Gor Mahia will take their pride of place at the high table of regional titans after the Government provided 30 tickets to enable them travel to Tanzania’s 2015 CECAFA Kagame Cup that starts on Friday.
Separately, the club managed to net Sh2.1m from a fundraiser on Tuesday night aimed at offsetting the costs of securing air travel after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) allegedly bailed out on them last week.
“We approached the Government late and they agreed to give us tickets for a contingent of 30. We are waiting for confirmation from the Ministry of Sports since we had booked online,” Ronald Ngala, Gor’s assistant secretary general, told Capital Sport.
“We raised good money although we didn’t hit our target of Sh5.5m. The Sh2.1m we raised will help us clear bonuses and allowances and facilitation of the team in Tanzania. We are ready to go and the team is motivated,” Ngala added ahead of Thursday’s departure for Tanzania.
Among those who answered K’Ogalo’s call and came to the aid back-to-back Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions included outspoken Gatundu South legislator, Moses Kuria, who brought Sh200, 000 and FKF president, Sam Nyamweya, who contributed Sh50,000.
It was barely a week after Nyamweya and his local governing body strenuously denied they had resolved at a Cecafa meeting of regional football chiefs to pay for the air travel of participating teams in a development that saw Gor consider pulling out of the club showpiece.
Kuria arrived at the function held at Nairobi’s Railway Club after walking out of a local television interview before a clip of alleged incitement and hate speech was about to be aired to a rousing reception among the Gor faithful gathered.
Frank Nutall and his boys are bidding to lift the regional crown for the first time since 1985 and have been pooled against local giants, Yanga, KMKM (Zanzibar), Telcom (Somalia) and Al Khartoum of Sudan.
Gor kick-off their campaign against Yanga in the opening clash of the tournament on Saturday in what is their trickiest tie of the preliminary round they failed to progress from last year after three identical 2-1 defeats and a draw.
The five-time Cecafa club champions are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Collins Okoth and Karim Nzigiyimana who are okay to travel but not match fit after suffering knocks in their tense 1-1 draw against Mathare United.
K’Ogalo are yet to lose a match in the top tier domestic league after 18 rounds as a hat-trick of KPL titles beckons with the regional tourney offering them a stiffer challenge to underline their credentials.
Mutwiri is a winner of the Sport Award at the 2008 CNN Africa Journalist Awards. He is a student of Communications at the University of Nairobi and holds a diploma in Mass Communication from KIMC.