Race to succeed Nutall on as club confirms exit

Gor Mahia head coach, Frank Nutall, gestures during their SportPesa Premier League clash against Posta ...
Gor Mahia head coach, Frank Nutall, gestures during their SportPesa Premier League clash against Posta Rangers. The champions drew 0-0 away to Ulinzi Stars on Thursday, March 3, 2016. PHOTO/StaffordOndego/Sportpicha.com

SportPesa Premier League (SPL) champions, Gor Mahia, confirmed Wednesday that head coach Frank Nutall has resigned from his position and the club has intensified the search for his successor.

In a story posted on their website, K’Ogalo announced the Scotsman who led them to the 2014 and 15 titles sent a letter to chairman, Ambrose Rachier, terminating his tenure at the club, a day after he reportedly went missing.

“Indeed we received Frank Nuttall’s resignation letter on Tuesday after reports surfaced that he flew to Egypt to join Zamalek,” Rachier is quoted on gormahiafc.co.ke the team’s official website.

“In the letter, he (Nutall) mentioned a number of reasons and it’s clear he had planned to leave many days before without telling anyone,” the chair added.

Local media has been awash with reports that Nutall, a former fitness instructor at Scottish giants, Glasgow Rangers had left for Cairo, Egypt to join compatriot and ex-colleague, Alex McLeish at Egyptian giants, Zamalek, where he will be assistant.

With speculation mounting, the gaze has now turned to the search of his successor with the champions keen to get off their slump starting this weekend when they play Nairobi City Stars in search of a first win in five.

Nuttall’s assistant, Frank Ouna, is in charge of the preparations for the match with the subsequent two-week international break giving the team a welcome window to appoint a coach and give the new man time with the squad.

The Scots exit comes 24 hours after the club also confirmed star midfielder, Ali Abondo, had left for South Africa’s Ajax Cape Town as the pillars of last season’s unbeaten league run continue heading through the door marked ‘exit’ at K’Ogalo.

Top scorer Michael Olunga and his strike partner, Meddie Kagere left in the close season along veteran assistant head coach and club legend, John ‘Bobby’ Ogola who is plotting to inflict more pain on the champions with his City Stars outfit this weekend.

Nutall’s contract was to run until December but a spat over his pay where he was seemingly asked to take a 50 percent cut is thought to have accelerated his exit.

Others within the club maintain this was a ploy to push him out of the team by top management since he was contractually due for a raise after he delivered the title in a record season having worked at a time Gor were struggling to get money.

Reported dressing room strife, with his alleged clash with first choice keeper, Boniface Olouch that dominated headlines last month also made his position at K’Ogalo almost untenable with the champions lying 12th with only three points after their opening four games of the 2016 SPL season.

Nutall’s now infamous ‘thank you’ speech last Thursday when the team was unveiling its sponsorship package with SportPesa where he passed his regards to even his driver and his decision to applaud both set of fans when his team lost 1-0 to arch rivals and league leaders, AFC Leopards on Sunday are now being fronted as the most visible signs of his exit.

With the club being cagey about his decision to take leave, maintaining he went absent without leave, speculation has now turned on the race to find his successor.

Those being mentioned as favourites are former Uganda’s SC Villa coach and Spaniard Antonio Flores and ex-Brazilian international Jose Mercelo Ferrairra, a retired 42 year-old who played for Parma FC, Inter Milan and Perugia in Italy.

Nuttall took over from compatriot Bobby Williamson in 2014 with eight matches to end of the season, overseeing the club to their 14th premier league title in the same year before masterminding Gor Mahia’s 2015 unbeaten league run.

Report Raymond Ochieng

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