Nairobi — Barely three days after the Council of East African Football Associations (CECAFA) Secretary General Nisholas Musonye announced that record Kenyan Champions Gor Mahia have been suspended from the Kagame Cup for two years, the club has come out to offer an apology.
Musonye announced on Saturday that K'Ogalo had been banned from the annual championship due to their behavior after failing to go to the podium and collect their third placed team medals after the final last Friday.
Team Manager Jolawi Obondo on Tuesday expressed the team's apology for their behavior which he said came about after a mix-up about the Sh1mn (10,000USD). Which they learnt while on queue for the medals would be wired to the Gor Mahia team account.
"One of the CECAFA officials came to where the players were then explained to the boys that the money will not be in cash but will be wired to the team's account in Nairobi. The boys lost their heads at that point with that message. They expected to share the money from there like 2015 and maybe use it to buy a few things. This was the disappointment, but it went overboard," Obondo said.
In delivering his apology, Obondo added that they were extending the same to the Gor Mahia office who might have felt that the team had lost trust in them in raising concern that the money would be going into the club account as opposed to being handed over in cash.
However, Capital Sport learns that the players felt they would get a lesser amount had the money landed with the office, picking their experience from the SportPesa Super Cup in May.
"We are apologetic to CECAFA because that was their ceremony and more so to our friend and part of us Mr. Musonye (Nicholas) that it was not intended to degrade the level of CECAFA but it was an unfortunate incident that we have to accept,"
"To err is to human; We made an error as human beings and we ask to be be forgiven," added the Team manager.
Meanwhile, Obondo has refuted that the team refused to use their allocated dressing room in their semi-final match against Azam due to belief in black magic, saying they declined to use the dressing room due to the stench emanating from it.
Alleging underhand tactics from Azam, Obonyo said the dressing room smelt of 'something not human', alleging that it might have been liquids used to preserve dead bodies.
"We as Gor we do everything in prayer. We refused to go into the dressing room not because of rituals or juju; the simple reason why we did not go into that dressing room was because of the stench,"
"I called the CECAFA management and told them it was unbearable, and they also concurred and agreed that something had been done in the dressing room. They are the ones who suggested and showed us a place to use, they even brought chairs for us," Obondo said.
He also insinuated that before playing the final, Simba SC also twice refused to use the dressing room over the same reason. In 2015 when they lost 2-0 to Azam in the final, Obondo said they experienced the same thing.
"We called our opponents and told them that if the think whatever was there was normal, then let's change dressing rooms. They refused," Obondo further said.
Another issue that came up in Gor's Dar es Salaam sojourn was the state of their team hotel which they immediately rejected on arrival and they were moved to another hotel, the same they used in 2015.
"With a lot of respect, it was pathetic; the food was not to any standards and we consulted them and informed them Gor cannot stay in such a hotel. They accepted and agreed to move us to another hotel which we accepted, the same we used in 2015, this was sorted amicably," Obondo noted.
Meanwhile, it is left to be seen whether CECAFA will lift the ban even after Musonye said the decision was final and could not be appealed.