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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Polack Headed to England, wants club to pay arrears

As he heads off to England to see his family, coach Steve Polack is asking the club management to find ways to settle arrears owed to players in order to stem a mass exodus of players.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack wants the club to clear all salary arrears owed to the playing unit before the the new season kicks off.

Penniless Gor Mahia now begging fans for cash bail out through Bonga Points
The 58-year-old Briton decried the mass exodus of key players from his squad, urging the K’Ogalo management to act and pay players as he intended to improve the club’s fortunes in continental competitions.

“I will be heading home in the next 10 days because I have not seen my family for a long time. Players are currently leaving Gor Mahia and all I have to do before leaving is to ensure myself and my staff are paid all their dues. I have also to know the management plans on new signings,” Polack told Nairobi News.

The 18-time Kenyan Premier League champions have been in financial turmoil and owe the coach, players and members of the technical bench salaries not paid for the past six months.

Gor Mahia, who have missed on the KPL title only once in the past eight years, have a huge wage bill of Sh5.5 million per month but the club management has in the past said it intends to reduce the figure to Sh3 million to enable it smoothly run its affairs next season.

However, Polack assured Gor Mahia fans that he would come back to Kenya to continue coaching the team as he can’t run a way if all issues pertaining to payment have not been resolved.

“ It will be painful for me to come back then we experience the same go slows and off pitch issues we have had in the past. That is why this has to be sorted,” he added.

The financial constraint at Gor Mahia is causing jitters among fans who blame the management for sleeping on the job as key players join rival teams.

Some of the notable players who have left are assistant captain Joash Onyango, who a few days ago joined Tanzanian giants Simba SC.

Lethal striker Boniface Omondi joined Wazito while custodian David Mapigano and his Tanzania counterpart Dickson Ambudo have joined Azam and Dododoma Jiji FC respectively.

Ugandan import Juma Balinya and Captain Kenneth Muguna are negotiating with Azam and Petro de Luanda of Angola while Ghananian midfielder Jackson Owusu, whose contract has expired, is also unsure of his future at K’Ogalo. Gor also released goalkeeper Fredrick Odhiambo, who is on the verge of signing for Wazito.

The popular club two months ago signed a Sh55 million per season sponsorship deal with gaming firm Betsafe. However, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier recently stated that the club will start receiving the money once the new season kicks-off

Butambuze unsure of next move

Gor Mahia fullback Shafiq Butambuze, who has been out on injury list for almost a year, says the club has not spoken to him about his status

Additional reporting from goal.com

Uganda international defender Shafik Batambuze might be on his way out of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Gor Mahia.

K’Ogalo have seen several top players leave the team in the current transfer window; Boniface Omondi has joined Wazito FC while Joash Onyango has sealed a deal with Tanzania Mainland League champions Simba SC. Captain Kenneth Muguna is also reportedly on his way out with Angolan top-tier side Petro Atletico favourites to sign him.

Goalkeeper David Mapigano has also joined Azam FC while his counterpart Dickson Ambundo has completed a move to Dodoma Jiji FC.

“Gor Mahia have not yet talked to me,” Batambuze told Goal from his native Uganda on Sunday when he was asked about his status with the Kenyan side.

“Well, I am still under contract until November, and I cannot tell what the future holds. But no one has spoken to me over a contract extension. So, all I have to do is continue concentrating on the current deal. I cannot guarantee whether I will be in the KPL or somewhere else.

“Only God knows.”

In an earlier interview, Gor Mahia head coach explained why he has no power to stop players from leaving.

“What do you want me to do?” the tactician posed a question to Goal when asked about the mass exodus at the club.

“It is beyond me, the situation at this club is beyond me, I can do nothing, I don’t have anything to say, the players are looking after money, we play football to get money but it is not the case here, so how can you ask the players to stay?

“I will be a very bad coach if I try to convince the players to stay, they have families to take care of, they have bills to pay, they have other things to do with their money, so why stay in the club where you don’t get the money?

“It is a very bad situation now, some players are owed up to five months’ salaries, and this is not good at all, others have used the Fifa clause to demand for the exit, it means I have nothing to do, I cannot do anything to have them stay if they have decided to go, I wish them well.

“It happens in the other parts of the world not only at Gor Mahia, players leaving [though not because of finances], it happens even at Real Madrid, even at Barcelona but now the most important thing is how do we respond to the exodus, how do we fill the voids? That is the question for the management to answer.

“I have my targets ready but we can only negotiate with them when we have money to buy, I don’t want to negotiate with a player without money on the table, the club should show me the money and I will talk to my targets and bring them on board.”

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Polack asking Rachier to bring back Owusu


Coach Steve Polack sees Jackson Owusu is an important cog in the club’s quest for success in the 2020-2021 season. With that in mind, Polack wants to convince Chairman Rachier to bring back the Ghanaian midfielder

Additional reporting from the Nation

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack says he will convince club chairman Ambrose Rachier to extend midfielder Jackson Owusu’s contract.

The Ghanaian import, who has had a troubled stay in Kenya since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, left for his home country a week ago.

Owusu, who is currently in mandatory quarantine in Accra before he heads to Kumasi, said his fate is still unknown at K’Ogalo.

The versatile midfielder signed a season’s contract in January which has ended after the league was stopped indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic.

“I signed for a year, one long season and it is almost over. I actually don’t know whether they will renew my contract or not. I was only told things will be fine, nothing much. Currently I don’t know my fate at the club,” he said.

However, Polack told Nation Sport that he will be meeting Rachier at the end of the week so that they can strategise on new signings and replacement of star players who have exited.

“Owusu is a good player and I will recommend that the club extends his contract once more. I will be meeting our chairman on that but I know he has left the country for Ghana. We are determined to retain him in our squad,” said Polack.

Owusu said being detained at Nairobi’s Jimlizer Hotel over Sh600,000 in accrued bills in May was one of the worst experiences of his football career.

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Polack concerned about the departure of several key players


Coach Steve Polack, who usually exudes confidence even under difficult circumstances, is now expressing concern about the departure of several players.

Additional reporting from goal.com

The mass exodus at K’Ogalo leaves the British coach scratching his head as he prepares team for the upcoming season

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has remained in shock after the club let go of some of his key players whom he wanted to use in the coming season.

The British coach has admitted the financial situation at the club has forced him to start a rebuilding process after losing key players Joash Onyango, Charles Momanyi, Boniface Omondi, Peter Odhiambo, and Kenneth Muguna – and conceded it might affect the team’s performance next season.

“That is not a good question to ask me, because you know from the word go, my intentions were to keep my best players for the new season,” Polack told Goal when asked why the league champions were losing key players this transfer window.

“I think you know why [the players are leaving] and why I am mad, all the players that are leaving they are quality players and I will be a selfish coach to say now I want to say I will want to keep them because you know the financial situation at the club.

“First of all, they have made their decisions to leave because of the circumstances the club finds itself in [in terms of finances], it is the big reason why they have left, I would have loved them to stay, but players come and go but the club will still be there.”

Polack continued: “It is a very big issue when you lose your quality players, it is a blow to any team be it at Barcelona, Arsenal or Real Madrid, it is not good to lose your quality players, but the problems we are facing now [financial issues] have even made the situation worse.”
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On what he will do the fill the void left by the departing players, Polack said: “I don’t know, I don’t know what plans the club have, I have convened a meeting with the officials and I hope it will give us the direction now that the window is open.

“I have a number of players I want to sign but it can only happen with finances on the table, I am waiting for the office to give me direction, we might sign more players, I don’t know if we will, but I am waiting.”

K’Ogalo have only managed to sign keeper Levis Opiyo from Nairobi City Stars so far.

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Polack laments loss of Boniface Omondi

Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack says the club will miss the services of Boniface Omondi after the striker Wednesday joined Wazito on a three-year deal.

Omondi, 24 who joined Gor Mahia from Nzoia Sugar in 2017, appreciated his time at K’Ogalo but said his main focus now is to help Wazito win its maiden title.

Polack revealed he asked Omondi to stay but the striker was not convinced after enduring tough financial challenges at Gor during the 2019/20 season.

“We have lost a great player to our opponents. He was my first choice striker and I really pleaded with him to change his decision but he insisted that the financial situation at Gor Mahia played a part in his decision. I wish him the best at Wazito,” Polack told Nation Sport.

Polack has urged Gor Mahia management to hold on to their key players who are being targeted by other Kenyan Premier League clubs.

Gor Mahia captain Kenneth Muguna and his assistant Joash Onyango are reportedly on their way out of the club.

“I’m following two foreign strikers and will recommend them to the club management. However, I still insist that we have to ensure we keep our dependable players and pay them well. It is my hope that the (Betsafe) sponsorship will help us achieve this,” said Polack.

With the exit of Omondi and Tanzania winger Dickson Ambudo, the only dependable strikers remaining at Gor are Nicholas Kipkurui and new signing Benson Omala.

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Polack has identified new signings

With the imminent departure of certain key players, coach Polack is looking to strengthen the team ahead of the 2020-2021 season

Additional reporting from Goal

The British tactician reveals to Goal he has opened talks with new players he wants to be signed ahead of the new season
Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack has revealed he has identified players he will sign for the club ahead of the new season.

K’Ogalo will be taking part in the Caf Champions League after being declared champions for the 2019-20 campaign after the league was ended owing to the effects caused by the coronavirus effect and will also chase the league and domestic Cup titles.

With that in mind, the British coach has confirmed to Goal he has already identified the areas he will work to strengthen and has gone ahead to engage the new signings who will be unveiled in due course.

“We talking to players in the Kenyan league, we are talking to a lot of Kenyan players and I will not give you the names or positions, just know we are in talks with several players and the talks are very positive for now.

“Let people know, and we have to do it a little more professional, about the transfers because if you start saying the names then everything might fail before they even sign, so we are not going to give names, we will let people know when the deals are done and I want to set the bar, we want to get them all signed first and then we unveil them in one press conference.”

Polack, however, took his time once again to hit out at Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and KPL officials for the uncertainty which is still surrounding the fate of last season.

“You know after the president said there is no social gathering, we are doing nothing, we are still in the dark, will the league continue, was the league ended? In fact, everyone is in the dark.

“Imagine after three months, FKF and KPL have refused to come out and tell us what is happening, we are all in the dark, we don’t know what is happening, it is not good at all for Kenyan football, something needs to be done, and it should be made public.”

While Gor Mahia will take part in the Champions League, Kenya will have no representative in the Caf Confederation Cup.

FKF set to unveil new sponsors for the league

FKF president Nick Mwendwa, who is vying for re-election and who is also intent on taking over the running of the KPL, has announced a deal with a new sponsor.

Additional reporting from the Nation

Bet King, a gaming company with strong roots in Nigeria, could be the new title sponsor of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), Nation Sport understands.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa, in his characteristic fashion, took to Twitter to announce that he had secured a multi million deal for Kenya’s top league.

“Today in history! Over 1.2 billion shillings for the FKF Premier League for 5 seasons,” he tweeted on Wednesday evening.

According to a reliable source, the new sponsor, who will be officially announced on Thursday morning, is Bet King, a company that was founded in 2017 and is fully established and running in Nigeria with Super Eagles legend Jay Jay Okocha as the main brand ambassador.

According to Mwendwa, who was just short of letting the cat out of the bag, the new deal will see each KPL clubs bag Sh8 million per season.

“At least Sh8 million for each club starting 2020/21 season ……..Vijana wacheze ball ! ” he tweeted.

The new deal was signed off on Wednesday evening at a popular hotel in Hurlingham, Nairobi.

Interesting to note is that the federation boss no longer refers to the top league as the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), but as the FKF Premier League.

KPL’s mandate to run the league expires in September and Mwendwa is on record saying they are not eager to renew the contract.

According to a reliable source, FKF has been in advanced talks with two prospective sponsors who were interested in securing the title rights for the top league.

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