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GOR MAHIA : BIG IN KENYA,SMALL BEYOND FRONTIERS

GOR MAHIA : BIG IN KENYA,SMALL BEYOND FRONTIERS

By Fredrick Nadduli;
You cannot talk about top tier football in this country without mentioning Gor Mahia. Their big shadow looms large over Kenya and the local game without them is devoid of flavour,so to speak. For three years running now, Gor have not finished the championship below second place.
In 2012 they missed the title by the skin of their teeth on the last day,bogey team Thika United their tormentors-in-chief. Last year they made sure of it,avoiding any potential banana skins along the way. This year it is theirs to loose and they look unlikely to relent.
To their credit, these achievements have come under three different managers with different philosophies and work ethics.
They stride the scene like the colossus. Together with AFC Leopards they are the country’s top achievers, although latter day Leopards are only paper tigers, as harmless as circus lions.
OUTSIDE THIS COUNTRY
For all their dominance here,Gor have fallen way short of expectations whenever they venture outside this country. True,they remain the only East African side with a continental title under their belt, but that was a massive twenty seven years ago, their famous victory over Esperance in 1987.
By virtue of being champions they represented Kenya in the CAF Champions’ league and had a bitter-sweet run. They squeezed past Gabon side US Bitam in Libreville before wilting under the Tunisian heat in North Africa against erstwhile foes Esperance Sportiff. Then followed the Cecafa debacle in Kigali which they will want to forget in a hurry. Barring any natural calamity,Gor Mahia will be back on the continental and regional stage next year.
In essence, in matters Kenya,they are a cut above the rest. In Africa meanwhile,they are seriously wanting. They sweep all before them before diving into deeper waters and getting mauled by sharks. For how long will the country put up with this? This goes even further to other Kenyan clubs playing out of this country. Scorelines such as 5-1 do no augur well and bode ill for our football.
This is the million-dollar puzzle the Gor administration need to burn the midnight oil trying to solve. In a highly competitive league like the TPL, and with a complete squad boasting some enterprising Ugandan imports, the club should be able to stand before the rest of the continent and on a smaller platform like regional competitions, they should be up there with the big boys, at least. It is time to drop the inferiority complex and find a way past these North African sides.
Ezekiel Akwana set a precedent which others need to emulate. The likes of Al Ahly, ES Setif, Esperance etc are no much better than sub-Saharan clubs,but they have the organisation. That is where our clubs fall short.If Sofapaka chucked Egyptian giants Ismaili overboard, it means these Maghreb sides are not as invincible as they would want us to believe.
Seeing that Gor are as good as assured of continental football next year, their hierarchy needs to find the missing link.

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