Gor in civil war as Rachier suspends SG Ocholla, turns ire on FKF
Isaac Swila, Sports editor
A civil war has erupted at Kenya’s most decorated football club Gor Mahia after club chairman Ambrose Rachier on Tuesday evening swung the axe and suspended club secretary Sam Ocholla at a hurriedly convened press briefing in Nairobi.
In what has turned out to be a difficult if not an embarrassing week for K’Ogalo, the club was left with eggs on its face after the continental football body CAF banned their Brazilian head coach Roberto Oliviera from sitting on the bench this Saturday, in the CAF Champions League preliminary clash against APR.
Gor take on the Rwandan giants in Kigali in the first installment of the two-leg clash and Oliviera will not be on the bench for the two matches – first and return leg – instead stop-gap coach Sammy ‘Pamzo Omollo has been sounded out for the job since the KÓgalo coach do not have the requisite qualifications needed for this assignment – a CAF Level A license.
Thirdly, this week, Gor have been embroiled in a bitter fight with FKF over the control of broadcast rights, with the latter wanting all the 18 clubs participating in the top tier to surrender – 100percent – to the federation.
Gor are however having none of it. In this war of muscles, they have been joined by Mathare United, Ulinzi Stars and Zoo, in protesting the move by the Nick Mwendwa led federation.
And a seething Rachier, at his briefing, did not hold back.
“The Football Kenya Federation has no authority whatsoever to enter into any contract with any person purporting to grant such party our broadcast rights. Article 81 of the Football Kenya Federation constitution does not confer this rights.
It is for this reason that the Football Kenya Federation has been cajoling, coercing and blackmailing Kenyan Premier League clubs into endorsing such rights to Startimes Media.
We have remained adamant in our position and that is why this morning by whatever means employed they procured our Secretary General Samuel Ochola Kwenda to purport to issue Startimes an endorsement which all the members of the Executive Committee had recanted. Disciplinary action has already been taken against the errant Secretary General.
He added that he had briefed the club’s patron Raila Odinga on the happenings while going to great lengths to explain why the federation is wrong.
“‘Article 15 of the Gor Mahia Football Club constitution provides that all contractual documents entered into by the club must be signed by the Chairman. Mr. Ochola very knowing this position proceeded to write an unauthorized letter of endorsement to Startimes media to purport to give away our rights then went underground.
We have written to Startimes Media withdrawing this letter and our stand remains as before,” he growled.
“I dare him(Nick Mwendwa) to do so. I dare him to relegate Gor Mahia… he’s been dangling Sh2million which he was to release last week. It’s mere threats,” a visibly agitated Rachier added. “Sina ubishi na hela, sijui kandarasi inatoa hela ngpai,”he answered in response to a question on the broadcast deal between the federation and its broadcast partners StarTimes.
However, it seems, the fight may have come at the wrong time for the club, as seemingly, there are a lot of house-keeping issues to attend to.
An administration goof that left them embarrassed after failing to upgrade their coach’s coaching credentials, opting to ‘borrow’ a direct competitor’s coach has made them a laughing stock, claiming its first casualty – SG Ocholla – literally the de facto second in command at the club, and who should have ensured that everything is above board.
However, Rachier said the coach is ”competent” and ”qualified”, directing his guns at the federation.
At the same time, Ocholla’s suspension is likely to open a can of worms, as he directly draws his mandate and powers from the club members, who elected him unopposed in the August 8 poll, and not an appointee of the executive, or say, Chairman Rachier.
These are indeed tough times at Gor, a moment to look the other way for any well-meaning soul associated with the club.
Add to it, they have a fierce football battle this weekend, in the hilly Kigali, the hostile Stade Regional Nyamirambo, home to some vociferous football fans, but this time, Covid-19 may levelize the equilibrium, as the match will be played behind closed doors.
Such battles, as the one pending in Kigali, and the other one against Mwendwa and his federation, require all forces, all arsenal, all energy – and everyone pulling in the same direction, but it has come at a time when the house of KÓgalo is exploding – fires everywhere! Who will rescue Gor from K’Ogalo?