Seven Gor Mahia players trained on Saturday at Camp Toyoyo grounds in Nairobi ahead of their Caf Champions League assignment as the rest of the team continued with their boycott over unpaid dues.
The record Kenyan champions hosts Algeria’s CR Belouizdad at Nyayo Stadium in their first round, second leg tie needing to overhaul a massive 6-0 deficit inflicted on Boxing Day in Algeria.
To pile more worries on Gor Mahia, Belouizdad have warned they are not coming to Nairobi as tourist but for another huge.
A 43-member contingent of the north African outfit is expected in Nairobi on Sunday at 7pm.
Belouizdad coach Franck Dumas said his charges were well prepared and would not take it as a formality, six goals ahead or not. “Even though we won the first leg by six goals, I am not complacent neither are my players. We are not going there as tourist but to fight and win," the 52-year-old former France international told local media after beating Skikda FC 3-2 in an Algerian Premier League match.
“Even though we carry a huge advantage, we have to be determined and focused on the game as it is the only way to continue with our unbeaten record in eight matches,” added Dumas.
Clearly a focused camp while the situation at Gor is anything but that.
The truncated training at Camp Toyoyo, avoided by a majority of players pressing for payment of two months salary arrears, was led by goalkeeper trainer Willis Ochieng.
The majority in training were second choice players.
The notable attendee was Kenyan international and club assistant captain Philemon Otieno. He regretted the current situation and urged his teammates to honour the CR Belouizdad game as their plight was looked into.
“Things are tough and everybody seems to be on his own. As a captain I have no option but to be here and this is not a sign of betrayal to my colleagues. I have been informed the salaries will be paid next week and I call on my teammates to come so that we can train for this match.”
In a related development, Gor Mahia treasurer Dolphina Odhiambo Saturday stirred controversy after claiming the team shouldn't have honoured the first leg in Algeria if they felt they had not prepared well.
Speaking on local FM station Radio Jambo, Odhiambo revealed that she had proposed to the players not to honour the match so that the over Sh4 million spent on the trip be used in settling their salary arrears.
Odhiambo blamed stand-in coach Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo for the huge loss in Algiers.
“Pamzo should not say we lost because we had not prepared well. He has no experience of coaching a team that has played against a team from north Africa. When I speak, it's from experience," said Odhiambo.
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The Daily Nation Reports that Gor Mahia players have boycotted training ahead of their match with CR Belouizidad
And where is Rachier? He has been silent for several days as the ship sinks
Each player representing each goal scored by the Algerians.