K'Ogalo were kicked out of the CAF Champions League over delayed payment of dues owed to the former players but just how much did they cost them?
Football Kenya Federation’s First Instance Board (FIB) revoked Gor Mahia’s 2023/24 club license last week, effectively kicking them out of the CAF Champions League, and the club will have to contend with a second consecutive season without continental football.
The situation, although already well documented, by now, was guided by Article 16 8(b) of the CAF Club licensing regulations for “violating its obligation” by failing to pay three of its former players on time.
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All the three players were foreigners, namely Mali one-cap goalkeeper Adama Keita, Burundi’s Jules Ulimwengu and towering Congolese forward Sando Yangayay.
Pulse Sports has confirmed the exact amount of money that K’Ogalo have lost, which prompted club chairman Ambrose Rachier to say that the club would not be signing foreign players in future because they add 'no value' to the side, but mostly problems.
Yangayay is the one who took the matter to African governing body CAF on July 18 through his agent, citing that the club had failed to honour its agreement.
The dramatic turn of events forced a crisis meeting between the FIB, Gor Mahia and an unnamed senior government official to discuss the options available but the club was not able to honour the payments nor enter into new agreements with the aforementioned players within the set CAF timelines.
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Speaking to Radio 47 to discuss what next for the club, Rachier claimed that the club was 'unfairly' locked out of the continental competition, insisting they had fulfilled all the requisite requirements set by CAF.
He wondered why the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) seemed unwilling to intervene. “When CAF brought the problem to our attention, we ran up and down and did everything possible to clear the payables before the draw that was conducted on Tuesday. I still believe FKF had enough time to fight for our survival in the competition.”
FKF CEO Barry Otieno, however, insisted in a separate interview on the same station that the federation had asked for CAF to use its annual grant to pay off the player.
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But how much are Gor Mahia losing as a result?
Sando Yangayay, the player that took the club to CAF was owed Ksh2.27 million. Keita, who ended his contract with the club last July citing breach of contract, was owed Ksh4.3 million while Burundi international Ulimwengu was owed Ksh1.1 million, bringing the total to Ksh7.67 million.
Keita was signed in 2021 but was frozen from the squad owing to inconsistent performances, before eventually being axed.
In a statement released by FIFA and obtained by Pulse Sports, Keita was required to be paid accrued dues from January 1 to May 24, 2022, and at the same time, the club was slapped with a four-window transfer ban, but by March 2023, the ban had been lifted after it had appeared as if both parties had reached an agreement.
"[Gor Mahia FC] have to pay [Keita] the following amounts: USD250 as outstanding remuneration plus 5% interest p.a. as from 1 January 2022 until the date of effective payment; USD1,600 as outstanding remuneration plus 5% interest p.a. as from 1 February 2022 until the date of effective payment; USD1,600 as outstanding remuneration plus 5% interest p.a. as from 1 March 2022 [to 1st June 2022] until the date of effective payment; Ksh30,000 as outstanding bonuses plus 5% interest p.a. as from 24 May 2022 until the date of effective payment," reads part of the statement.
In the case of Jules Ulimwengu, he took Gor Mahia to FIFA for not being paid his full dues between July 2021 and August 22, 2022.
Ulimwengu, who joined Gor Mahia in 2020, spent two years at the club, during which he was earning a monthly wage of Ksh150,000. He left for Zambia’s Green Buffaloes after opting not to renew his contract. In an interview with Nation, the player said he did not take the club to FIFA in bad faith.
“I had written to the club but nobody was replying to my letters. I had not been paid for 13 months and it was only fair the club met its end of the bargain. I did not take them to court in bad faith," he said.
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