NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8- Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia have chosen to relocate 12 days of their pre-season training from the Camp Toyoyo Grounds in Nairobi’s Jericho estate to the tranquil and serene environment in Narok County ahead of an expected tough season ahead.
K’Ogalo who resumed training last week after the short Christmas break travelled to the Rift Valley town two-and-a-half hours from the capital on Monday evening with head coach Dylan Kerr hoping the calm, serene environment will help put the focus in his squad.
“I think it is very important for us because it is going to be 12 days of training, focus and a lot of team building. We will have three trainings each day, team talks and I believe this will help us achieve the target of being a strong team,” Kerr told Capital Sport.
Gor had initially planned to have their pre-season camp outside the country but have since vacated the plans owing to the exit of their sponsors which has left their bank accounts yawning, according to officials.
While in Narok, Gor will play friendly matches against league new boys Wazito and Kakamega Homeboyz on top of two other locals clubs.
Kerr says he has been impressed with the spirit shown by his players in the last one week of training and is optimistic as they take the gear higher for the next 12 days, he is going to see more hunger and determination.
“I came in here in July and had to work with what was there which we did well. Now I have the opportunity to start fresh and I am really looking forward to the new season. I know the expectation on me is higher than last year and I am prepared for it,” said the British coach.
He has likened the team to English premier League runaway leaders Manchester City who are constantly under pressure, but says he trusts his squad not to crack.
“Everybody wants to beat Manchester City now and I think that’s the same with us. It becomes harder but I believe that will bring out the best in us,” the tactician further noted.
Biggest on his mind as the year begins is the CAF Champions League with Gor kicking off their campaign at home to Equatorial Guinean side Leones Vegetarianos Fútbol Club and if they win they will square out with the winner between Esperance du Tunis and Mauritania’s ASAC Concorde in the first round.
“I am very positive in this and I believe that it is a possibility. I have watched a lot of African football and I know that in our best element, it is an achievable target to get to the group stages. I am just hoping that the players can have as much belief as me,” Kerr noted.
He added; “We can match anyone in the continent and beat them. I think we demonstrated that very well with Everton.”
Meanwhile, two of Kerr’s core players from 2017 might not be part of his team this season. Kenneth Muguna and skipper Musa Mohammed are both linked with a move to KF Tirana in Albania.
While Mohammed’s contract lapsed last week and leaves as a free agent, Muguna’s move has been topsy-turvy as there hasn’t been an agreement between Tirana and Gor with the player still remaining with three years on his contract.
There had been an alleged 40,000-dollar transfer fee agreement, but nothing official as yet.
Kerr is however against the move to the Albanian league, though he is more or less resigned to the fact that both players will leave.
“To be honest I don’t think I will bank on Kenneth, he seems to have his mind made up already. Musa has been at the club for over five years and I think it is good for him to seek a new challenge. But to be honest, with all due respect I don’t think Albania is an upgrade,” the outspoken tactician further noted.
But he is content with the kind of squad he has put together, saying they will compete for titles even with the exit of the two.
Gor kick off their season on January 28 with the season opening Super Cup against arch rivals AFC Leopards before switching attention to the Champions League.