Gor Mahia on course for Confed Cup group stage

Mark Harrirson

Gor Mahia coach Mark Harrison during an interview with Nation Sport at Camp Toyoyo on November 26, 2021.


Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • For those of us with long memories, Harrison’s approach reminds us of yet another Briton, Len Julians, whose all attacking tiki-taka kind of play made even our fiercest rivals at AFC Leopards stand up and give a round of applause whenever K’Ogalo took to the pitch.
  • I am firmly convinced that were it not for the shenanigans pulled by Zamalek and probably in cahoots with their country’s football federation, the Gor Mahia squad of 1984 would have gladly won the continent’s club crown.

Barring an unforeseen and a last minute calamity, chances are that as you are reading this, you are already aware of the results of Sunday's clash between Gor Mahia and Congo Brazzaville’s AS Otoho d’Oyo in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup play-offs.

As I am writing this, the kick off is just some two or three hours away and somehow, I am very sure that we are going to post good results away in the Republic of Congo. And mine is not an empty boast of an enarmoured fan.

My optimism is rather based on the fact that for the first time in a long time, we have seen the team embarking on serious preparations ahead of an international assignment.

Many will remember the chaotic outing we had in Zambia last year when the boys hit the runway in Lusaka just a few hours before hitting the football pitch.

Even in the middle of the current campaign, we have hit some headwinds not of our making, but the club’s management and technical bench have shown the strength of character that they can survive in a storm.

First, after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed made the long overdue decision to send the miscreants who were ruining (instead of running) our game at the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) - I will never thank the good lady and her Principal Secretary Joe Okudo enough-, the local league was suspended.

The league’s suspension meant that our boys could not have the necessary competition to gauge their strength with local opponents before traveling west to Brazzaville for the fixture. However, a quick thinking by the technical bench saw us play some competitive friendlies.

Just as it should be. I read an in-depth interview in this newspaper where coach Mark Harrison laid bare his vision and plans for the club and all I can say is that we are indeed in a safe pair of hands.

It is only a cursed football pundit who can stand in the agora and accuse the Briton of not delivering. Those of us who have followed the man’s journey at Gor Mahia will readily agree that we have changed both our style of play and the quality of players for the better.

For those of us with long memories, Harrison’s approach reminds us of yet another Briton, Len Julians, whose all attacking tiki-taka kind of play made even our fiercest rivals at AFC Leopards stand up and give a round of applause whenever K’Ogalo took to the pitch.

I am firmly convinced that were it not for the shenanigans pulled by Zamalek and probably in cahoots with their country’s football federation, the Gor Mahia squad of 1984 would have gladly won the continent’s club crown.

If you are doubting, just go to the archives and take a closer look at the Gor Mahia squad that lifted the 1987 Nelson Mandela Cup.

This was largely the tam that Len Julians built, and I have often maintained that the cup winning coach Jack Johnson only happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Still on our match with the men from Brazzaville, I am still wondering what kind of tomfoolery the ousted FKF officials were trying when they purported to write a letter talking of logistics of hosting the return leg.

Admitted, there is a severe shortage of brains among the bunch that was kicked out of Kandanda House, but honestly anybody with an above average IQ should have known that the order kicking them out of FKF headquarters also meant that they will not participate in the running of local football in any capacity. That privilege was consequently ceded to the newly formed Caretaker Committee.

I wish the sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigates would push for further arrests of all the quacks, who are yet to believe that power has slipped form their fingers and that Kenyan football is under new management.

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