Luring the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) to your camp will always bring excitement. It does not only show the ambitions being laid by your club but it sends a message to the rivals that you will be settling for nothing but the best; and that is exactly the feeling in the Gor Mahia camp with the acquisition of Kenneth Muguna.
In a time when many clubs, in and out of the country were after his services, the Green Army acted swiftly to lure the ex-Western Stima man in a bid to boost its side but the question that lingers points to the place he will slot with the array of stars scrambling for the same position he plies in the team.
Bar versatility and the addition of some players before the window closes, Gor Mahia has classified Collins Okoth, Amos Nondi, Ernest Wendo, Francis Kahata, Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza, Teddy Osok, Kenneth Muguna, Philemon Otieno and Oliver Maloba as its midfielders - and the debate begins as to who should slot where when the serious business of the 2017 season begins.
Muguna’s addition is a monumental boost to the entire quad, a statement of intent from the club and manager Ze Maria according to the fans, add Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza to that equation, and you have players who will greatly improve the midfield grade at the club.
But the debate is whether Ze Maria will stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation or 3-5-3 (depends on how you want to see it) he favored last season and or whether, in order to better accommodate Muguna, he will opt for a 4-3-3 formation.
Opting for the 4-3-3 would better suit not only Muguna but would also benefit Francis Kahata, Olivier Maloba, Jean Mugiraneza , Teddy Osok, Ernest Wendo basically everyone but Meddie Kagere.
The 4-2-3-1 or the 4-4-2 is the only system that can be used in order to accommodate both Jaqcues Tuyisenge and Meddie Kagere. A switch to 4-3-3, with would mean choosing between Kagere and Kagere for the No.9 role. It seems like an obvious choice to just about everyone with a semi-working set of eyeballs, but it appears to be a decision that Ze Maria isn’t ready to make yet. But perhaps Muguna’s arrival will change that? we’ll see.
Beyond Muguna, there are a few question marks among Gor’s midfield options. Collins Okoth had been frozen out of the first-team squad but he is back again starting with the club’s trip to the club. Teddy Osok is back, alongside Olivier Maloba whose team City Stars was relegated, they have a lot to prove.
Mugiraneza entry would mean either Okoth, Osok or Wendo give way or Ze Maria picks one player to partner the Rwandese if he is to use two defensive midfielders - a decision that will jeopardize the progress of the attacking midfielders. Muguna will add legs to the midfield, but do you really want to play him alongside Francis Kahata (as a 10) in the attacking front and leave Kagere out of the equation?
Many have suggested that Mugiraneza can play as a left back (I don’t remember any games he played in that position well) and that Okoth will combine with Muguna and Kahata in midfield. That is if George Odhiambo and Amos Nondi ply the wings with Tuyisenge as the main striker but where does that leave Godfrey Walusimbi, one of the faithful servants of the club? The new players would like to impress butjust as any other reasoning being, they know that to crack it in the midfield, they will have to go that extra mile. It will be a task worth cherishing.
It would be great to see Olivier Maloba given some game time in one of the midfield positions, though it seems he will more likely find minutes in cup competitions, deputizing in the major games. Similarly, many would love to see Amos Nondi get minutes under his belt in his favored midfield role but the club’s youth team graduate is more likely to be farmed out by the new signings.
So question marks remain over how exactly Ze Maria will set up his midfield this season, and there are some players who need to find their best form, but there can be no doubt that GorMahia have midfield quality in abundance.