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AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia on the battle for Makwatta's signature

09:52 SAST 2019/09/03
Ulinzi Stars striker Mark Makwatta
The K’Ogalo official explains to Goal the club was keen to sign the former Ulinzi Stars forward but the player opted against the move

Gor Mahia have revealed they were in the race to sign striker John Mark Makwatta before transfer deadline day on Monday.

However, the former Ulinzi Stars forward opted against signing for the Kenyan champions and instead, penned a two-year contract with their rivals AFC Leopards.

The transfer move came hours after Gor Mahia held discussions with the striker and even issued him with a cheque of Sh1million as the sign-on fee, but it seems the player changed his mind.

“We were keen to sign John [Makwatta] but he thought otherwise and turned down the offer,” Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda told Goal on Tuesday.

“I don’t know exactly what happened, we did our part as far as the transfer is concerned and even gave him his sign-on fee but later we received the information he had decided to sign for AFC Leopards.

“That is football and these kind of things do happen during the transfer window, and [Makwatta] should now be in a position to explain further why he decided against signing for Gor Mahia.

“We wish him well at AFC Leopards and we don’t regret missing out on signing him because we had already captured the players we wanted in the window.”

When reached for a comment, a top AFC Leopards official, told Goal they were happy to have landed the services of the player.

“We have been following [Makwatta] for a while now and I am happy he finally agreed to join the great club,” the source, who did not want to be named, told Goal.

“I don’t want to talk about what happened with his proposed move to Gor Mahia, all I know several teams were fighting for his services, even Wazito FC, but I can gladly say we are very happy he chose to join the Den.”

Makwatta was among the four players confirmed at the Den on transfer deadline day.

Others are Clyde Senaji signed from Tusker, winger Paul Were who returned to the club after a failed transfer to Europe and left-back Washington Munene from Wazito FC.