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Was Gor Mahia favoured in title chase?

FOOTBALL By Gilbert Wandera | May 24th 2019



Gor Mahia FC's Francis Kahata dribbles the ball in their KPL match against AFC Leopards at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday, May 19, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

As Gor Mahia cork the champagne to celebrate their 18th SportPesa Premier League (SPL) title, it is not lost on keen observers that the team has not had any serious competition in the last three seasons.

Gor Mahia were assured of retaining the league title with two matches to go on Wednesday despite being held to a 1-1 tie by Vihiga United.

Pretenders to the title like Sofapaka, Tusker, Mathare United and Bandari fell literally on the way as Gor Mahia easily picked their third league title in a row.

The three-time league champions did not like they would have it easy retaining the title this season after former head coach  Dylan Kerr walked out on them in November.

 It could not have come at a worse time and the club barely squeezed through the preliminary stage of the CAF Champions League tournament.

The club then had a shaky start to the season as the management made efforts to bring in Kerr’s replacement.

By the time current coach Hassan Oktay arrived in December, morale was at an all-time low and the fans were loud in demanding for answers.

Oktay’s inexperience did not inspire much confidence in the team’s passionate fans but after thrashing Zoo Kericho 4-0 in his first match at Kasarani, he rekindles the hopes of fans.

Meanwhile, Bandari and Mathare United were winning matches at will and exchanging leadership of the log almost every week.

By all intents and purposes, it was looking a bad season for Gor Mahia who had to surrender their defence of the regional SportPesa tournament held in Tanzania in January.

That loss was a big disappointment to the fans and it pointed to a bad season even as Gor Mahia’s opponents kept picking winning on the pitch.

At the half-season mark, it still did not look good for Gor Mahia who at this time were bogged down by continental assignments that meant they had to skip local matches to their disadvantage.

The team was even edged out of the SportPesa shield in the midst of trying to progress further at the continental stage.

But after being edged out of the Confederation’s Cup, Gor Mahia put their gaze on defending the league title and as they won matches, their opponents kept dropping points.

Bandari coach Bernard Mwalala, however, believes that Gor Mahia were partly helped by the fact that they were not required to play in some venues.

“The conditions were certainly not equal for all the teams. For example, my team was required to travel to all venues and this took a toll on us. Gor Mahia, on the other hand, were not allowed to go to some venues and this gave them some advantage but I am not complaining,” he said.

Gor Mahia’s performance since 2013

-Six league titles

-Two KPL Super Cup titles

-Two SportPesa Super Cup titles

-One shield Cup

-Cecafa Club Championship finalists

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