Before I write my column today I want to make one personal statement: that I am a diehard Gor Mahia fan and is not about to change.
Granted, the club has given me many heartaches in our love affair stretching back some 30 years but I am not letting go after all any healthy relationship must have its ups and downs.
Far be it removed from me to forsake K’Ogalo despite the many pestilences it has visited upon my tent over the years.
Be that as it may, today I want to congratulate the largely underrated team from the Coast, Bandari FC for their sterling performance against US Ben Guerdane in the Caf Confederation Cup whom they pushed into the sea just over two weeks ago.
Snatching victory from the jaws of a predicted defeat is no mean feat and it was even sweeter that this happened in faraway Tunisia. Gor Mahia fans will recall that since the 1987 Nelson Mandela Cup which we lifted, our campaigns in Tunisia have always come a cropper, receiving whipping as regular as the chiming of a cathedral’s watch tower.
Coach Bernard Mwalala must be congratulated for a job well done and what he told a local news site just after the Tunisia miracle is worth quoting.
“In football it is all about 90 minutes, they had their first half they did what they did and we came in the second half with a plan of getting a goal and defending well and more attacking and it is what we did exactly so I think our plan worked and this is good result for Bandari and Kenyan football at large.” My point exactly and it would be belabouring the point when I stress that at the stage where they are, Bandari are now playing for the flag and country. Not for the Miji Kendas. Not for the Wamvita or the Waamu but for all of us.
It, therefore, behoves all Kenyans from Lokichoggio and Mandera to the north to Vanga to the south as well as from Liboi to the east to Lwakhakha to the west to rally behind the Dockers and give them all the support they need.
Two things Gor Mahia management can learn from Bandari. First, the players are the raison d’etre of a football club. You can hire the best coach money can buy, put up the best club house and even get fans for hire. But if you do not invest in your players you are doomed to fail.
I am reminded of an incident when Gor Mahia was to play in one of the Arab countries and the net almost broke with pitiful players sleeping on the floor at an airport.
That in itself is no offence and I have done that many times. But then again I had no crucial football match to play at my destinations.
I have seen that the club’s patron Daniel Manduku is having a personal interest in the team which is really the best thing to do.
Meanwhile I have also heard of some murmurs that the natives of the Coast want the club to be in their hands.
My advice: The moment you bring in tribalism into the club will be the beginning of the end.