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Polack frustrated as players boycott training

Gor Mahia head coach Steve Polack passes instruction to midfielder Lawrence Juma during their Kenyan Premier League match against Mathare United in Machakos on November 6, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – Gor Mahia head coach Steve Polack has admitted he is frustrated with the current situation at the club with players having boycotted training for the last two days due to non-payment of salaries and allowances.

The reigning league champions have been struggling financially since the exit of their sponsors SportPesa and they have failed to sustain their huge wage bill, leading to players going on go slows to agitate for pay.

“We haven’t trained for two days and it is a bit frustrating. We only trained on Monday and Tuesday then Wednesday was a rest day. The players haven’t come back and to some extent I understand them. I am in the same boat as well together with members of my technical bench but hopefully the situation can change soon,” the tactician told Capital Sport.

He adds; “I trust that the guys above are working on it and probably in the next few weeks we have a solution. I have tried to talk to the players and tell them that boycotting training is not the solution but again, they feel this is the best way to make themselves heard because they are doing a job and ought to be paid for it.”

Despite the state of their finances, Gor have still managed to grind out results and are sitting third in the standings with 32 points, two behind leaders Tusker FC who have played three matches more.

Gor denied goal but knock Wazito to claim top spot

Despite his players being no shows in training several times, Polack has heaped praise on them for always showing up on matches days and grinding out results.

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“We have quality players and for them it is not hard to get into rhythm even if they don’t train. Of course, you lose the touch a bit but for our players it doesn’t take them much to get back. We travel tomorrow hopefully and we go to get victory,” stated the tactician.

Despite all happening off the field, Gor will look to ensure the business on the pitch is taken care of when they take on an on form Homeboyz who are placed a spot and a point above them.

The Nicholas Muyoti coaches side has won six of their last seven matches and drawn one. Their only loss in 12 matches coincidentally was a 3-0 spanking by Gor Mahia on November 21.

“It will be a tough game and we saw that when we last played them. We won 3-0 but they gave us a tough game but most teams do when they play against us. We don’t expect it to be different but we are ready for the game,” stated the tactician.

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Homeboyz have never beaten Gor Mahia in 11 meetings and the closest they have come is three draws, the last being in April last year.

Meanwhile, leaders Tusker FC will be away to under pressure Bandari in Mombasa, head coach Robert Matano looking to keep the side’s winning run intact and their lead on top of the standings unscathed.

Tusker FC forward Timothy Otieno celebrates his goal with Namanda Luke against Kisumu All-Stars. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

The alemen are unbeaten in 10 matches, winning seven and drawing three, a run that has seen them rise and look all set to challenge for a first league title in 2016.

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But they come up against a Bandari side that has been blowing hot and cold to slip all the way down to 11th though they have played a match less.

On paper, Tusker head to Mombasa with some bit of confidence as in 19 meetings, they have won nine times and drawn five of the fixtures against Bandari. Of nine matches played in Mombasa, Tusker have won four and lost two with the other three ending in draws.

Tusker’s last winning visit to Mombasa was in 2018 when they won 2-0. Last season, Bandari carried the day in Mombasa winning 3-1.

KPL weekend fixtures (All matches Sunday, 3pm kick off unless stated)

Sofapaka v Nzoia Sugar (1pm), AFC Leopards v Wazito (Kenyatta Stadium Machakos), Bandari vs Tusker (Mombasa), Chemelil Sugar v KCB (Muhoroni), Kakamega Homeboyz v Gor Mahia (Bukhungu), Kisumu All Stars v Posta Rangers (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Mathare United v Kariobangi Sharks (Kasarani), Ulinzi Stars v Western Stima (Nakuru).

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