How Gor Mahia clinched an impressive 21st league title

Gor Mahia players

Gor Mahia players celebrate after beating Muhoroni Youth 3-0 to win the Football Kenya Premier League on 19 May 2024 at the Sportpesa Arena in Murang'a. 

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

One thing was certain when the sun rose on Sunday morning – it was going to be Gor Mahia’s big day!

With Muhoroni Youth languishing 17th in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) with just 28 points and no win in their last five matches, there was no way they were going to stand on Gor’s way to an unprecedented 21st title.

K’Ogalo players and their coach, Johnathan McKinstry, donned special t-shirts with a print on the front saying ‘21XKPL CHAMPIONS’ after they hammered Muhoroni Youth 3-0 at SportPesa Arena.

With three matches to go, Gor took their points tally at the top of the standings to an unassailable 67. Tusker and Kenya Police, who have played the same number of matches, follow with 56 and 54 points respectively.

An elated McKinstry attributed their early triumph to concerted efforts by the entire K’Ogalo family.

“It is the work rate of all the guys,” remarked a jubilant McKinstry.

“Some people think coaches are some sort of magicians, but we are just people with an idea about the game and how we can implement it, but you need all the players, staff, and the club to buy into it.”

“I don’t win football matches but these guys, who wear the green jersey do. They have bought into what we have been trying to do from the very first day and I’m proud of them.”

McKinstry jetted out of the country on Sunday night to take up the coaching role of the Gambia national football team.

Young side

After guiding Gambia against Seychelles and Gabon in their Group “F” 2026 World Cup qualifiers, McKinstry will return to Kenya to lead Gor in their remaining three matches after which he will leave for good.

Perhaps the first sign that the young K’Ogalo squad with an average age of 22 would again rule the FKF-PL was when it became an uphill task for the other teams to beat them.

After battling to a 1-1 draw with 2009 champions Sofapaka in their opening match on August 26 last year, Gor stretched their unbeaten run to an impressive 19 matches – winning 12 and drawing seven times.

Meanest defence

It was hosts Kenya Police, who ended Gor’s brilliant run with a 3-1 win at Police Sacco Stadium in Nairobi on February 3. Bandari is the only other side that boasts of defeating Gor this season – a 1-0 win on March 3 at Mbaraki Sports Club.

Out of the 18 teams in the league, Gor has conceded the least number of goals- 13, with AFC Leopards second after letting in 19 goals.

Gor Mahia beats Muhoroni Youth 3-0 at Sportpesa Arena in Murang'a County

Their 3-0 win over Muhoroni Youth was the 21st clean sheet, a performance McKinstry was overjoyed about. “Twenty-one clean sheets is remarkable!” quipped the Irishman.

Gor’s defenders led by assistant captain Geoffrey ‘Simiti’ Ochieng and goalkeeper Kevin Omondi have been instrumental in that impressive run.

Leading with an incredible 18 clean sheets, Omondi is assured of the Golden Gloves award, as his closest challengers John Njau (Posta Rangers) and Patrick Matasi (Kenya Police) have kept 14 and 13 clean sheets respectively.

Omondi has played all of K’Ogalo’s matches this season except two following his red card against Leopards during the ‘Mashemeji’ derby at Nyayo National Stadium on April 21.

Led by Kenyan international Benson Omala, K’Ogalo have been lethal in front of goal banging 41 goals with Omala chipping in with 16, while midfielder Austine Odhiambo has scored 11.Omala the Golden Boot race ahead of Tito Okello(Police).