The shenanigans that derailed Gor’s CECAFA title quest


Azam Fc's Nicolas Wadada dribbles the ball past Humphrey Mieno left and George Odhiambo right, ...
Azam Fc's Nicolas Wadada dribbles the ball past Humphrey Mieno left and George Odhiambo right, during their encounter at the Dar Es Salaam National stadium. (PHOTO/Vincent Ooro/Sportpicha)

In Summary

  • Gor Mahia will have themselves to blame for missing out on the golden opportunity to win a fourth Cecafa title
  • K'Ogalo were their own enemies prior to and during the competition, shooting themselves on the foot when it seemed the stars had aligned for them and the gods were smiling at them too

Isaac Swila in Dar, Tanzania

Gor Mahia will have themselves to blame for missing out on the golden opportunity to win a fourth Cecafa title.

K’Ogalo were their own enemies prior to and during the competition, shooting themselves on the foot when it seemed the stars had aligned for them and the gods were smiling at them too.

Since their arrival here, the camp has been awash by bad smell, which, in practical sense, is not conducive for a side challenging for regional glory and in the battle field.

Having had the benefit of a front row view of their campaign here and the shenanigans that derailed their Cup quest, Citizen Digital takes an analytical look at some of them.

What they got right:

Great enthusiastic coach

Gor Mahia FC coach Dylan Kerr addressing journalists after their match against AS Ports FC during their group B match of the Cecafa Club Challenge Kagame Cup at the National Stadium Dar Es Salaam on July 05, 2018. Gor Mahia FC won 2-0. (Photo/Vincent Ooro/Sportpicha)

There is no gainsaying that in Briton Dylan Kerr, Gor Mahia has a master tactian; a cool head, passionate about the game and the club, and a winner too.This is evidenced by how he’s inspired the coasting league champions domestically as well as their repertoire in the Caf-Confederations Cup.

His enthusiasm and energy was very much at play in this competition but he could only do much.

A fantastic playing unit

Francis Mustafa is carried aloft by Philemon Otieno in celebration of Gor Mahia's second goal against Vipers SC at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. (PHOTO/Sportpicha)

Only a fool would argue otherwise. Gor’s players are some of the most enduring as far as the beautiful game is concerned in this part of the world. Eight games in 16 days; averaging a game after every two daysand losing only one speak volumes.

The tenacity, the drive, the energy, have been out of this place, and despite bowing out after scoring eight goals in in five matches and conceding seven is a testament to how close and tight the competition has been .

So, what went wrong, why aren’t they playing in the finals?

An out of touch office

Right from day one in Dar es Salaam, Gor’s camp was bedecked by silent jeeers and grumbles. The hotel, provided by the organizers wasn’t good enough for the team.

This is a problem that could have been avoided had the club’s leadership been sensitive to the desires of their players. Having been with the players for ages and cognisant of their recovery plans, the leadership should have put in place plans to ensure their stay here was comfortable as ever. On the contrary, this wasn’t the case!

Kahata transfer speculation and Kagere exit

Meddie Kagere is joined by team mates Paul Bukaba (center) and Adam Salamba as he celebrates scoring the winning goal against APR of Rwanda. The match ended 2-1. Photo Sportpicha.com/Vincent OORO

No serious club let’s it’s best players leave the club.Not as a free agent .Nada ! At Gor, this was the case; letting their talisman; the warrior, goal poacher and experienced soldier leave for the enemy’s army when they were just about to go to the battlefield.

If it meant breaking the bank to keep Meddie Kagere, the club should have done that.The goal return and work ethic he gave was worth every penny!

The endless transfer speculation linking Francis Kahata to Simba also played a part as coach Kerr did admit.

“There is no doubt that Francis is a good player.The reports(transfer) do not just affect him but the rest of the players too because definitely Francis is a good player.”

The links to Simba no doubt unsettled the player and the entire technical unit and Kerr, at one time, in the quarters match against Vipers SC, benched him.

On this, he said: “Francis knocked at my door and asked why he wasn’t playing.That’s the kind of attutude I want but I’m the coach and I’ve to decide who’s to play.”

One is left to imagine how things would have turned out in the absence of these destractions.

Allowance Grumbles

In the wake of hard fought 2-2 draw against Lydia Ludic of Burundi at the Azam Sports Complex in Chamazi, where they needed a stoppage time penalty from Jacques Tuyisenge to force a draw, team skipper Harun Shakava alluded that something was miss.

“The team is not motivated,” he said curtly in a post-match briefing, refusing to divulge further details but the point was already home.

Later, club CEO Ludovick Aduda would put a defiant face in an explosive interview with Kenya journalists denying any links of players unpaid bonuses but the manner in which he brushed the questions told more.

Fatigue

As opposed to some teams in the competition, freshness for Gor Mahia was a foreign phenomena. With a fixture glut back home, their legs were already tired and it was an open secret that they would give in at one-point or the other.

Also, Gor, for many, was the team to beat in this competition hence the celebration by Simba fans in the wake of their ouster.

Bizarre witchcraft claims

Gor Mahia players change to their playing kit at the lobby after rejecting the dressing room reserved for them over superstitious claims. (PHOTO/Vincent Ooro/Sportpicha)

This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. By rejecting a reserved dressing room on black-magic claims, the players began the semi-final against Azam already on a losing note. It affects, and it did affect them psychologically as the head coach did admit.

With the missed opportunity, Gor`s wait for the Cecafa crown is poised to stretch to 34 years even as they shift focus to league fixtures, a looming Caf assignment against Yanga, and a trip to Goodison Park.

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Story By Isaac Swila
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