Caf Champions League: Why Kipkirui missed Gor Mahia game vs CR Belouizdad

K’Ogalo were dumped out of the continental competition after a humiliating 8-1 aggregate loss to the Great Chabab

Gor Mahia forward Nicholas Kipkirui opted to lengthen his stay in his rural home after failing to raise money for rent, instead of playing against CR Belouizdad

The former Zoo FC attacker scored the winning goal as K’Ogalo sealed passage to the second round of the Caf Champions League with an aggregate 4-3 win over Rwandan outfit APR.

He, however, missed the game against CR Belouizdad, where the Kenyan champions bowed out after a humiliating 8-1 aggregate loss.

Prior to the first leg, the forward had requested to leave for his rural home to complete his engagement. He was expected to be back for the return leg which was played on Wednesday, January 6, but he was a no-show.

“Kipkirui has not paid his three-month rent and without salary from his club, things have become tough,” a source close to the player told Goal on Thursday.

“He wished to be part of the team but without financial boost, he could not manage and opted to remain in his rural home. But he is committed to the team, it is only that some things cannot be done without money.”

After Tuesday’s training, Gor Mahia players camped in chairman Ambrose Rachier’s office hoping their dues will be settled, but the administrator did not show up.

The players are owed two months’ salary, stretching back to November last year. Former club organizing secretary Judith Nyangi and some fans chipped in to ensure the players attended training sessions conducted by stand-in coach Sammy Omollo.

In the second leg, K’Ogalo put up an improved performance despite going down 2-1 to the Great Chabab.

Jules Ulimwengu scored K’Ogalo’s opener while Amir Sayoud and Abdelkader Belharane found the back of the net to complete the rout for the Algerian Premier League side.

Ulimwengu, who is fast establishing himself as a dependable striker at Gor Mahia, broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute as he awarded the hosts with an opener.

Gor Mahia started the match looking a more determined side than in the first leg, backed-up by a handful of fans on the stands, and the Ulimwengu goal served to make them even more hopeful of an unlikely turnaround.

A case of few and missed chances became the order for most of the first half as Gor Mahia headed back into the tunnel clutching onto a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, the visitors ventured forward more than in the first half and ended up restricting Gor Mahia in their own area. Belouizdad’s hard work was rewarded in the 79th minute when Sayoud scored the equaliser.

It took the visitors a few minutes to all but bury Gor Mahia’s hopes of a win on the day when Belharane added the second goal in the 84th minute.