Immediately Gor Mahia FC realized that their tactician Roberto Oliveira will not be allowed to be on the bench for lacking a CAF A license, an alternative had to be found. Perhaps a very short window and contractual obligations, the club could not hire a foreign tactician to come and take charge of the boys for the CAF assignments. Time was however not at their disposal this round. A solution had to be found. In a quick and ‘surprising’ move that shocked many, the club turned to their former player and tactician. Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo was brought on board.
Sammy, a former Kenyan international, was brought into place to stand in as Gor Mahia’s tactician for the CAF assignments. A former member of playing unit and the technical bench, the Posta Rangers FC had all the reasons at the back of his head as to why performance was key at the club.
Members of the Green Army expected nothing less a convincing win bearing in mind that the club was in limbo. He unreluctantly took over the job. He was just a child coming back to rescue his parents burning house.
Reasons as to how the club arrived at him to take charge remain wide and scanty to date. The only thing which we can do now is to speculate that his prior knowledge of the club were the reasons that the top honchos of the club decided to bring him on board.
In his first leg match in Rwanda against APR FC in Kigali, the team lost in 2-1 scoreline. Conceding an own goal and scoring one goal led to the narrow lost. All that the club needed was to bank on the away goal rule.
Sammy Omollo against APR FC in Nairobi
The tactician knew perfectly well what awaited them in the return leg last Saturday. Everything was at stake for him and the club. There was no time to gamble neither was their time for guesswork. All that the club needed was a win. With the away goal at hand, the club needed to maintain a 1-0 scoreline in Nairobi. An aggregate tie in the Nairobi duel was going to force the two giants to go for the decisive penalty shoot-out. For Sammy Omollo, penalty shoot-outs were never to be part of his game plan of the day.
All that he wanted was a convincing win on fairgrounds. That was going to enable ‘his’ team move to the next stage of the competitions.
For the Brazilian tactician Roberto Oliveira, all that he had to go was to give Sammy Omollo the blessings of steering the team forward. The Brazilian made appearances at the Camp Toyoyo grounds where the stand-in coach tried his magic out.
Bearing in mind the enormous task ahead of him, the former Tusker FC coach made sure that he sharpened his strikers. He gave them all that they needed to win the match.
Reached out by Daily Nation on his game plan for the day, Sammy Omollo was more categorical on what he had planned. “I am targeting at least three goals from my strikers to be sure of qualifying for the first round. It will be a tough match but we have our game plan which we have to stick to”.
True to his words and targets, Gor Mahia FC won the match with 3-1 score line to their advantage.
He managed to prove all the naysayers wrong and steered the club to another round of the competition.
Sammy the unsung hero
Achieving what Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo achieved with the club is not a joke neither is it a child’s play. Steering a team coached by a different tactician to another level. The win spoke a lot about the former K’ogalo and Kenyan International.
He proved to the naysayers and doubting Thomases of what he can do.
Taking it from a different angle of view, the win has a lot for the giant club to learn. There lies more than meet the eye.
As Gor Mahia continues their tendency of hiring foreign coaches, what Sammy Omollo did should be enough proof that we have enough manpower in the country. In the recent past, the hiring of foreign-based coaches for the club has proved to be another nightmare. As often revealed by situations, the foreign coaches have found a norm of coming to the club to boost their CVs.
As it stands, its undeniable fact that Gor Mahia has many former players in the calibre of Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo who can coach the team. In the past, the club has had Bolly ‘Six Dollar Man’ Ogolla as their head coach.
Before his appointment, Ogalla formed a pool of former players of the club. Remembered as among the best defenders the country has ever seen, Ogolla helped in rebuilding Gor Mahia to the team it is today.
Other than Ogolla and Pamzo, James Siang’a has also turned up to coach the club in the past. Siang’a is attributed to orchestrating performance revolution at the club ten years ago. After seeing the club’s sterling dwindling down, the experienced tactician helped to rebuild a new Gor Mahia back in 2010.
For continuity, the club needs to find a way in which the club can be coached by former players.
Which way now?
Qualifying to the next round of the competition doesn’t still mean well for the club. There is a lot that needs to be done going forward. Gor Mahia is still not off the hook. They still risk a lot as what hangs on their neck is still to heavy for them to handle. Unless the club pump in rare show of intelligence, all is still not okay.
For now, the club can’t primarily rely on the Posta Rangers tactician as a solution to their problems. With the league having kicked off, the tactician will have to go back and focus on his job at Posta Rangers.
FKF having banned Roberto Oliveira from coaching the defending champions during league matches, the club must now move very fast to solve their issues. Putting house in order is a better word for them.
The club therefore needs to find a solution in the shortest time possible.
Having learned the hard way, there is again no reason for the club to hire coaches with maximum qualifications.
One may pose and ask what are the qualifications of Gor Mahia’s assistant coach? At a time like this, he should have been the one taking charge of the club in absentia of his boss.
With league title to defend, domestic league fixtures and CAF matches ahead of them, Gor Mahia must get ready to w3alk in a very tight rope.
For the sake of Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo, we can only hope that Gor Mahia gives a chance to their former players as coaches of the club.
This will help in cutting down the recurrent cost of hiring foreign coaches. It will as well help in ensuring that the traditions of the giant club are tightly kept.
Time is now!