Polack explains his departure

Departing British Coach Steve Polack has said that his departure is because the club could not meet the financial commitments he requested due to the Covid 19 pandemic

Additional reporting from goal.com

Steven Polack has appreciated Gor Mahia‘s players for their hard work and commitment during his time with the team.

The 59-year-old and the Kenyan outfit parted ways after just one season in charge and the tactician states the decision had to be made owing to the Covid-19 situation.

“The club and I have come to a mutual agreement to terminate my contract due to the economic downturn and coronavirus pandemic which is not only affecting Gor Mahia FC but also other clubs and businesses around the world,” Polack said in a statement obtained by Goal.

“I would like to say thank you to the club for giving me the opportunity to coach Gor Mahia FC. I enjoyed working with all the staff and of course the players. I thank them for their hard work, dedication, and commitment, so continue that same attitude going forward.

“It has been an honour working with you all.”

The Finnish has also thanked the fans for their support while acknowledging the hospitality of the Kenyan people.

“And of course the supporters, which of course, you don’t have a club without them,” Polack continued.

“They really made me very welcome and they were unbelievably the best in Kenya and I really appreciate their support.

“I would also like to give a very big thank you to the Kenyan people for making me feel at ease and at home. Kenya is a beautiful country which I enjoyed very much and one day I will come back to visit.

“I wish you all the best for the future and I look forward to our paths crossing again in the future.”


Polack has resigned

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack has officially resigned from the team. This according to several reports including from the Daily Nation. Prior to his resignation, there were reports of him demanding a salary of Ksh 10 million per year.

This is the letter from Secretary General Ocholla accepting his resignation.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia are looking for a new coach after Briton Steven Polack resigned from his position at the club.

Polack was in charge of the team in the virus-halted season after taking over from Turkish-Cypriot Hassan Oktay.

Gor Mahia are expected to name a new coach on Saturday.

Club Secretary General Sam Ocholla though didn’t divulge the name of the tactician but said he would be unveiled at the club offices by midday.

“We are going to name a new coach to take over after the exit of Polack. I can’t reveal the name now but he is a foreign coach who can help steer the club to great success in the continental and domestic scene. We have reached an agreement with him,” Ochola told Nation Sport.

The Briton coach and the club parted way on mutual consent after being at the helm of the club for one year.

Polack left the country on September 12 for holiday with his family back in Finland and promised to be back to continue with its duties.

Polack joined Gor Mahia in September 2019 as a replacement for Oktay who left to sort out family issues only to resign from his home land.

He won the Sports Journalist Association of Kenya (SJAK) Coach of the Month Award for September, October and February.

The trend of coaches leaving Gor Mahia while on holiday is not new. Former coaches Dylan Kerr, Oktay, José Marcelo Ferreira – fondly known as Ze Maria – all left for their holidays and never came back.


Polack still missing, Gor Mahia pursue other options

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack still has not returned, leaving Gor Mahia in a situation where they might need to start looking for a different coach

Additional reporting from The Nation

The fate of Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack now hangs in the balance after he failed to return to Kenya at the weekend.

Polack left the country on September 12 for Finland for a 10-day holiday but has not returned to assume his coaching duties with the club currently under the tutelage of assistant coach Patrick Odhiambo.

According to Gor Vice Chairman Francis Wasuna, the 58-year-old tactician was expected in the country last Sunday. However, Wasuna told Nation Sport that Polack has not got in touch with the club to explain why he missed his flight.

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.

“Even though we are cognizant of the fact that he may be having some issues, he has not told us why he missed his flight over the weekend. As at now I can’t say I know his fate but it is an issue we are looking at,” said Wasuna.

Wasuna said they have made efforts to reach out to Polack over his situation but refuted claims that they have sacked him.

“Coaches come and go and it is a cycle therefore our fans should not be worried because Gor is a big team that can’t fail to get a coach. After our meeting we will communicate our decision on the fate of Polack. As at now we can’t tell what is wrong but we will decide after hearing from him,” said Polack.

Gor Mahia Secretary General Sam Ochola was also non-committal on whether Polack has left the club referring this reporter to chairman Ambrose Rachier who was not available for comment.

Gor Mahia secretary general Sam Ocholla addresses journalists outside his office in Kileleshwa, Nairobi on August 6, 2020.
Efforts to reach Polack didn’t bear fruit as phone calls and text messages went unanswered. However a reliable source at the club confirmed that Polack has put in fresh demands to the management which should be met for him to return.

The British coach joined K’Ogalo in August last year replacing Turkish-Cypriot coach Hassan Oktay who left under similar circumstances only to resign from his homeland.

Polack led Gor Mahia to the 2019/20 league title and won the Sports Journalist Association of Kenya (SJAK) Coach of the Month Award for the months of September, October and February.


Gor Mahia clarify status of Steve Polack

Rumours have been rampant regarding the status of coach Steve Polack who left for a 10 day holiday in Finland around September 10 but has yet ti return. The For Mahia EC has sought to clarify his status.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack will leave United Kingdom for Kenya Saturday evening, the club said on Friday.

The British coach left the country for Finland on September 11 for a 10-day holiday and was expected back in the country last week.

However, he had to undergo a four-day mandatory quarantine in his homeland before starting his break, an issue that has prolonged his stay.

Gor Mahia vice chairman Francis Wasuna, whose office is now in charge of the coach, players and technical bench department, said that he has spoken to Polack over his return.

“We bought him an air ticket and we expect that he should be in the country by Sunday morning. In case his flight is delayed then it shall be because of the requirement that every traveler must have a coronavirus certificate 96 hours before the journey kicks off and not that he has abandoned his job,” Wasuna told Nation Sport.

The veteran official also clarified that the club has not made any decision to hire a new coach and that will only happen if Polack informs them of his intention not resume his duties.

“We have repeatedly said that we are not in the process of hiring a new coach because Polack has informed us he is ready to see through his contract.”

“We are sure he will be here so that he can continue preparing the team for the new season and Caf matches. We have not given him any ultimatum.”

The 58-year-old tactician though was not available for comment over his return.

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier and Secretary General Sam Ochola have all confirmed that the club is not sourcing for a new coach.

Polack joined Gor Mahia a year ago as a replacement for Turkish-Cypriot Hassan Oktay who left to sort out family issues only to resign from his home land.

He was named the Sports Journalist Association of Kenya (SJAK) Coach of the Month Award for September, October and February in the coronavirus-halted season.

Gor have already signed 14 new players in readiness for the new season.

Team manager Jolawi Obondo also recently told the club portal that their financial fortunes have improved under BetSafe Sponsorship, a different situation from the past where players and technical bench went several months without pay.


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.


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.


Sec Gen Ocholla and Polack dismiss rumours

Coach Steve Pollack as well as Gor Mahia officials have come forward to dismiss all the rumours circulating about Pollack’s departure from the club.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has dismissed reports that he had left the club and returned back to his home in England.

Polack said he doesn’t understand why the false information is being circulated through various news outlets and social media platforms yet he is in Kenya and having a good working relationship with Gor Mahia management.

He also castigated the reports of his alleged sacking.

The British tactician conceded that he was supposed to travel for holidays back home but clarified that will do so after the club has met its financial obligations to the technical bench and playing unit.

This he said is to ensure next season starts smoothly without the go slows and other logistics pertaining to their success in Kenyan Premier League.

“Why would I comment on rumours and speculation. Actually, I am sitting in the Kenyan sun. Relaxing. I am here in Kenya,” he told Nation Sport.

The 59-year-old tactician castigated some journalists for going a head to publish a false story.

“Let the fans know that I am here in Kenya,” he said.

There have been reports that the tactician is unhappy with the way the club has been signing players without his input.

Gor has so far signed 12 players in preparation for next season which, according to Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa, could tentatively start late next month.

Still under contract

Gor Mahia Secretary General Sam Ochola confirmed that the coach was in the country.

“The coach is a round and those reports are false. We have not sacked him or terminated his contract,” said Ochola.

Polack joined Gor Mahia a year ago as a replacement for Turkish-Cypriot Hassan Oktay who left to attend to pressing family issues only to resign from his home land weeks later.

Polack led K’Ogalo to the summit of league standings before the season was abruptly halted due to coronavirus pandemic on March 16. In his short stint he has won the Fidelity Insurance coach of the month award for October and November last year and February 2020.

He has previously coached Ghana giants Asante Kotoko.


Players receive partial backpay

Gor Mahia players who had gone several months without pay, have received part of their dues.

Report from Citizen Sport

Gor Mahia tactician Steven Pollack now says the club is heade in the right direction after part of the overdue salaries was paid to players and the technical bench.

The Finnish coach says everybody involved in the club affairs has received payment and they are all in high spirits even though he still expects the club to clear the balances, the gesture by the management is a big motivation to his boys ahead of the pre-season.

“I am happy our players have received salaries and this is a big motivation and a nice gesture from the management. It is now easier to plan with our boys for the next season than when they had not been paid,” he said.

Only two days ago, the club chairman Ambrose Rachier showed sympathy with the players whom he said were having problems with their landlords over unpaid rent and promised to arrest the situation.

The club has been caught between a rock and a hard place owing to lack of financial flow, with the playing unit and technical bench members owed several months of pay.

The tactician also hinted that they have a number of players they are interested in but they want the current players to be ‘fully happy’ before they can complete talks with the new potential players.

Asked about the players on their radar, Pollack indicated that any good club in the world makes the present players happy before going for more.

“I don’t think it is wise to bring on new players before we fully make our current players happy. They need to come and find the rest of the team happy and not complaining. That is when we can build a strong team,’’ added Pollack.

Despite being happy with the partial payment, Pollack said he is hopeful the club management will further pay the player balances and allowances soonest.

Pollack added that they will go through their previous transfer-wish-list and revise it to suit the positions left vacant following the player exodus.

So far the club has lost two shot stoppers in David Mapigano and Fredrick Odhiambo who signed with Tanzanian giants Azam and Kenya moneybags Wazito respectively.

Kenya’s most valuable player Joash Onyango also left for Tanzanian powerhouse Simba SC to join his former team mates Meddie Kagere and Francis Kahata.

He was handed a starting role at the heart of defence during the Simba Day celebrations when Simba beat Burundi’s Vital Ó 6-0 on August 22.

Other reliable players who left include speedy winger Dickson Ambundo, striker Boniface Omondi who joined Wazito among others. It is rumoured that Charles Momanyi is on his way to KCB.


Polack not happy with rumoured signings

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack has been caught by surprise by all the rumoured signings associated with Kogalo and he isn’t happy

Additional reporting from goal.com

The agitated tactician is not happy with K’Ogalo officials for allegedly trying to sign players for the champions behind his back

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has denied knowledge the club has signed four foreign players.

Over the last three days, the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions have been linked with former Rayon Sports and Burundian striker Jules Ulimwengu, Tito Okello from Ugandan champions Vipers SC, Cameroonian defensive midfielder Konfor Bertrand Ngafei and Malawi U20 international Andrew Numero.

The British tactician has now vehemently denied knowledge of the players coming to Gor Mahia and further asked Goal to seek an audience with the management over the same issue.
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When asked about the new arrivals at the club, Polack told Goal: “I think you have to ask the management about that, you need to go and speak to management about that.”

Pressed further to explain why Goal should speak to management whereas he is the coach supposed to do the signings, Polack said: “That is what I am saying you should do, speak to the management, just talk to them, I think they know more than the coach knows.

“I just said go and ask the management, I don’t know anything about it, maybe they know about it more than I do, so maybe you should talk to them, they are in a position to answer that question.

“Sometimes people do things they think is right and it is not right, but see what they will say to you.”

Asked on whether he has settled on new players to bring to the club, Polack said: “There are a lot of players I would like to sign but you know in football you cannot sign players if you don’t have money, sometimes you get the players that you want sometimes you don’t get the players you want, you must be ready for the future.”
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Gor Mahia have experienced a mass exodus of players in this transfer window with defender Joash Onyango joining Simba SC of Tanzania, keeper David Mapigano landing at Azam FC, winger Dickson Ambundo joined promoted side Dodoma Jiji while Boniface Omondi and goalkeeper Peter Odhiambo have been unveiled by Wazito FC.

On top of that, the team is on the verge of losing captain Kenneth Muguna who is negotiating with Petro Atletico of Angola and Motema Pembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, defender Charles Momanyi who is a target for KCB and Ghanaian Jackson Owusu, who left for his native country and may not return.

Gor Mahia will carry Kenya’s Caf Champions League flag by virtue of being declared the KPL champions in the last campaign.


Polack: I will return if finances are sorted out

Polack speaking to Ghanaian midfielder Jackson Owusu

Gor Mahia coach Steve Polack says he will be away for 7 to 10 days and will only return if issues pertaining to player salaries and staff salaries are addressed

Additional reporting from goal.com

The British tactician reveals to Goal he will only return to handle the Kenyan champions if the financial situation gets better

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has revealed he will visit his native home before the new season kicks-off but will only return if the current financial situation at the club improves.

The Kenyan champions have been hit hard during this transfer window as they have already lost four key players – defender Joash Onyango to Simba SC of Tanzania, winger Dickson Ambundo to Dodoma Jiji, winger Bernard Omondi to Wazito FC and goalkeeper David Mapigano to Azam FC – all because they don’t have money to pay salaries.

On top of that, more players are heading to the exit door with captain Kenneth Muguna already negotiating with Petro Atletico of Angola, defender Charles Momanyi close to signing for KCB while Shafik Batambuze is yet to discuss his contract situation which ends in November.
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Polack has now told Goal he will leave for his native Finland to visit his family for at least a week or two when he gets to know the exact dates when the 2020-21 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) campaign will start but with conditions he will only come back if the situation at the club gets better by then.

Asked whether he will also follow players in the mass exodus being experienced at the club, Polack told Goal : “First of all you need to tell the fans that the way the situation is I understand their concern, you know, not only about me but also the players.

“So we just have to see how it goes that is what I can say, hopefully, everything will be sorted out in the next seven to 10 days, we really hope that it will be done because I really need to go home as well for a week or so to see my family, I also need to see my family.

“So for me like I said, I understand the concern of the supporters that players are leaving and maybe the coach could be leaving. All they need to understand is that whatever happens in the future it is good for the club, and they have to support the club no matter what because remember the club will always still be there.”

Polack continued: “Players will always leave but the club will always be there, at the moment I am committed to the club but as I said before, I don’t want to leave here [heading for home] until I get to understand what is the situation at the club for the new season.

“Like somebody asked me today, are you going home, yes…but I don’t want to go home until everyone else is happy at the club because when I come back I want to have a happy family.
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“I don’t want to come back in the current situation when everyone is unhappy, I want the situation solved before I leave for home so when we come back for pre-season training, we have a happy family to get ready for the new season.

“I will not be going home until the current situation is sorted but if I go then I can only come back when I am sure the situation is sorted and all of us are happy to kick the ball again.”

Polack joined K’Ogalo from Asante Kotoko of Ghana and went on to win two titles – KPL Super Cup and the league – in his first season.