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Political bigwigs jostling for K’Ogalo’s attention ahead of big final

Key figures in Kenya’s political divide are jostling for the attention of Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia ahead of their showdown with Tanzanian moneybags Azam in the final of the Cecafa Club Championship on Sunday afternoon in Dar es Salaam.

And the politicians are seeking the club’s favour in the best way they know – by showering K’Ogalo with cash money.

Leading from the front is Cord leader Raila Odinga, who is in the Tanzanian capital, and Deputy President William Ruto who donated Sh 1 million and Sh 500,000 with another pledge of Sh 500,000 from the former Prime Minister irrespective of the match’s outcome.

Ruto’s donation was delivered to the team on Sunday morning by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. Last month before the team departed for the tournament, the legislator gave out Sh 200, 000 towards the team’s trip to Dar.

FRIENDLY BANTER

Kuria recently requested the club to consider playing their Kenyan Premier League matches in his backyard when the on-going construction of Gatundu Stadium is complete.

“I like Gor Mahia as a club and I want to ask top management to consider having Gatundu Stadium as their home ground when the new stadium is passed fit to host matches,” Kuria said at the time.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria (right) with Gor Mahia official at the club's hotel in Dar es Salaam.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria (right) with Gor Mahia deputy coach John “Bobby” Ogolla (centre) and FKF Nyanza NEC member Tom Alila at the club’s hotel in Dar es Salaam.

In June DP Ruto flew Gor Mahia players to honour a Kenyan Premier League match against Tusker in Kisumu a gesture that sparked off friendly banter between the club’s fans and their hater on the social media.

The debate got so heated with a section of Gor Mahia hard-line fans suggesting that it is wrong for a club as big as mighty K’Ogalo to walk on the streets with a begging bowl.

Raila, who doubles up as the club’s patron, is in Tanzania with his daughter Rosemary.

UNIFYING FACTOR

Other high profile politician that at in Dar to cheer K’Ogalo are Senator Mike Sonko, former Youth Fund boss Gor Semalang’o, Football Kenya Federation Deputy President Robert Asembo and popular blogger Robert Alai.

The Kenyan Premier League champions have also received messages of goodwill from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Cord leader Raila Odinga shakes hands with Gor Mahia captain Jerim Onyango at the team's hotel in Dar es Salaam.
Cord leader Raila Odinga shakes hands with Gor Mahia captain Jerim Onyango at the team’s hotel in Dar es Salaam.

But it is not hard to see why the club has become a unifying factor for political foes who on normal circumstances thrive in tearing each other apart.

On the pitch Gor Mahia has performed tremendous so far this season for a club that is perpetually in financial limbo.

From not winning a single match in the 2014 edition of the Cecafa tourney, this time round K’Ogalo has breezed past their opponents in resounding fashion.

Going into Sunday afternoon’s final against Azam, Gor Mahia are yet to lose a match in six outings.

No wonder everyone now wants to share in the glory of Gor Mahia; and they must be allowed to do so!