The center seems to be crumbling within Gor Mahia’s dressing room and soon things may fall apart if the latest indicators are anything to go by.
K’Ogalo, as the team is nicknamed is a well-oiled ruthless machine that has in the past five years ruled the local footballing scene with little resistance.
Take for example this season; the coach Dylan Kerr’s outfight, despite having to manage a congested season, is undefeated in the KPL after 21 rounds of matches – winning 15 and drawing 4.
The team is perched at the helm of the 18-team league; 12 points clear of second placed Sofapaka, who have played a game more.
With months to the close of the year, Gor already boast two titles, the KPL Super Cup and SportPesa Super Cup which they recently won against Tanzania’s Simba SC in Nakuru and they are still in contention for four more honors.
For the first time in about three decades the 16-times Kenyan champions made it to the money bracket of the CAF Confederation Cup after beating South Africa’s Supersport United on away goal’s rule.
The team is currently in Tanzania for the regional CECAFA Kagame Cup that kicked off last week Friday in the capital Dar Es Salaam, but all is not well as Kerr confirmed.
Before they made the trip Friday night after edging out Sony Sugar 1-0 in a rescheduled KPL match at Kisumu’s Moi Stadium, the players had staged an embarrassing sit in demanding allowances dating back to last year owed to them.
They had vowed not to take to the field if they are not paid and true their threat, they took a ride back to Nairobi to meet club bosses, however, they were persuaded back and agreed to play and they won, albeit by a small margin.
So far they have played two matches in Tanzania against Rayon Sports of Rwanda and Lydia Ludic Academic of Burundi in Group B with both matches ending in identical 2-2 draws.
In the first match they let a healthy 2-0 lead slip away and in the second fixture they had to twice emerge from a losing position to tie the game.
“That’s not my team,” Kerr screamed during post match interview, “you should go ask them in the dressing room. My team plays good football. Felt like a funeral,” he added.
So what could be threatening to tear apart Kenya’s most decorated and celebrated club?
A close source within the dressing room intimated to Kahawa Tungu that the players feel cheated by the office and they can no longer take their words over pay.
In particular they are demanding part of last year’s KPL title winning bonus of Kshs 1m that is yet to be paid.
They also want Ambrose Rachier, the club’s president, to honor his word and pay them Kshs 4m bonus for making the Confederation Cup group stage for the first time in over thirty years.
“We agreed that we would be paid 20% of the money from CAF but when the money arrived they twisted the story and started telling us that the money was used to pay their salaries and winning allowances,” the source said.
“We don’t want to let the club down, but truth be told there is a serious disconnect between us and the office and this CAF money is bringing a lot of friction and killing our morale,” the source added.
Gor have already received Kshs 13m from CAF for reaching the Confederation Cup group stage and will get the remaining half at the end of the year.
Solly Bolo, the club’s treasurer, acknowledges the boys are yet to receive the pledge plus the last year’s winning bonus, but was quick to add that salaries and other allowances have been paid up-to date.
“The money will be paid; we have always delivered to them when we promise.
“As we speak, last month salaries plus allowances have already been deposited in their bank accounts; we do pay them by 5th of every month.
“But I would also ask them to understand that there were urgent administrative costs we incurred to play the continental matches and we had to clear them first.
In a country where most clubs barely afford to play salaries leave alone allowances, K’Ogalo is a shining light thanks to SportPesa sponsorship and Rachier, who has committed personal funds to ensure the boys are comfortable and focus solely on playing.
Rachier is currently away in Russia.
Gor recently lost Ugandan-born Rwandan forward to regional rivals Simba SC of Tanzania, who are believed to have offered the experienced striker a mouthwatering deal.
In response, Gor signed Burundian prodigy Francis Mustafa to help fill the void.
The 20-year-old was a second half substitute in the 2-2 draw to his country’s side Lydia Ludic.
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