NAIROBI, December 8- After losing the core of the side that led them to a second successive Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title last season, Gor Mahia have an urgent rebuilding task on their hands to get ready for the demanding CAF Champions League and defence of their local honours next season.
The third Uganda Cranes cog in their side, Godfrey ‘Baba’ Kizito has flown out of the K’Ogalo nest in search of pastures anew after talks to tie him down with the club collapsed on Monday.
Compatriots; top scorer Dan Sserunkuma and midfield dynamo, Geoffrey Walusimbi, left earlier this month with Harambee Stars defender, David ‘Calabar’ Owino also on his way for trials at Tanzanian giants Simba SC leaving a depleted squad that needs immediate patch up.
Speaking to Capital Sport on Tuesday, Gor Secretary General, Chris Omondi, lamented the cash crunch in the sponsor-less side coupled with other structural factors were to blame leaving them struggling to retain the cream of their crop.
“We have learned our lesson and we will tie down players to longer contracts in future. We are in the process of recruiting new players in this transfer window and once we finish negotiations, we will disclose them in due course.
“We should start our pre-season training in the next week and a half once we assemble the squad. To a large extent, lacking a sponsor and finances has made it difficult to keep the squad and we are looking for a new sponsor to come on board,” he declared.
Omondi regretted Kenyan clubs were disadvantaged to their continental rivals due to underfunding, lack of technical knowhow and structural composition.
“We are a long way from competing with other clubs in Africa and we need massive investment in our clubs to catch up. Maintaining a strong technical bench and youth teams within the clubs needs a lot and not money alone.
“You find situations where you have the money but don’t know how to use it well, management is sometime lacking and that’s why we find ourselves in these situations,” the Secretary General elaborated in a sad indictment of local club football.
His sentiments come at a time when KPL that manages the top flight and Football Kenya Federation (FKF) are embroiled in a tussle over the control of the competition with the latter forging ahead to increase the number of teams from 16 to 18 for next season.
-Sofapaka in dire straits-
However, Gor’s case illustrates the urgent need for FKF and KPL to close ranks and focus on making domestic clubs more competitive on the continental scene with Sofapaka FC, the league runner-ups and GOtv Shield winners who will represent Kenya in the second tier CAF Confederations Cup also staring at a mass exodus of their talent.
Burundi international, Abdul Razak Fiston, top scorer, Enock Agwanda and KPL Player of the Year winner, Anthony Ekhaliani Ndolo are among those linked with moves away from the side that like Gor, also faces sponsorship nightmares with their deal with cement manufactures Blue Triangle said to have lapsed.
With little time left before the per-qualification rounds of the next CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup campaigns start at the end of next month, Kenya stares at the possibility of preliminary round exits of Gor and Sofapaka if the exodus is not stemmed soon.