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It’s party time for relentless Gor Mahia

Saturday May 25 2019

Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay celebrates Nicholas Kipkurui's goal during the Mashemeji derby at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 19, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay celebrates Nicholas Kipkurui's goal during the Mashemeji derby at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 19, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

CELLESTINE OLILO
By CELLESTINE OLILO
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After about 3,000 minutes of steady build-up, the job is finally done and it is time to celebrate.

On Sunday, the players, fans and administrators of Gor Mahia can relax, enjoy, party even.

They already have the points needed to land the title, which they have now won a record 18 times and three times consecutively.

What this means is that the league trophy will be theirs to keep, just like they did it in 2015 when they successfully won the trophy three times consecutively with coach Frank Nuttall.

And Turkish-Cypriot Hassan Oktay, who has rewritten the records book by getting the team to the Caf Confederation Cup quarter-finals, said in an interview with Nation Sport that none of that happened because he was a magician.

Or that he achieved it with a sprinkle of stardust.

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According to him, it was all the result of unrelenting, unending work, a quest for perfection, a determination that everything should be just right.

So after their match against Posta Rangers this afternoon in Machakos, Oktay and his players will be presented with the crown for the third time in a row and 18th time in their history.

The diadem itself is a 12-kg beast of a trophy made of brass that stands a good 90cm tall and 60cm wide, and which was made by hand in Italy.

The gem arrived in Kenya on October 2015 having cost some Sh1.5 million, and was unveiled in pomp and glamour as a replacement for the old silverware that was permanently committed to the K’Ogalo trophy cabinets due to their incredible feat of having won the top flight league in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Gor have lost their last three home games to Nzoia Sugar, KCB, Bandari and Kariobangi Sharks. They have conceded only 22 goals making them the team with the meanest defence in the 18-team league.

In addition, the champions will receive a cash prize of Sh4.8 million, an amount which is viewed by many as too little for all their effort.

“By Kenyan standards the amount is just OK, but if you place that money against our expenditure, you realise that it is quite little. And it is a challenge for the organisers. They need to raise the cash prize up to at least Sh10 million.

“Our budget for the year for example, covering salaries alone, comes to around Sh65 million. If you add the travels locally and to continental competitions it comes to about Sh120 million.

So to receive Sh4 million is really not much, although we have to be realistic because we do not have that much money in the league,” said Gor’s deputy secretary general Ronald Ngala.

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