Western Stima hold Gor, AFC Leopards settle for Hall as coach

By alex wafula
Oct 19, 2021
  • Wellington Ochieng of Gor Mahia sandwiched between Brian Marita and Herbert Kopany in a mid week match which ended 2-2. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Stewart Hall in a past match while in charge of Sofapaka.

Gor Mahia, the Kenyan Premier League defending champions will need more than just a touch of luck to retain their title after a 2-2 draw with Western Stima on Wednesday evening.

They are now six points behind leaders Tusker FC. K’Ogalo were headed for a morale boosting 2-1 win over the power men, but the stadium sunk into deafening silence in the second minute of added time as substitute Bernard Ondiek sneaked in behind everyone to head in a Wesley Onguso long throw.

“It is not over. Still, we have four matches to play and a six point difference. Today, I cannot say my players didn’t do their best. We have played two very tough matches within three days. It’s not easy,” a dejected Jose Marcelo Ferreira, the Gor Mahia coach said after the match.

Tusker need only seven points from the remaining four matches to clinch their 11th league title.

In this match, Ferreira’s men came from a goal down to lead 2-1. A controversial penalty scored by Enock Agwanda and Godfrey Walusimbi’s header 13 minutes from time brought them closer to Tusker, but a lapse in concentration shattered their dreams.

Henry Omino, the Western Stima coach was left frustrated especially after the penalty which he says brought Gor Mahia back into the game. “We deserved to get three points today. If you look at how we played, it was the referee who handed Gor a lifeline,” Omino alleged.

K’Ogalo started with a punch. Wellington Ochieng who started at right back  at in the absence of regular Karim Nizigiyimana had Gor’s first chance in the 10th minute but his header was wide after Walusimbi volleyed back a half-hearted Western Stima clearance from a corner.

Western Stima did not hold back. Kenneth Mugambi was impressive in midfield, clearly coming out top over Anthony ‘Baggio’ Mbugua who had been given his first Gor start in the absence of injured Ernest Wendo.

Stima had their first chance in the 23rd minute but Boniface Oluoch foiled Brian Marita’s attempt. The enterprising winger outmuscled Gor left back Eric Ouma for the ball on the right before driving into the box, but Oluoch managed to pick the ball at full stretch.

Decent chance

Ochieng had Gor’s other decent chance in the half but he side-footed wide after doing well to break the offside trap and connect to a Harun Shakava cross. Jacques Tuyisenge had an effort parried away by Gabrial Andika after breaking into the box and from the counter, Stima scored.

Mugambi picked up the ball in the midfield, spread out to Marita who crossed low to Kennedy Otieno slotted the ball into the bottom right of Oluoch’s goal.

In the second half, injured Musa Mohammed came off for Innocent Wafula. The change meant Wafula who hasn’t started a single match for Gor in two months slotted at right back while Ochieng moved to centre back alongside Shakava.

Six minutes into the half, Agwanda levelled matters from the spot after Tuyisenge was brought down inside the box.

Western Stima could have reclaimed the lead five minutes later but Oluoch produced a fine save to deny former Gor boy Herbart Kopany.

With Stima winning the midfield battle, Ferreira brought out Mbugua for Collins Okoth who had returned to the team after close to six weeks of self-imposed exile.

Gor continued to pile pressure and left back Ouma came close but his shot from a distance was wide. The pressure yielded fruit with 13 minutes left, Walusimbi sneaking in to head past Andika after Wafula’s cross had deflected off a defender.

But what they thought was a win turned out to be sour grapes with Ondiek’s late goal.

New coach

Elswehere, AFC Leopards have settled on former Sofapaka and Azam FC coach Stewart John Hall. He has a two-year contract. Hall left Azam in April and is expected to join his new employers next week.

The Englishman was in a final shortlist of three which included another former Sofapaka coach, Ugandan Sam Timbe who is currently with Ugandan outfit Police FC alongside Frenchman Didier Gomis de la Rosa, a former Rayon Sports coach.

“Hall topped our wish-list because he satisfied most of the things we were looking for and had so much extra to offer. We have made mistakes before in selecting coaches and this time we were very careful not to do the same. He has succeeded with Azam and his principles go in line with what we as a club stand for,” AFC Leopards deputy Secretary General Elijah Stazo Omung’ala said.

Hall takes over from Belgian Ivan Minnaert who was sacked early September after seven months in charge. Hall’s first tenure in Kenya came in 2012, but he lasted less than two months after resigning to rejoin Azam who had earlier sacked him after two years in charge.

Said Omung’ala:  "We will give Hall a free hand to select his own assistants as well as players he wishes to work with.”

Sources close to Sports News Arena say Timbe was close to getting the job but a last minute change in mind meant Hall was favored for the role. De la Rosa who coached Rayon Sport up to 2013 had demands, including salary and facilitation which the club could unfortunately not meet.

Hall will spend the remaining four games assessing the squad which is currently handled by Ezekiel Akwana and Nicholas Muyoti.

Meanwhile, Football Kenya Federation is expected to hold a hearing on Friday where former coach Minnaert has sued the team for wrongful dismissal.

Minnaert who could be headed back to Rwanda with Rayon Sport as technical director argued that the club did not give sufficient reasons for dismissal. He is demanding a full payment amounting to Sh 7.3 million ($72,000) for the remaining 18 months of his contract.

“Our client’s belief is that he has been maliciously dragged through a stage managed disciplinary inquiry and the action to dismiss him was illegal, wrongful, unfair and inhumane. As a result of the unlawful termination and unfair treatment he will suffer abrupt loss of income, damage to his reputation and expenses in staying in Kenya to follow up on his dues.” Minnaert’s lawyers said in their letter to FKF.