Gor Mahia's 'Simiti' reveals specific CAF Champions League targets following league coronation

Gor Mahia's 'Simiti' reveals specific CAF Champions League targets following league coronation

Mark Kinyanjui 18:00 - 24.06.2024

Gor Mahia vice captain Geoffrey 'Simiti' Ochieng has revealed the club's specific CAF Champions League target after lifting their 21st league title.

On a sun-drenched Sunday in Machakos, Gor Mahia was officially crowned the champions of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL). 

Among the jubilant players celebrating this remarkable achievement was Geoffrey ‘Simiti’ Ochieng, the steadfast left back who has played a pivotal role in the club's successful campaign.

Ochieng, who has captained the team for most of the season in the absence of regular skipper Philemon Otieno, has been a rock in defense. 

His no-nonsense approach and tenacity have provided a solid platform for Gor Mahia’s more creative players to shine. Reflecting on the season, Ochieng credited the unity within the squad as the key to their success.

“I thank God for this season. It was not easy but we appreciate the work that the players, management, and technical team put in. The unity that was put in is what made us achieve this feat,” Simiti told Citizen TV.

Ochieng, who has missed only one match all season, pointed out the Mashemeji Derby against AFC Leopards as the most challenging game they faced. Gor Mahia narrowly won the match 1-0, despite playing over 60 minutes with ten men after Kevin Omondi's red card.

 The derby also saw Ochieng involved in a painful collision with substitute goalkeeper Caleb Omondi as they desperately defended their slim lead.

“The toughest was against our Mashemeji Derby rivals AFC Leopards. We got a red card for the first time which made it very difficult, but we were able to get it over the line,” Ochieng recalled.

Ochieng also identified Muhoroni and Sudi Stadiums as particularly tough venues this season. Muhoroni is notorious for its hostile environment, often restricting media access under the orders of club chairman Moses Adagala.

 While Sudi Stadium is not as hostile, it remains a challenging ground where Nzoia, despite their struggles, always pose a significant threat.

“Muhoroni and Sudi Stadium. I would pick them out as the toughest grounds to play,” Ochieng noted.

Looking ahead to the CAF Champions League

Gor Mahia’s success in the domestic league has set the stage for their ambitions on the continental front. Historically, the club has found it challenging to progress beyond the preliminary stages of the CAF Champions League. Their best recent achievement was reaching the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup in 2019.

Ochieng is optimistic about Gor Mahia’s chances in the upcoming CAF Champions League, citing the strong bond and understanding among the players as crucial factors.

“The focus now is to try and reach the group stages, or even get to a step above - the quarters. Everyone is prepared for that continental challenge given the squad that we have,” he asserted.

For Ochieng, the journey with Gor Mahia is both a career highlight and a stepping stone. Having established himself as a key player, he is eager to continue growing and perhaps, in the future, move to a higher level in his career.

“For every player, we work to achieve something in life. I was somewhere before I joined Gor Mahia and I am sure soon, I will get a chance to go to the level of those playing above me,” Ochieng reflected.

As Gor Mahia basks in the glory of their latest FKFPL title, the team, led by influential players like Geoffrey ‘Simiti’ Ochieng, is already looking ahead.

 With pre-season tournaments on the horizon and the daunting challenge of the CAF Champions League looming, Gor Mahia is determined to build on their domestic success and make a mark on the continental stage. For Ochieng and his teammates, the unity and tenacity that brought them this far will be crucial as they aim to conquer new heights.

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