyango played well in his place and could very well be preferred between the posts in Madagascar. His return to the starting line-up has further motivated Jerim who spent most of 2015 on the bench.
“Its always good to be out there playing. I am happy with my performance in the two matches. But the most important thing is to have team work. It is not every day that we will all get playing time. Of course one gets disappointed when not fielded but for me it always gives me a challenge to work even harder to get better while at the same time it makes me learn from what the other keeper has done right” said Jerim to the Nation.


Gor Mahia go down to CNaPs 2-1

Gor Mahia surprisngly lost 1-2 to CNaPS in the opening leg of the Champions league preliminary round
Additional reporting from goal.com

Gor Mahia failed to utilize home ground advantage as they succumbed 1-2 to CNaPs of Madagascar in the first leg of Caf Champions League played at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.

It was K’ogalo, who started on a high note with Collins Agwanda going for goal on the 7th minute but his header from Khalid Aucho’s free-kick went wide.

With skipper Musa Mohammed manning Boniface Oluoch’s post, a defensive lapse is what the visitors needed to go ahead in the 12th minute as Rija Rakotomandimby supplied Rinah Randrianaivo with a clean cross to find the back of the net.

With home advantage, the Kenyan champions failed to make another attempt on goal in the first hour mark with Abouba Sibomana’s cross in the 27th minute finding no strikers in the box to level the scores.

However, Enock Agwanda leveled matters in the 41st from the spot after CNaPs defender Michael Rabeson handled Goddfey Walusimbi’s shot inside the box allowing Tanzanian referee Ali Nassoro to award a penalty.

K’Ogalo emerged from the break a seemingly more determined side in opening minutes of second half with CNaPs goalkeeper Jean Dieu-Donné Randrianasolo making brilliant saves from attempts of new signing Jacob Keli.

The former AFC Leopards and Nkana Red Devils striker curled in a shot off Harun Shakava’s corner in the 48th minute but missed target. In the 55th minute, Dieu-Donné was again at his best saving from Keli’s feet inside the six-yard box as the danger man ran riot at the visitors’ goal.

With Gor Mahia out to look for a winner, CNaPs retreated to defensive tactics with 30 minutes remaining on the clock. Lethal winger Rija Rakotomandimby was at it again in the 82nd minute scoring a dramatic winner past Oluoch.


A closer look at CNaPS

Last year’s encounter ended 3-3 on aggregate

CNaPs like their opponents Gor Mahia have been busy with build up matches and intense preparations for Saturday encounter with Gor Mahia. Their last match was against arch rivals AS Adema in the Friendship tournament (Tournoi Fanantenana) that was held in Fianarantsoa. The tournament is organized by the Madagascar FA to prepare the teams for their continental assignments. AS Adema are representing Madagascar in the CAF confederations cup.

CNaPS opened their cup campaign with a 0-0 draw against FC Zanakala 0-0 . After the match, coach Hery Rabeharisoa cited the fact that it was only their first match of the year and the team was still disjointed.

“We missed a lot of chances. There was no coordination between the players. We shall work on these weaknesses.”

In the next match they then hen beat Akon’i Matsiatra 2-0 with goals from new signing Joel Lucien “Foroch” and Nono. After the match, coach

“That’s better compared to Sunday. The players are entered in the match, although there are still details to be refined. About Lucien, he fits well and gets along well with his new eammates, ” said the coach Hery Rabeharisoa at the end of the match.

In their final match, CnaPs beat their rivals AS Adema 1-0 with a goal from Njiva Rakotoharimalala

CNaPS vs AS Adema last Sunday

Per the Madagascan media. The newspaper reported noted that CNaPS were disappointing in attack and midfield. The strongest department for CNaPS is their central defence. anchored by news signing Lanto Tana who is jonied by veteran Pierralit Tovonay who plays for the national team and Ronald Rajaonarivelo. The right side of their defence is weak as reported by the newspapers and was repeatedly exploited by AS Adema. Their midfield and attack were not impressive with the exception of midfielder Michael Rabeson.

Their coach coach Hery Rabeharisoa was sastisfied with the result:

“We started from scratch, as this was our first official appearances of the year. Today, it’s going much better and the players have regained pace with with each subsequent match. Little by little we are getting stronger, ” he said

Recent Successes

Their last major success was winning the 2015 Indian Ocean Champions cup. They won the tournament by beating Saint-Pauloise FC of Re-Union Islands in the final 6-3 on aggregate. Njiva Rakotoharimalala scored a hat-trick in the second leg. Njiva, who plays on the wing is the man that the Gor Mahia defence will have to watch closely. Indeed CNaPS build their attacks using their speedy wingers as is a tradition in Madgascar football. Their other winger is often Jimmy Simouri.

CNaPs had also won the 2014 edition of the Indian Ocean Champions cup.

CNaPs were equally impressive in their domestic league in 2015. They won the league unbeaten. It is a complex league that is played in four phases phases. In addition to being unbeaten, CNaPS had some impressive wins including a 9-0 whitewashing of FC Cousin , 6-0 battering against FC Comato and a 7-1 thrashing of Racing Nossy Be. These large wins show that CNaPS can score plenty of goals quickly as they displayed against Gor Mahia last February, scoring three goals in rapid succession.

The only blemish in their 2015 league record was a 0-0 draw against Iarivo FC. But they would later thrash Iarivo 4-1 in the final phase. In the end their record was 12 wins and 1 draw and no losses.

CNaPs also won the domestic Madagascar cup also known as Telma Coupe de Madagascar. They beat AS Adema in the final after having beaten Tana Formation on penalties in the semi-finals.

CNaPs have had no success in the African champions league. They have participated three times 2010, 2014 and 2015. And each time they have been eliminated in the preliminary round

Gor Mahia preparations

Gor Mahia too have been busy with preparations at Camp Toyoyo. They will need to work overtime to sharpen their attack which has been blunted by the departure of Kagere, Olunga and Abondo says veteran coach Gilbert Selebwa.

“Gor Mahia was the only side attacking and Bandari looked more defensive. Unfortunately, K’Ogalo lacked the venom which was their trade mark last season, a thing which they need to work on if they want to do much better in continental scene.” Said Selebwa to goal.com

Perhaps the return of Khalid Aucho from injury will rejuvenate the midfield.

I felt they missed the services of Aucho (Khalid) in midfield, we all know his effect,” Selebwa told Goal.

Aucho was back in training on Tuesday and could be deployed by coach Nuttall to bring steel into the central midfield.


Nuttall: Gor Mahia will need to pull up socks

Gor Mahia faced torrid moments in the first half at the Mahamasina stadium

Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall has termed his team’s performance against CNaPS of Madagascar as below par. According to Nuttall, the team allowed CNaPSs to take a big lead in the first half

“Our performance was poor because we took long to settle in the game. We lost total concentration in first half and our opponents capitalized on that to score quick goals. We knew we had to come out strongly in the second half and that’s exactly what we did to contain them,”

Gor Mahia will next face AC Leopards of Congo-Brazzaville, and coach Nuttall is under no illusions about the task ahead.

“They won the confederations cup, they have a number of international players. It will definitely be a step up. They will be  and a very tough task. ” said Nuttall.

However Nuttall too will need to step up to a higher level. He freely admitted that he knew nothing about CNaPS. The Madagascans coach on the other hand said he had watched a number of Gor Mahia videos from 2014 and even though the team had changed, he had an idea what to expect. The result was that CNaPS came very close to eliminating Kogalo.

Club Chairman Ambrose Rachier for his part decried the fact that the team is currently understaffed for international assignments.

“We are only 19 players registered for the CAF. And we expect that in August of this year we will be able to beef the squad particularly the defense, said Rachier

Better Officiating

Last year when Gor Mahia played US Bitam of Gabon, the referee appeared dead set to help the Gabonese side progress. He went as far as awarding them dubious penalties which keeper Jerim Onyango saved. It appeared the referee had been comprmised. CAF has a weird system where the home team is responsible for paying referees their match fees. This system is prone to corruption.

This time however the level of officiating was much better according to Chairman Rachier.

“The level of officiating was the best, the officials did their job very well and we lost the match gracefully but thank God we have progressed to next stage of the competition”


Gor Mahia through to next round

Blackberry’s late goal saved Gor Mahia

Gor Mahia lost 2-3 to CNaPS of Madagascar but proceeded to the next round thanks to away goal rules.

courtesy of futaa.com

Substitute George Blackberry Odhiambo netted a 90th minute goal to ensure that Gor Mahia are through to the first round of the 2015 CAF Champions League courtesy of a 3-3 aggregate scoreline against their Sunday 1 March hosts CNaPS at the Municipal Stadium of Toamasina.

This is despite the Kenya’s representatives going down by a narrow 2-3 margin in the thrilling preliminary match. The two away goals and their home win in the first round however helped them book their place in the next round.

CNaPS started on a high and should have taken the lead in the second minute through a penalty but they missed but they remained the better side for the better part of the first half.

The hosts were the first to score through a deflected shot that beat Bonface Oluoch at the near post but Gor Mahia equalized moments later through Ali Abondo.

CNaPS however restored the lead in the 38th minute after a series of counter attacks before stretching it further at the stroke of halftime through yet another affront on the Gor Mahia defence.

The second half was however an end to end encounter with CNaPS fighting even harder to cement their lead in the match as Gor Mahia gave an equally brilliant output. Olunga’s shot on target was cleared off the goalmouth in the 75th minute.

Blackberry to the rescue

Gor Mahia dominated the final 15 minutes of the match but goals were hard to come by a midst a capacity stadium and an away environment.

George Blackberry was introduced in the 76th minute for Ronald Omino who started in the match and immediately created a fresh spark in the Gor Mahia attacking.

They however had to wait till the first minute of added time to net the savior and send Gor Mahia through on aggregate. K’Ogalo were 1 – 0 winners in the first leg played two weeks ago and were simply in need of a draw of any kind to set date with Congo Brazza side AC Leopards in round 1





Gor Mahia bracing CAF CL return leg

Gor Mahia coach Frank Nuttall is optimistic that Gor Mahia will advance to the first round of the Africa Champions league. Though Gor Mahia carry a slim lead having played poorly in the first leg, Nuttall picked some positives from the match.

“We carry a lead and that is the most important fact,” he said. “And we did not concede at home which would have been a disaster,” he said to supersport.com

Nuttall says the frailties in defense and a few weaknesses in the midfield have been rectified and the team is in perfect shape to take on their opponents.

“CNaPS is a very good side. They run a lot as was evident in the first leg match. We cannot under rate them especially now that they will be playing at home. But we know we have a strong team. We are not only going to defend our lead but also look for more goals.” he continued to supersport.com

Gor Mahia need a draw of any kind to advance.

Confidence Rising

Gor Mahia captain Musa Mohamed has said that the team’s confidence has received a boost from their performance in the last two games.

“When you play as a team you always want to win. We have welcomed a number of new signings for the season and to this far everyone has been impressive. The quality and competition in the team will push us a long way as we progress The victories against Sofapaka and CNaPS were vital for us as a team and the winning start to the league campaign very encouraging” he said to the club site.

Musa however knows that the return leg will be difficult.

“But we know the return leg match in Madagascar will be tough and we must prepare well to get a good result. Last year we had a tough match in Gabon against US Bitam. We will go to Madagascar to extend our advantage and progress to the next stage” he continued


Gor Mahia will leave for Madagascar on Saturday 28th February for their return leg match against Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale Sport (CNaPS) of Madagascar. There will be 25 players and 5 technical bench members and 3 club officials.
The estimated time of arrival is 8.00am on Saturday for their Sunday afternoon match that has been confirmed for Antananarivo, the capital of Indian Ocean country. It is atypical for a team to arrive for a match on the day before the match.  But club official David Kilo explained the late arrival.
“We have been informed of the rains currently pounding Madagascar hence our decision to travel just on the eve of match day.”

Kilo also explained that the Madagascan consulate has been very helpful in assisting the club procure travel documents. “The Honorary Consul Mr. Abel Rakotomalala has been very instrumental to us and diplomatic at it. He is the very definition of diplomacy.”

With the match being played in soggy conditions, Gor Mahia will need to adapt and make greater use of long balls. This will favour Michael Olunga who has shown the thrives on long balls and crosses.


CNaPs coach: Gor Mahia were just lucky

CNaPs coach Rabeharisua Herimanitra has indicated that he was delighted with the performance of his charges during the opening leg of the 2015 Africa champions league  preliminary round. Coach Herimaitra indicated that his team deserved to win more than the hosts.

““I feel a draw would have been a fair result. We lost two clean chances that could have changed the tide of the game. We need to come up with a winning formula and regain our confidence and ensure we win our return leg match.” he said according to supersport.com

He also indicated that Gor Mahia were far below expectations.

I respect Gor but this is not the team I was anticipating to meet. They were not sharp in striking and the penalty was suspicious.”

According to him Gor Mahia benefited from refereeing decisions.

“It was a serious omission by the whistler not to send off that tall Gor striker who fell in the box for the decisive penalty. It was an obvious incident that he should have spotted and taken action.”

Gor Mahia do indeed have a tall order as they face CNaPs in Antananarivo in 2 weeks. And as they defend their slim lead, they will have to do it without tough as nails defender Collins Okoth “Gattuso”.

Gattuso is said to have walked away in anger after coach Nuttall named him on the bench.

“Immediately the coach (Frank Nuttall) announced starting line-up on Saturday, Okoth simply walked away and later we heard that he sat on the terraces through-out the match. It is very disappointing and we are considering what disciplinary action to take against him. We had a crucial game and needed all our best players.” said Bobby Ogolla to goal.com

Not surprisingly, the Madgascans excelled in wing play, something that they have always done. But they are not physically strong. A tenacious player like Gattuso is perhaps what Gor Mahia needs in midfield.


Low gate collections for Gor Mahia vs CNaPs

The 2015 CAF champions league preliminary match against CNaPs of Madagascar raised Ksh 919,000 according to the club site.

VIP tickets were sold at Kshs. 600 (approximately $6) while the terraces tickets went at Kshs. 200 (approximately $2).

Attendance at Gor Mahia matches has been gradually declining of late and so have the gate collections.

This past weekend’s number is well  below the Ksh 2.6 million that was raised when Gor Mahia played against Esperance in 2014.

And in 2013, the encounter against Anse Re Union raised Ksh 3.5 million.

Going back even further, the mashemeji derby first leg in 2011 raised an incredible 5.5 million.

It is now up to the club top brass to find ways to re-assure fans that the stadia are actually safe for them.