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Gor faced with headache over foreign quota

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Gor Mahia left back Shafik Batambuze in training at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground on November 4, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia and their coaching team have tough decisions to make before the season starts after surpassing their foreign quota of five with the signing of Ugandan duo Erisa Ssekisambu and Shafik Batambuze.

The duo’s arrival from champions Ugandan champions Vipers SC and Tanzanian side Singida United brings the total number of foreign players at the club to six with Ivorian forward Ephraim Guikan having returned to the club following the exit of immediate former head coach Dylan Kerr.

The others are Burundians Karim Nizigiyimana and Francis Mustafa and Rwandese striker Jacques Tuyisenge.

Of the six, Nzigiyimana’s contract at the club lapses at the end of the season and a decision is yet to be made on whether or not it will be renewed.

“It is a challenge that we have but the technical committee will deal with it very soon. We will find a solution,” Gor Mahia chair Ambrose Rachier said.

Gor Mahia’s Ephraim Guikan vies for the ball with USM Alger’s Mohammed Bekhenmassa during a CAF Confederation Cup match at the Kasarani Stadium on May 16, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Guikan who joined the club at the beginning of the year had already decided to leave the club but after Kerr’s exit made an about-turn and returned to training.

“Guikan had a very interesting relationship with the coach and had left and already found a club in Algeria which he wanted to sign for. But when he heard that the coach left, he decided to come back and is already training with the team,” the tactician stated.

Kenyan Premier League and Football Kenya Federation regulations only allow for five foreign players per team whilst in CAF assignments, there is no limit on the number of foreigners to be fielded by a club.

Gor Mahia start their CAF Champions League campaign on Wednesday but have to make the tough decisions by December 8 when the new season starts.

Meanwhile, the club expects to unveil a new head coach before the start of the new season on December 8 with Rachier saying they have received applications from 53 coaches.

The club has whittled down the list to seven and they will reduce it further to three by the end of the week.

Former Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr and his assistant Zedekiah Otieno share a joke with Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga when he visited the team hotel on November 5, 2018. Looking on are Kerr’s friends from the UK. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“There are several key areas that we are looking for in getting the new coach. We are looking at language, experience and also if the coach has been to Africa before. It is very important to get someone who understands the terrain well,” Rachier said.

He added; “We have a technical committee which is looking at all that and soon we will unveil him. We have to do so before the season starts,” further stated the club chair.

Rachier unveiled the club’s new signings and noted that the names of those released or sent on loan will be released in new course.

Batambuze and Ssekisambu were among the players unveiled as well as the returning Kenneth Muguna.

The club has also signed striker Eric Ombija from their junior team with the youngster having spent last season on loan at Coast Stima.

Also coming on board were Pascal Ogweno (Kariobangi Sharks), Nicholas Kipkurui (Zoo Kericho), Geoffrey Ochieng (Western Stima) and Castor Ogendo from Kenyatta University.

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