Why CAF omitted Gor Mahia from 2023 Champions League Draw

Why CAF omitted Gor Mahia from 2023 Champions League Draw
Credit: Icon Sport

Gor Mahia was missing from the CAF Champions League draw on the afternoon of 25th July 2023. Now with finality, the decision to omit the 2022/23 FKF Premier League winners from the continental challenge continues to draw raging debate.

The axing of Gor Mahia from the prestigious continental challenge followed a 24-hour ultimatum to pay three former players who had reported Kogallo to FIFA for breach of contract. The former players were from Mali, DR Congo and Burundi. The three players were cumulatively owed Ksh. 7.67 million.

For most Kogallo fans, who have thronged social media after the decision by CAF, the club's management is to blame for the embarrassment they have suffered after widely celebrating the club's 20th title a month ago.

The high-flying Kenyan football club has been facing a host of issues, including failing to pay its former players and lack of adequate sporting facilities. Before the CAF decision, Gor Mahia were set to play their 2023 CAF Champions League matches from the neighbouring country, Tanzania.

Gor Mahia resolves to ban foresign amidst CAF impasse

Amidst the ongoing impasse with CAF, the management of Gor Mahia has decided to slam the door on foreign players.

Club chairman Ambrose Rachier announced the decision after a club meeting.

In a press statement, Rachier expressed his dissatisfaction with the CAF's decision and also blamed the aggrieved former players. The club chairman says they will no longer hire foreign players who only seem to cause problems for Gor Mahia and fail to live up to their contract expectations.

Rachier added that after consulting widely with the club management, they have reached a unanimous decision that Gor Mahia will not be signing foreign players in the foreseeable future.

FKF says dues paid past CAF deadline inconsequential

Gor Mahia misses in CAF Champions League draw
Credit: Icon Sport

While Gor Mahia has paid the dues owed to the former players who reported them to FIFA, it is a little too late. The club made the payments 19 hours after the CAF deadline.

Disappointed Gor Mahia fans must now accept the present reality even as they continue to vent their anger on the club management. In particular, the Rachier-led board has been on many occasions, accused of overstaying their mandate and forestalling corruption.

Previously sanctioned by FIFA

In 2021, FIFA banned Gor Mahia was banned from registering new players after the club failed to pay former players – Malian goalkeeper Adama Keita and Congolese Striker, Sando Yangayay.

However, the World Football Governing body later lifted the ban when Gor Mahia reached an agreement to pay the amount due to the players.

The recent decision by the Confederations for African Football (CAF), lifts the lid on a thorny issue that must now be resolved to avoid problems in the future. Lack of, or even late payments has been a huge concern at Gor Mahia, affecting local players as well.

In the wake of these developments, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has effected CAF's directive of revoking Gor Mahia's CAF Champions League License.

The 20th Gor Mahia League title ends with CAF heartbreak

Gor Mahia's CAF qualifications stalemate has come only a month after they were crowned the 2023/23 FKF Premier League Champions. It was Kogallo's 20th glory in the history of the local competition.

The short-lived joy means Gor Mahia will now go back to the drawing board, to set everything right albeit with no new foreign talent as announced by Rachier.

Article 60 of CAF Licensing Regulations on men's competitions stipulates that clubs must have paid all dues owed to current or former players before participating in the CAF Champions League.

Further, the regulation states that clubs have a grace period of 2 months to honour payments due to players or defer by mutual agreement before the CAF Champions League draw.

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

Okello Steve is a sports enthusiast and a professional writer with an education background in communication and journalism. For over ten years, Okello has been writing for the web, helping startups and new businesses craft engaging sports and casino content on various topics. As a passionate football lover and a supporter of Manchester United , Okello spends his time watching football with friends when he is not writing or into some adventure as a travel hobbyist.