Gor Mahia in the 1990’s & Millenium

The club won the league 4 times in the 90s 90, 91 ,93 and 95 and the Moi golden cup only once (95). In fact Gor Mahia would have won the league in 1992 as well. They were tied with arch rivals AFC Leopards on the final day and the winner was bound to be determined by goal difference. AFC beat Transcom 7-0 on the final day. If this result were investigated, it is likely that it would have emerged that Transcom were bribed to concede several goals. On the continental scene the club reached the quarter finals of the champions cup in 1992 and the quarter finals of the CAF cup in 1993.  The 1990s was the beginning of a downward spiral for the club. The years between 1990 to 95 saw Gor Mahia continue to dominate the local scene. However it was obvious to all that the previously lofty standards of the club were in decline. It became extremely difficult to sustain the self-supporting club as a society.

In addition the economy in Kenya has taken a tumble leading to financial difficulties for several
Kenyan clubs. Whereas in the past, the club was able to secure employment for players at
Parastatals such as KPTC, economic reforms in the country made this impossible. This made it
more difficult for community teams to attract the best players.
The club was now unable to retain most of the good players who leave soon after their arrival in

search of greener pastures or due to frustrations caused by lack of payment of allowances.
Several outstanding players came and went within a year unlike in the past when players stayed
on for several years thus building familiarity

The early 1990s saw the departure or retirement of most of the players who featured in the crack
squads of the 1980s. David Ochieng , Onyango Fundi , Odembo Nyangi , Ochieng Pierre and
many others retired from active football. Austin Oduor and Abass Magongo left for the middle
East while others like Sammy Onyango joined other clubs. Coach Len Julians , returned briefly
in 1991 and managed to steer the club to yet another League title. Among the players paraded
by the club in the early 90s include goalkeeper Charles Omondi “Korea” , Jared Ochieng
Achieng , Sammy Omollo, Allan Odhiambo, Paul Ochieng , Felix Otieno and Mike Otieno. One
of the clubs biggest highlights came in 1992 when they eliminated traditional giants Canon
Sportif de Yaounde In the Africa Champions cup. After settling for a barren draw in Nairobi , most
pundits had written them off. However they managed to force a 1-1 draw in Cameroun thanks to a
stellar defensive effort by among others Otieno Zico , Paul Ochieng , Tobias Ocholla and Allan
Odhiambo. This enabled the club to reach the quarter finals.

Felix Otieno seen here in action against sibling Bernard Otieno “Zico” circa
1991. Felix was extremely talented but indiscipline stopped him from reaching his
potential. Also worth noting, 1991 is the only time Kogalo had a shirt sponsorship
(International Casino) thanks to Chairman Joe Ogode

1994 saw a re-match with Egypts Zamalek who
exactly 10 years earlier had eliminated them
under dubious circumstances.In the first leg in
Nairobi Gor Mahia played a superb game with
Dan Ogada and Tom Okaya pulling the strings
in midfield while Dan Shikanda ran rings
around the Egyptians from the left flank. After
drawing the first leg 1-1 Gor Mahia once again
lost to a dubious penalty in Cairo.
In 1995 was a relatively successful year for the
club as they won the national league title as
well as regaining the Moi Golden cup in grand
style. Players like Dan Ogada , Allan
Odhiambo , Steve Odiaga and Tom Okaya
spearheaded this campaign.

The 90s andthenewmillenium

1996 was the most disastrous year in the club’s history. They were eliminated in the 1st round of
the Africa champions league by Zimbabwean outfit, Dynamos, leading to the worst riots ever
seen in Nairobi. In the League they finished 8th which was unprecedented in the clubs history. In
1997 , the club recovered and almost won the National League , only losing by goal difference to
eventual winners, Utalii. Among the players who were instrumental in that campaign were Victor
Onyango in goal, Josiah Ougo and Tillen Oguta in defence, Frazier Ochieng and Dan Ogada in
midfield and Bonaventure Maruti, Steve Okumu and Steve Odiaga in attack. The club was unable
to hold on to these superb players , many of whom left for various destinations including the
Middle East. The last two years of the millenium were characterised by inconsistent
performances by the club mainly due to lack of finances. Because the club is flat broke they
have been unable to hire a qualified professional coach, Additionally the club has been unable to
retain its quality players most of whom leave after a short period for greener pastures.

In 2001, Raj Binder Singh became the first Kenyan of Asian origin to become chairman of a
major football team when he became chairman of Gor Mahia. He became the third club chairman
in two years. His main brief was to secure sponsorship for the club. The sponsorship never came
to fruition. Not sure why anyone thought that he would be able to secure sponsorship

The year 2002 will go down in history as the worst in the history of the club. They finished with a
record of 3 wins, 4 draws , 12 losses and a goal difference of minus 20 goals. Only Re-Union had
a worse record. For the first time in the club’s history, Gor Mahia was relegated from the top
flight. The club had finally sunk to depths which would have been unthinkable only 5 years
earlier. The league had been divided into two groups. Gor Mahia finished at the bottom of group B
behind other relegated teams like Pan Paper and Mombasa Heroes. They however received a
reprieve from the KFF. Even after the reprieve, the club officials could not get their act together
and save the club from furher ignominy

The 90s andthenewmillenium

celebrate an equalizing goal during a league match.
There was’nt however much to celebrate during the
2002 season and many will want to forget it quickly.

In 2003 Gor Mahia was the runner-up in the 2003 KPL Transparency Cup cham-pionship and
received from KPL a cash award of Ksh 500,000, the largest amount ever received in the 35-year
history of their club. Gor Mahia player Kenneth Omondi received from KPL a cash award of Ksh
10,000 as their “Best Player”. Gor Mahia player Jackson Atika also received from KPL a cash
award of Ksh 10,000 for “Best Fairplay”.

In 2004 at the end of the 2003-04 season, Gor Mahia had won only two games and finished in
last place but avoided relegation when the KFF and Premier League clubs agreed to reconcile
and form a “unified league” with 24 clubs playing in two groups with the last three clubs in each
group to be relegated at the end of the 2004-05 season.

Forward Emmanuel Wakata scored several
crucial goals for Kogalo in 2005

Gor Mahia spent much of 2006 engaging in fights with KPL.
Chairman Erastus Okul adopted an antagonistic and
confrontational attitude towards KPL. To make matters
worse, some KPL officials were indeed trying to kill the club
in the mistaken belief that the demise of Gor Mahia and
AFC Leopards would herald a new dawn for Kenya football.
At one point, the club refused to pay a KPL imposed fine.

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KPL Managing Director received full payment of the Gor
Mahia penalty from an anonymous “senior official of another
KPL club” who wrote in an unsigned letter that “it is deeply
disappointing that a few colleagues who are senior Gor
Mahia officials refuse to respect the KPL policy against
assaults on referees which their representative approved in
February. Their refusal to respect the rules also saddens me
because it is not those officials but their own players who
are suffering the most after playing so well this year. Out of
respect and sympathy for the Gor Mahia players, I enclose
full payment of Ksh 45,063 so they can resume playing …”
KPL Thus allowed the club to resume playing. But the
belligerent Okul refused to allow the club to play and
proceeded to skip 3 succesive matches. KPL thus
relegated the club again. It came at a time when Gor Mahia
were doing well in the league and likely would have finished
amongst the top 3. Striker Ken Oliech was amongst the top
3 scorers in the league. The primary losers in Okul’s ego
tripping were ofcourse the fans and the players whose
valiant efforts were wasted by officials

Ken Oliech in action against AFC Leopards
circa 2006

In 2007 KFF decided to set up their own league, KFF PL, in an effort to dismantle the KPL. Gor
Mahia and relegated teams Shabana, Kangemi and AFC Leopards were added to make the
league consist of 20 clubs. FIFA intervened to unify KFF-PL and KPL. Whereas KPL wanted Gor
Mahia relegated, Jerome Champagne insisted that Gor Mahia remain in the league. The season
ended with Gor Mahia finishing 11th out of 16th. 2008 heralded a new era for the club when
Ambrose Rachier was elected Chairman. The years between 2001 and 2008 had been by far the
worst for the club. The entry of a new set of officials was indeed seen as a breath of fresh air by
fans who deperately wanted a forward thinking chairman with ideas for how to return the club to
past glory. In 2008, Gor Mahia won the Presidents cup after beating Posta Rangers 2-0 in the
final, thus earning the right to play continental football for the 1st time in about a decade

Kogalo pose with the Presidents cup

So in 2009, Gor Mahia sought to star a fresh. Coach James Sianga went about recruiting young
players to build a team for the future. In came players like Ibrahim Kitawi, George Odhiambo,
Duncan Owiti, Chris Wekesa amongst others. Kogalo played APR of Rwanda in the 1st round of
the CAF cup. The young players some ofwhom were still in secondary school were clearly
overawed by the occasion. Their stage fright and inexperience showed as they lost by 5 clear
goals. Gor Mahia however went on to play a stormer of a second leg in the KPL that saw them
go from 10th position to 5th. George Odhiambo now dubbed “Blackberry” was voted young
player of the year by a panel of journalists and along with Peter Opiyo, Julius Owino and Ibrahim
Kitawi, was named to the national team.
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Kitawi, was named to the national team.

In 2010 Kogalo started the season with two coaches; Gideon Ochieng ‘Agido’ was the
headcoach and former full back Zedekiah Otieno was designated as the Technical Advisor. That
arrangement did not last long as it reportedly caused divisions in the camp and most players
sided with ‘Agido’. As the clubs top brass wanted Zico, Agido was sidelined in mid season. Gor
Mahia went on to play strongly in the second leg of the league and came within a whisker of
winning the league. The league winner was determined on the last day of the league and Gor
Mahia finished second behind Ulinzi Stars. At the end of the year, George Odhiambo ‘Blackberry’
, who had played 3 stellar seasons for Gor Mahia and finished second in KPL scoring, secured a
4 year contract with Danish top tier side, Randers FC. Odhiambo was also voted KPL player of
the year

From a financial perspective, 2011 was a landmark year because that was the year that Gor
Mahia secured a shirt sponsorship for the first time ever. Previously in 1991, Gor Mahia wore
shirts emblazoned “International Casino”. However the proceeds from that sponsorship are
unknown and clouded in mystery. The Tuzo sponsorship was the most lucrative by any club in
Kenya

Edwin Lavatsa, Eric Masika, Anthony Akumu, Kevin Omondi and Chris Wekesa flash their new
shirt sponsors

Also in 2011, Gor Mahia won the local cup, now called the FKF cup after beating Sofapaka 1-0
in the final thanks to a goal by Edwin Lavatsa. Gor Mahia thus qualified for the CAF
Confederations cup.
The beginning of 2012 was a tumultous time for Gor Mahia. In a bid to strengthen the team, the
club went on a signing spree. Unfortunately, the signing was being directed by members of the
executive council and not by the technical bench. A Nigerian by the name of Felix Nwosu, who
called himself “Felixinho” suddenly showed up at the club’s training ground and expressed
interest in joining the team. He claimed to have played for Enugu Rangers. A section of fans
were excited. However soon coach Anaba Awono expressed dissastisfaction with Nwosu saying
he was an average player not worth signing. Nwosu then sent a series of threatening SMS
messages to Awono. A few days later Nwosu was dismissed. Another signing that did not pan
out was that of Anthony Otieno Nyangor who had been signed after putting on a stellar display
against Gor Mahia during the club’s tour of Kisumu county. He soon earned the nickname
“Ballotieno”. Four other players were signed including George Midenyo, Hugo Nzoka, Ivo
Mapunda Yusuf Juma and Rama Salim.
Gor Mahia started the season disastrously, losing 4-0 aggregate in the opening round of the CAF
cup to Ferroviario of Mozambique. They also played poorly in the league. By the time the league
was six games old, Gor Mahia were in the relegation zone. It turned out that much of the poor
performance was due to infighting within the bloated technical bench and the Executive
committee. In a bid to stem the tide of poor performance, the club sacked the entire technical
bench including Coach Anaba Awono, former captain Julius Owino, team manager Ouma Ole
Tunda and assistant coach Ken Odhiambo.

Fans confronted coach Anaba Awono after
another poorperformance this time against Karuturi sports

Legendary stopper Bobby Ogolla took over as coach on a interim basis, assisted by Tom
Ogweno. Two weeks later, Croatian coach Zdvarko Logarusic was appointed as coach.
Logarusic soon overhauled the team getting rid of almost a dozen players including Demonde
Selenga, Hugo Nzoka and later Dan Makori and Ibrahim Kitawi. The arrival of Logarusic caused a
change in fortunes for the team. Gor Mahia went through a stretch of a dozen games where they
did not loose. By September, Gor Mahia were amongst the league leaders. By the last match of
the year, Gor Mahia were leading with only a game left. They needed to beat Thika United in the
last game to clinch the league. However they were held to 1-1 draw and ended up finishing
second to Tusker.

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