Medie Kagere is on the verge of joining Tanzania giants Simba SC from Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Gor Mahia. The move, if confirmed, will surely leave a dent in Gor Mahia’s season with the Rwandese forward having been a cog in a season that has seen them participate in the money stages of the CAF Confederations Cup.
It has been a difficult few days for an average Gor Mahia fan. Many feeling Kagere has betrayed them a big time more so after being reinstated at the club in 2016 when he had nowhere to go to. Others feel Kegere is at the twilight of his career and should make the money while he still can (Simba said to have offered him Ksh 550k a month). For the rival fans, more so from the Leopards camp, Kagere leaving has been a thrilling hymn that should have been sung long ago even before the arrival of the mercury coated sugar in this country.
And the worried fans are just right. Statistics will show you that Kagere is now Gor Mahia's top scorer in the modern era premier league, one goal ahead of Danny Sserenkuma and 8th on the all-time league list behind Sammy 'Jogoo' Onyango, Hesbon Omollo, Allan Thigo, George Yoga, John Chore, Peter Dawo and Laban Otieno (these statistics from my able friend Kogalo Pundit) and it will be detrimental not to think that his departure will not have an impact.
Kagere’s outing this season has seen him bang and set goals and in instances where he has not been present, the team has struggled (as witnessed in the CAF home game against USM Algers); but this shouldn’t call for an alarm. At any club in this country, this would constitute a major crisis, but not Gor Mahia as currently constituted.
Whether the deal is completed or not, it will be a shake of the head, maybe a roll of the eyes. There will be indignation, too, about the clandestine nature of the negotiations from Gor Mahia and what it says about the business of football. Nobody, though, should be particularly shocked.
The problem or rather advantage of performing players is they will always feel that the club owes them. Information has it that Pacman, as he commonly known by his ardent fans isn’t the top earning player at Gor Mahia and this, as expected was going to cause an uproar when negotiating for a new deal. He knows he is the best performer and thus would want to be given ‘enough’ money to complement his efforts. Sadly, as things panned out, that hasn’t happened.
What is not clear in this Kagere saga is whether Ambrose Rachier and his troop had the energy and desire to repel Simba's advances with the same vigour and determination that they showed when luring the striker back to the club. This brings the question that has virtually hung around their big players when their contracts expire: is there any great point keeping a player against his will?
Rachier is a silent assassin in making deals (regarding player recruitment) and his silence would only mean one thing, he is prepared to replace Pacman. They are already angling at adding Ugandan Erisa Ssekisambu who is already in Nairobi to finalize terms. Rachier's concern, of course, is the balance of his team as at now and he will hope that the new recruit will hit the ground running and that coach Dyllan Kerr finds a perfect combination upfront to keep the juggernaut rolling.
Pressure will be on Erisa to replicate Kagere’s output and Kerr will have to incorporate him faster now that games are coming fast and thick. Ephrem Guikan and Jacques Tuyisenge has not had the best of partnership in the games they have played together but that doesn’t mean the partnership can’t work at all; all it needs is a bit of tuning and all will be well (the duo have been scoring at will too). The club can as well bring Samuel Onyango to the fore to boost its attack or redeploy Boniface Omondi. There is a lot of options for Kerr that the only thing that they should miss is Kagere’s vigour and celebrations and not the goals.
It has to be made clear too that the Kagere saga is only angled at their performances at the continental scene, that team would still win this year’s league title even without Kagere. Kagere’s position as one of the most penetrative front player in the KPL is indisputable but that doesn’t mean he can’t be replaced.