Pur­sue con­ti­nen­tal ti­tles

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - OPINION -

Gor Mahia were of­fi­cially crowned the 2018 Sport­pesa Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons in Kisumu yes­ter­day. Gor showed pedi­gree and class this sea­son to clinch their record 17th ti­tle. Gor had won the ti­tle with six matches to go; so, their vic­tory against Mathare United, was just the ic­ing on the cake. But that is how far the cel­e­bra­tions go. Gor can only pride it­self on lo­cal dom­i­nance but there is noth­ing to write home about when it comes to the con­ti­nen­tal scene.

The per­for­mance of other Kenyan clubs — such as AFC Leop­ards, Tusker and Ulinzi — on the Africa scene can be read from the same script. Rarely to do they go past the first round. That sums up the lo­cal foot­ball stan­dards, which have been want­ing for a long time.

No Kenyan club has won the Caf Cham­pi­ons League. Gor, how­ever, reached the knock­out stage in 1992, when they lost in the quar­ter-fi­nals. They are the only Kenyan side, though, to win a con­ti­nen­tal tour­na­ment — Caf Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup (then Man­dela Cup) in 1987. This year, Gor were rel­e­gated to the sec­ond-tier Con­fed Cup, where they also failed to qual­ify for the knock­outs.

Be­fore be­ing crowned, how­ever, Gor play­ers had sent a wrong mes­sage when they boy­cotted train­ing for two weeks, de­mand­ing pay­ment of their Au­gust salaries and bonuses for eight months.

This is the recipe for fail­ure. It’s wrong for es­tab­lished clubs such as Gor and Leop­ards to solely rely on bet­ting firm Sport­pesa to stay afloat, yet they have fan bases that are huge enough to at­tract al­ter­na­tive spon­sors — if only they could in­cul­cate ac­count­abil­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism in their struc­tures.

Ne na­tional foot­ball cham­pi­ons K’ogalo — and other clubs — need to up their game and aim higher with good sign­ings and ef­fec­tive man­age­ment if they are to per­form well in the lu­cra­tive cham­pi­ons’ league, which has a top prize of Sh250 mil­lion.

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