Why Gor Mahia should win the league
Gor Mahia should win the Tusker Premier League this season and I’m about to tell you why. I am not an official supporter of the club; in fact I don’t support any club in the TPL as I prefer to be neutral. I think it’s important for me not to sound biased for or against any club in the TPL, I just wish they all do well and move in the right direction towards improving the standards of football in Kenya.
Earlier this season I didn’t feel the same way. I was hoping that AFC Leopards would win the league because they had finally got all their ducks in a row and were doing well. They had brought in Jan Koops in August last year and they had finally sorted out all their board room issues. They were in their second year of their sponsorship deal with Mumias Sugar and the results were showing on the pitch. I believe Koops went 23 games unbeaten and it wasn’t a surprise. There was order off the pitch and as a result order on the pitch.
Koops had a great collection of players and the Dutchman was allowed to add to the squad in December and June.
At that point, I wanted AFC Leopards to be an example that once you sort out your off the pitch issues, your on the pitch performance will follow.
Gor Mahia meanwhile held elections last year but for a while there, the management appeared to be confused. They couldn’t decide whether to hold on to Zedekiah Otieno who had almost won the league for them in 2010, but who had lost his Midas touch when he began to focus more on the national team than on the club.
Unsurprisingly Zico was let go by the club and the management claimed to conduct open interviews to decide who would take over. So it was a surprise when they settled on then assistant coach Anaba Awuono who again unsurprisingly didn’t work out. In fact if Gor Mahia does not win the league this season, it can all be blamed on the Cameroonian tactician and the official who hired him. But I believe everything is designed and it was designed that Gor would struggle at the start of the season and peak at the right time.
As if Gor Mahia and AFC were not meant to be in good form at the same time, AFC began to dip in form almost at the same time as Gor began to pick up. And that coincided with the entry of Zdravko Logarusic.
So as we stand today; with just over a week to the big derby between the two sides, AFC are on top with Gor putting up a really good challenge.
But I don’t want AFC to win because of what has been happening in the board room. There is still no clear team in charge and that is what first disrupted the Leopards season. I feel that if AFC go on to win the league with an unsettled board-room, it may set a bad example. It may show football managers that they don’t need to get their act together in order to succeed.
So why am I not rooting for Tusker or Sofapaka; or Ulinzi Stars for that matter.
Well I’m still pretty upset at Tusker for letting Sammy Omollo go just months after he won the league for them. I don’t believe he was given a fair chance this season given the players he had to work with. I have discussed this in full in a previous blog so I won’t dwell on it now.
In Ulinzi’s case, I am also not a fan of how they conducted their coaching affairs. Benjamin Nyangweso won the league for them in 2010 and finished second last season, but didn’t last at all this season over a poor start. Again, a very impatient management team.
And Sofapaka have not been too smart either in the way they have conducted their coaching affairs. After losing Francis Kimanzi to the national team you would have expected them to hire a coach who was doing well. And in my eyes that would have been David Ouma.
Ouma had done wonders with Rangers in the first half of last season and only lost the plot after the club ran out of money and had to let literally all their good players go to clubs that could pay them during the June transfer window.
But despite the drawback, Rangers did manage to finish the league 7th.
Instead Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa brought in Salim Ali, a coach who had finished 12th with Mathare United and made Ouma Ali’s deputy. Did Elly really expect Ali to perform or was Ali brought in because he had been Francis Kimanzi’s deputy at Mathare; and somehow Kimanzi didn’t want to entirely let his control of the team go. Afterall he stayed on as technical manager for a while.
So as Sofapaka find themselves chasing for the title instead of leading the pack, I am not surprised and for that reason I don’t think they should win the league.
Gor Mahia were a little confused at the start of the season but as soon as the management sat down and hired a coach they believed in; everything started to turn around. But it’s not just the coach that has delivered; the management has allowed the team to concentrate on what is important – getting results.
When players run out onto the pitch each week it does matter whether the management is fighting; it does matter whether you’ve been paid or not; it does matter whether you yourself as a player has belief in your coach or not. It matters whether all your ducks are in a row or not.
If Gor Mahia wins the league it will be because of good solid management. I’m sure they have their issues, but as long as they aren’t washing their dirty linen in public, it’s allowing the players to concentrate on making the beautiful game in Kenya, even more beautiful.