Chemelil Sugar holds Gor in Kisumu, Olunga commits to Djugardens IF in Sweden

By alex wafula
Feb 17, 2016
  • Gor Mahia were held by Chemelil at the start of their Kenya Premier League title defense. (Photo by Shutterspeed).

Pressure is mounting on Gor Mahia, the reigning Kenya Premier League champions after failing to win in their third competitive match this season.

On Wednesday, Gor Mahia were held to a barren draw by Chemelil Sugar in their season opening match at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu on Wednesday afternoon in the Sportspesa-sponsored KPL.

Two weeks ago, the league champions were beaten 2-1 by Bandari in the DStv Super Cup and lost by the same margin to Madagascar champions CNaPS in the CAF Champions League last weekend. They have a tricky tie against Posta Rangers on Sunday in Nairobi.

The absence of Meddie Kagere, Michael Olunga and Victor Ali Abondo who shared a bounty of 65 goals last season appears to have affected the side.

 Against Chemelil, they lost a number of scoring chances with Enock Agwanda and Jacob Keli unlucky. Jerim Onyango started a Premier League match for the first time in 14 months in the absence of regular starter Boniface Oluoch.

According to coach Frank Nuttall, Oluoch missed the game with a back injury, same as Godfrey Walusimbi. But, the exclusion of Oluoch raises eyebrows with an alleged dressing room spat with Nuttall on Saturday after the CNaPS game.

Chemelil coach Francis Baraza had handed a debut to former Tusker FC and Ushuru keeper Samwel Odhiambo who joined the side in January. Other debutants on the side were Victor Majid and Erastus Mwaniki. Defender Willis Ouma who spent last season with Sofapaka has returned to Chemelil.

The hosts had an early chance with dead ball specialist Hillary Echesa seeing a freekick go inches wide. George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo tried his luck on the other end, with a shot that went wide. 

Gor came into the second half a more determined side. Agwanda had an effort sail wide on the hour  after being picked out by Kahata while Omino had a 65th minute shot blocked.

In the 68th minute Nuttall pulled off Agwanda and Omino for Jacob Keli and youngster Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma.

Two minutes later, Jerim Onyango was called into action, stretching to parry a long-range effort from the experienced feet of Hillary Echesa. Despite prerssure in the last minutes there were no goals.

Olunga joins Djugardens FC

As Gor Mahia struggled in his absence, Olunga, the 2015 SPL Most Valuable player signed a four year deal with Swedish top tier side Djugardens IF. Olunga penned the contract after three weeks of trials where he impressed, scoring for the side in friendly matches in Turkey and back home on Sweden.

“Michael "The Engineer" Olunga landed in January and built up great expectations. Some of these have already been met, which means that the Kenyan striker now signs a four-year contract with DIF. The Kenyan striker from Gor Mahia will now play in the blue stripes over the next four years, a signature that is welcomed by many DIF supporters,” the club announced on its official website.

Bosse Andersson, the club’s sporting director said on the official website that Olunga had the qualities they were looking for. He adds Olunga is very ambitious and purposeful, trains hard and always wants to learn and take the next step.

Anderson also noted Olunga made a fantastic impression as a person both on and off the pitch.

Olunga, speaking after penning the deal said he felt welcome at the club and is already looking forward to starting his new job when the Swedish top tier season starts. He says he struggled a bit when he started off the trials but added he has since settled down well.

“It tends to be that when I come to a new team. In the beginning, I have to bring order to their feet and get going, but once I got started the scoring tends to roll on the good. Now I have only played friendlies but it feels like a good level. Everything is very well organized and the quality and training camp has been very good.” Olunga said, adding he sees the opportunity as a spring board to bigger European Leagues.

At the same time, Harambee Stars defender David Ochieng who also attended trials with the side has penned a one year deal with North American Soccer League (NASL) side New York Cosmos. The club announced the deal on Wednesday adding they were impressed with the qualities of the 23-year old Kenyan defender.

“I am very pleased with this new deal. They had approached me a while back but I was still weighing my options with Djugardens in Sweden. I decided to take it because I wasn’t quite sure with the deal in Sweden and I had to come back home and look at the options,” Ochieng told Sports News Arena.

“It is a huge challenge but I am ready for it,” he adds. New York Cosmos are the Champions of the NASL and will begin their title defense in April with the spring season that will roll for 10 matches.

Thereafter, the league will head into the fall season and the top six sides from the second phase of the league qualify for the play offs.