By Cliff Nyakwar Dani
“The first thing is to change the energy. We have to try and engage everyone… I want the staff and everyone at the club with the same mindset. We have to build a culture that has to sustain the rest. If we don’t have the right culture, in difficult moments, the tree is going to shake.”
These were the words of Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta, when he took over as the club’s Head Coach in December. The import of this conversation was that for the club to overcome the crisis they were in, everybody associated with it had to be on board. The energy had to be right from the boardroom, to the training ground to the terraces.
This is the challenge that faces our EC in their new term. Anyone who has been here long enough will agree with me that the energy among K’Ogalo faithful is at an all-time low. There is a sense disillusionment among the club`s long-term fans. The so called “jotene” seem to have resigned to fate and have embraced the “Pak Gor Idog Odi” mantra (loosely translated to mean just attend Games and go back home).
They are no longer interested in contributing ideas that will help propel the club forward. They no longer want to “own” the club that they love.
Prior to the just concluded elections, most of the fans who had registered as members of the club elected not renew their membership, subsequently being removed en masse from the members` group. Most of them had genuine reasons for not renewing their membership.
They argued that they never felt the impact of being referred to as “members” beyond belonging to a common WhatApp group. Not even the prospect of missing out on the club elections could reenergize most of them to reconsider their stand and renew their membership.
We all agree that our match day attendance has significantly gone down. Even the Mashemeji Derby seems to have lost its lure and does not attract the numbers it did 2-3 years ago. Few years ago, it was almost sacrilegious for a Gor Mahia fan to be outside the stadium while the club anthem is being sung.
Today, some of these very fans do not even care to look at the Kenyan Premier League fixtures to know when the club is playing. In fact, Gor Mahia Youth matches seem to be more attractive to the “jotene” more than the senior team games.
This must change. The new officials have their work cut out. They must burn the midnight oil to reinvent the energy with which the Green Army has always been associated. They must find a way of making the fans own this great club. They must be seen to be working to make the club better for fans’ consumption. We must move forward as one whole unit.