How can Kenyan giants Gor Mahia conquer Africa?

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K'Ogalo appear primed to feature in Caf competition next season, but how can they end their track record of poor results?


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It is no secret that Gor Mahia will be crowned the 2017 Kenyan Premier League champions unless something remarkable happens between now and November.

With seven rounds of matches left to the end of the season, Gor Mahia just require six points to lift a record 16th KPL title.

That will hand them another automatic ticket to the continental showpiece - the Caf Champions League - in 2018. Worryingly, however, Kenyan teams have fared rather dismally at the continental stage, with Sofapaka being the only side that have gone past the second round, in 2010 under coach Ezekiel Akwana.

Despite dominating the local scene, anytime a Kenyan champion steps up to the continental arena, results have always been disappointing, to say the least.

With this in mind, Gor Mahia management should begin to plan how to redeem the image of the only Kenyan team to have won a continental showpiece, when they lifted the African Cup Winners' Cup in 1987.

Here are four steps that Gor Mahia need to follow to conquer Africa

Dylan Kerr Gor Mahia coach

Retain the coach

Englishman Dylan Kerr joined Gor Mahia last July.

Since his arrival, the former Simba (Tanzania) and U-18 Chesterfield Academy coach is yet to taste defeat, having gone for 10 league games undefeated.

Kerr has a good grasp of African football having coached elsewhere in East Africa, and in South Africa with Mpumalanga Black Aces. With a coach who is yet to lose a league match, Gor have the confidence and the momentum to return to thrive in the continental stage.

Bandari striker Dan Sserunkuma in action against former club Gor Mahia

Keep the squad intact

Gor Mahia are known to lose some of their best players every new season, and even worse, they leave as free agents.

In 2016, K’Ogalo lost the reigning Kenyan Premier League top scorer Dan Sserunkuma.

The following year, the record Kenyan champions also let go of another Ugandan, Khalid Aucho, on free transfer, and with reports that unsettled midfielder Kenneth Muguna may leave at the end of the season, K’Ogalo's agents need to bring the cheque book to the table and tie down most of their prized assets to long-term contracts.Gor Mahia FC

Beef up the squad

After tying down the core of the playing unit with long-term contracts, Kerr will need to add a few new faces to his squad, as a lack of investment may send the wrong message to the club's existing players.

Adding experienced talents, perhaps those with experience of continental competition, could help Gor make the step up to continental competition.

Gor Mahia have the deadliest attacking forwards in Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge and his countryman Meddie Kagere, and wiith George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo and Muguna pushing from the middle, they can pick teams off in various different ways. 

K’Ogalo, however, need to beef up their defence and goalkeeping areas to back up Boniface Oluoch and Peter Odhiambo.  

Two or three new faces would be ideal for a side so starved of continental glory for close to 30 years.

 

Early preparation

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One of the key undoings of most Kenyan clubs in the continental stage is the country’s league calendar which runs from March to November, and with Caf Champions League competition set for early February, most Kenyan teams find themselves lining up against opponents who are much fitter than they.

This is something that Gor Mahia should take note of by arranging for early preparation.

Kerr should line up a number of high-profile friendly matches with tops team across the continent in order to prepare the KPL heavyweights for the challenges they will face in African competition.

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