Gor Mahia is rich in history such that if I have to open their account I’ll have to go to heaven for most of the signatories appending fingers there.
That’s how deep this sleeping Giant is richly engraved in our socio, economic and politico lives, and does it end there? Yes and No!
Why NO! As a kid growing up in mid 80s and in a sporting or rather footballing neighborhood, I knew not of Manchester United but the all conquering Gor Mahia FC, all I dreamt of was to one day play for this great club of Africa.
Little did I know that my dream would come true and even surpass itself by the fact that I actually played for the club and even joined its coaching staff after retiring from playing, and these are some of the highlights of my life history.
Playing or coaching at Kogalo is simply out of this world . The term ‘SIRKAL’ which translates to defacto government is actually felt here, the aura of specialness engulfs each and every member of the team which gives them some sort of headstart in every encounter be it on or off the confines of a football stadium.
This cosmetic confidence has seen Kogalo crowned or just call them the most successful soccer club in East and Central Africa, with unprecedented titles here in Kenya.
But all these end when you remove the Green jersey to face stark reality back at home with your family. This is when you realise the beauty was all makeup and it fades very fast the moment the referee blows his final whistle.
The happy fans will be on their way singing victorious songs enroute to their respective homes, whereas the architects will be left pondering what their families will eat, some don’t even know how they’ll reach home for lack of transport, that’s the poor moment am talking about!…this is not hearsay, but am speaking out of first hand experience while at Gor Mahia as a player and later as a coach.
For almost a full season of 2015 I worked with just promises and hope until the day we got sponsorship which also didn’t do much for me as I wasn’t given a written contract, but diligently I worked and even produced some sort of record breaking results in my department…but when I pushed for terms improvement, it was my time to leave.
Out of hardwork, luck and discipline many a player have made it in life with little or no support from the club handlers, other than the club’s name which has always played a big role in most of the success stories of players who made it life, and that’s the riches the club own!
On the downside the most optimistic and loyal players either die miserably hoping while others languish in abject poverty for taking home “well done” pats in the back and a title “I once played for Gor Mahia”.
Why YES! Gor Mahia is a big club with great players and RICH officials with poor mentality who have turned great players and a big club POOR!
It really pains me when I see my beloved club being trolled for borrowing ‘logo’d’ traveling kits simply because someone never planned ahead for the coming season.
A team that has repeatedly won the local diadem on a salvo thus attracting prize moneys enough to see off internal affairs if accountability manners are effectively followed.
The rich parents(officials) at Kogalo have repeatedly subjected their children(players and staff) to hardships leading them to seek refuge from just well to do but caring neighbors(other clubs).
This is something that has reduced The Mighty Kogalo as a mere conduit to other big clubs in the continent and serving selfish foreigners who mainly use the Club’s rich name, whereas drawing huge salaries compared to the locals who are left to suffer with the team after the foreigners have shared the loot with the officials.
I still believe all is not lost.
The day we will stop running our clubs as family institutions or kiosks and adopt the corporate like structure complete with financial or budgetary end year breakdown to the last coin, then trust me Kenya will play in the World Cup.
But as long as we want to shop for our tribesmen or restrict our clubs to certain communities, then wuuwii will always rend the air year in year out.
Proper management at club level will always trickle down to the national team.
Let’s go the Safaricom way…we are a big brand!
The Federation too should stop comparing Gor Mahia FC with other small entities, at the moment The Mighty Kogalo is the only Kenyan LANDMARK when it comes to world football map, distantly followed by AFC Leopards!
So, note that a 5 star hotel’s budget is way much bigger than that of a Kiosk though one sells food while the sells CLASS and attracts foreign investors…I mean FKF is the kiosk! Treat Kogalo with decorum.
Matthews Ottamax is a former Kenyan international soccer player and a former goalkeeping coach for Harambee Stars also worked at Gor Mahia and Afc Leopards