December 6, 2021

Ex-AFC Leopards’ Xavier explains how Gor Mahia can deal with Onyango, Juma exits

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The local heavyweights lost three key stars who were pivotal in their defence of the league titles in the previous three seasons

Former AFC Leopards midfielder Francis Xavier has explained how Gor Mahia can deal with the exit of key players during the last transfer window.

Joash Onyango, Lawrence Juma, and Boniface Omondi left Gor Mahia after they had emerged as key players and now K’Ogalo will have to face their Caf Champions League and Premier League opponents without them.

In another change, Steven Polack also resigned as head coach and Roberto Oliveira was appointed in his place.

“Losing more than two key players generally affects the whole team, all the same, depending on those who will step in, and being professionals I believe they will ensure they catch up fast,” the former Wazito FC team manager told Goal.

“But definitely exits of those players may end up affecting Gor Mahia because losing three players is not something to be taken lightly.”

The former Vihiga United assistant coach, however, pointed out why the Kenyan Champions League ambassadors could end up surprising everyone by advancing further as they deal with the effects of those exits.

“It all depends on mental preparation. But they have an advantage because they have been playing in the tournament for the past four seasons running,” he concluded.

“They know what it takes to be in the Champions League and have every reason to fight and advance.

“Being under different coaches may affect the team in different ways but it all depends on how they accept the transition.

“They can also be motivated by the urge of overcoming the previous season’s hurdles and so such a change may affect them positively or negatively.”

Gor Mahia have been scheduled to face APR of Rwanda in the Champions League preliminary round in Kigali on November 29. They are yet to jet out of the country for the match which will be overseen by stand-in coach Sammy Omollo.

The Posta Rangers coach was specifically appointed to oversee the continental games after Oliveira’s qualification papers were questioned by the Confederation of African Football, thus he was banned from the bench.

The APR game has come when there is also an administrative rift between the club’s chairman Ambrose Rachier and the Secretary-General Sam Ochola over the StarTimes sponsorship deal.