You loved his debut piece on this blog, you sure got to love his second. Superfoota’s friend @v_agan this time round takes a look at the Gor Mahia situation. Second bite of the cherry, almost typical circumstances and the question he puts forward is- Can Gor Mahia bag the title this time round?
It was Saturday 10th November, 2012; the last day of the KPL season. Gor Mahia were locked at the top of the table with defending champions Tusker, a point the only thing separating the two best sides of the campaign with a match to go.
On the touchline that day for the Tuzo sponsored outfit was one Zdravko Logarusic. The Croat had taken the reigns from Bobby Ogola, his eventual assistant, who was serving as caretaker coach after the club had parted ways with Zedekiah Zico Otieno and then Anaba Awono.
The flamboyant Croat had inherited a young and exciting team that had gone close years before but lacked the consistency to win the league. And almost immediately, he seemed to have the winning formula when he led the green army on a sensational run that placed an opportunity to lift the Kenya Premier League title in their hands with just a match to go, a feat they’d achieved last 17 years before. The task looked straightforward on the day; Beat United or match Tusker’s result and the title would be theirs.
As fate would have it, it wasn’t to be. Logarusic’s boys played out 1-1 draw with Thika United while Tusker thrashed City Stars 3-0 to retain the title.
We were prepared to take the maximum points and win the league title but the final results disappointed us.- Logarusic after the Thika final day draw.
His words best epitomized the confidence in the team and eventual disappointment with the outcome.
He stayed on for a chunk of the 2013 season but mixed results, albeit during a period of instability within the club, and allegations of misconduct on his side would strain his relationship with both the administration and fan base. And just like that Logarusic was gone!
Fast forward to today: It’s another season and Bobby Williamson is at the helm for the Nairobi based club. The former West Bromwich Albion striker has masterminded an incredible set of results that has seen them sit 7 points clear at the top of the table with 47 points after 24 matches.
Even so, it is not hard to understand the guarded optimism within the club fraternity and the general feeling from observers that this might just be another instance of the 12 time champions showing promise but coming just shot.
Coach Williamson also seems to downplay their current position and instead diverting the attention to the work that is ahead of them, rightly I must insist.
Well, we are in a position that every club would like to be at this stage. We however should not celebrate until when we win the title, and that depends on our performance in the remaining matches- cautions Williamson.
With Thika United (again), Sofapaka, KCB and Ulinzi among the hurdles to be crossed, these utterances reveal that the 2012 CECAFA Cup winner with Uganda Cranes knows too well that only the right mixture of craft and graft will do to navigate these fixtures.
I’m not predicting a déjà vu outcome for Gor, no. If anything I think they might just go one better this season and come out tops. The past disappointments should only be lessons and not hindrances, especially for a group of players that have gained experience as a unit over 3 or 4 seasons so we should expect less mistakes and more composure in critical moments.
If that comeback against a rampant AFC Leopards side to earn a 2-2 draw, a match they looked dead and buried, is not a good enough motivation then nothing is.
In my opinion, the change of coaches from Zico to Logarusic to Williamson has seen an improvement in the coaching department at every instance. Noticed how I ignored the Cameroonian guy?
That and a consistent squad who have grown together look to me, not as a game of musical chairs as it’s been made out to be at times, but a revolution of a squad into a team of champions… if they do see out these fixtures.