Swila: Rachier had his shortfalls, but he leaves behind a rich legacy at Gor


Swila: Rachier had his shortfalls, but he leaves behind a rich legacy at Gor
Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier Photo/Oliver Ananda/Sportpicha/ Citizen

In Summary

  • Ambrose Dickson Otieno Rachier, the 69-year-old conveyance lawyer shocked the football world when he announced on Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election as Gor Mahia club chairman at the end of the year effectively bringing to an end his 11-year stint at the helm of the glamour club.
  • In making his plans known to the club’s vociferous fans, critics and admirers, Rachier cited the stringent Sports Act rules that require chairmen of clubs and federation chiefs not to serve for more than two terms. He has clocked 11 year already.

Isaac Swila

Ambrose Dickson Otieno Rachier, the 69-year-old conveyance lawyer shocked the football world when he announced on Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election as Gor Mahia club chairman at the end of the year effectively bringing to an end his colourful 11-year stint at the helm of the glamour club.

In making his plans known to the club’s vociferous fans, critics and admirers, Rachier cited the stringent Sports Act rules that require chairmen of clubs and federation chiefs not to serve for more than two terms. He has clocked 11-years already.

The conveyance lawyer also cited his longevity at the summit of the club and the desire to hand over the baton to young blood hence his drive to institute constitutional changes at the club which should culminate in the December elections.

Gor Mahia FC Chairman Ambrose Rachier follows action during their match Kenya Premier League match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on January 2, 2019. Gor Mahia Won 2-0. Photo/Kelly Ayodi/Sportpicha/Citizen

As usual, Rachier’s announcement divided the club down the middle with critics clapping to the high heavens applauding the “best news ever”  while the sober lot were muted in their reactions perhaps not too sure of what a post-Rachier era has in store for Gor.

The Gem born lawyer took over the mantle of the club in 2008 when Gor Mahia had lost its competitive edge becoming a punching bag to the likes of Tusker FC and Ulinzi Stars who commanded the league during that period.

In fact, in 2007, a season before he took over the leadership of the club, Gor Mahia finished a distant 11th in the 16-team league then as Tusker carted the trophy, while in 2008; a meteoric rise was recorded as they finished at position five as Mathare United bagged the crown.

Under Rachier’s leadership, it is noteworthy to point out that Gor has made steady progress on the pitch, missing the league title in 2012 by a whisker before ending their 18-year wait in 2013. They then went on to win the title three years in a row – 2013, 2014 and 2015.

In summary, in the last seven years, they have won the coveted Kenyan Premier League title six times stretching their total tally to an unprecedented 18.

Winning the title year in year out meant that they represented Kenya in continental football every year bar 2017.

During Rachier’s stint, the club has also won other titles viz a viz two KPL Top Eight titles, four KPL Super Cups and two domestic cups.

His tenure also witnessed a massive return of fans to the stadium with the figures hitting a record high in 2012 and 2013 though the numbers have dwindled in the recent past.

Gor Mahia FC chairman Ambrose Rachier and players celebrate with trophy after winning the Super Cup clash against AFC Leopards SC at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on January 28, 2018. Gor Mahia FC won 1-0. Photo/Sila Kiplagat/Sportpicha/Citizen

But his successes on the pitch have not been mirrored on the club’s finances which remains in the Intensive Care Unit(ICU)with major investments still a mirage more than 50 years since the club was founded; a club house, a stadium and training facility remain unfulfilled goals.

Club founders like the great independence hero Tom Mboya would frown today, say, if they were to resurrect only to find a shell of a club with no proper physical address, structures but with begging bowl to boot.

Year after year K’Ogalo, under Rachier, has consistently made appeals to the government and members of the public to come to their aid whenever international assignments beckon while member recruitment has become a lullaby with past efforts aimed at launching the same running into head winds.

The digitization of club revenues which should be realized through sale of mechanizes and match tickets continue to elude the club despite Rachier being one of the top notch lawyers in the land.

Football Kenya Federation presidential aspirant Ambrose Rachier cast his vote during the national elections held at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani in Nairobi on February 10 2016. Photo/Oliver Ananda/Sportpicha/Citizen

It would also baffle one that during his stint, and his rich legal background notwithstanding, Gor has continued to lose key players at the turn of every season, some running away “without  his knowledge” if his past pronouncements in the wake of the exit of Ugandan left-back Godfrey Walusimbi are to be put into perspective.

However, with the curtains set to fall on his illustrious stint, Rachier must now put in place measures to ensure that the forthcoming polls scheduled for December are seamless, devoid of the ruckus that mar elections in this part of the world, and ensure that the executive picked is lean and efficient to drive the club forward.

In the same token there is no denying that Rachier’s looming exit has caused anxiety in K’Ogalo quarters, many not sure of what the future holds. Could it usher in an era of chaos and mismanagement as witnessed before? We hope not but time will tell.

Club members must thus ensure that whoever they pick at the December polls are not politicians camouflaged as football managers but men and women of impeccable integrity with a proven track record in management and a compelling love for the club and football at large.

In this era and age when Gor is rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in Africa, solid financial backing is a requisite and the new boss must pick the baton from Rachier and translate the success realized on the pitch to financial stability.

Gor Mahia FC Chairman Ambrose Rachier (C), Secretary General Ronald Ngala (L) and Club Vice Chair John Pesa sing the Gor Mahia official anthem during the club’s media briefing at a Nairobi hotel on November 26, 2018. Photo/Kelly Ayodi /Sportpicha/Citizen.

Having an own stadium and training ground will go a long way in cutting the club’s annual budget by almost a third while also injecting new revenues.

The club supporters and registered members must also remain awake moreso during this transitional period to jealously guard the gains made.

The author is Royal Media Services Radio Sports Editor & a two-time winner of the MCK Print Sports Journalist of the Year award.

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