Gor Mahia were officially crowned the 2018 SportPesa Premier League champions in Kisumu yesterday. Gor showed pedigree and class this season to clinch their record 17th title.
Gor had won the title with six matches to go; so, their victory against Mathare United was just the icing on the cake.
But that is how far the celebrations go. Gor can only pride itself on local dominance but there is nothing to write home about when it comes to the continental scene.
The performance of other Kenyan clubs — such as AFC Leopards, Tusker and Ulinzi — on the Africa scene can be read from the same script.
Rarely to do they go past the first round. That sums up the local football standards, which have been wanting for a long time.
No Kenyan club has won the Caf Champions League. Gor, however, reached the knockout stage in 1992, when they lost in the quarter-finals.
They are the only Kenyan side, though, to win a continental tournament — Caf Confederation Cup (then Mandela Cup) in 1987.
This year, Gor were relegated to the second-tier Confed Cup, where they also failed to qualify for the knockouts.
Before being crowned, however, Gor players had sent a wrong message when they boycotted training for two weeks, demanding payment of their August salaries and bonuses for eight months.
This is the recipe for failure. It’s wrong for established clubs such as Gor and Leopards to solely rely on betting firm SportPesa to stay afloat, yet they have fan bases that are huge enough to attract alternative sponsors — if only they could inculcate accountability and professionalism in their structures.
National football champions K’Ogalo — and other clubs — need to up their game and aim higher with good signings and effective management if they are to perform well in the lucrative champions’ league, which has a top prize of Sh250 million.