Exclusive: How Benson Omalla’s deal to Algeria broke down last minute

6th February 2024

The Gor Mahia striker was on the verge of completing a deal to Algeria's JS Saoura until the deal fell through last minute.

Benson Omalla. PHOTO| SportPesa
Benson Omalla. PHOTO| SportPesa
  • Omalla received an offer to join JS Saoura on a six-month loan deal.
  • Gor Mahia would pocket 3.2 million shillings for the transfer.
  • The Kenyan international was also offered a tantalizing package that included a net salary Ksh 1,312,720 per month, a house, a personal car, match bonuses and medical insurance cover.

On Monday morning, followers of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) woke up to the huge news that Harambee Stars and Gor Mahia striker Benson Omalla was set to join Algerian top-flight side JS Saoura, as exclusively revealed by SportPesa News.

According to details of the transfer agreement proposed by the club, Omalla, who is the current top scorer in the league with 9 goals, was to join the Algerian outfit in a six-month loan deal that would see K’Ogalo pocketing USD 20,000 (circa Ksh 3,274,235) as the transfer fee.

The Kenyan international was also offered a tantalizing package that included a net salary of $8,000 (approximately Ksh 1,312,720) per month, a house, a personal car, match bonuses and medical insurance cover once the contract was signed.

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However, in a painful twist of the events, the deal between the two parties was not signed as news broke out that Saoura had pulled out from the party.

SportPesa News tries to make sense of how the deal is said to have fallen through.

Thursday 1 February

Sources close to the deal at Gor Mahia told SportPesa News that K’Ogalo only received the official offer from Saoura on Thursday.

Internal talks then took place as to whether to sanction the move or not and after discussing with head coach Johnathan McKinstry on Thursday night, a green light was given to allow the player to make the move.

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Friday 2 February

Papers are said to have been signed and sent back on Friday.

SportPesa News understands that the player should have flown out of the country by that time since Saoura had indicated that they would only make the payment once they complete the deal on the Transfer Matching System (TMS) and after the player conducts medical tests upon a physical visit.

“JS Saoura will make payment of the loan compensation only after receipt of the TMS, and the player's physical and medical visits,” the document read.

Omalla however was still in the country and featured in Gor Mahia’s game against Kenya Police on Saturday 3 February where their 19-game unbeaten run was curtailed.

By Monday 5 February, Omalla was still in the country when Gor Mahia confirmed that the club had approved the loan transfer of the player.

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“We are happy to announce that our talisman Benson Omalla has moved to JS Saoura in Algeria on loan for the rest of the season. The two clubs have signed a loan agreement with the possibility of a permanent move if the player impresses during the loan period.

As the Executive Committee of Gor, we wish Omalla a good outing there being aware of his immense ability in the field of play and we remain optimistic that these two clubs will foster a good rapport now and in future. Good luck Benson Omalla,” the statement from the Gor Mahia Executive Committee read.

However, a few hours later, news broke that the deal would not be proceeding as planned.

The Algerian club blamed Gor Mahia for delaying to send back signed documents on time as they opted to acquire DR Congo attacker Carl Wunda Ngana instead.

“Good evening friends, we are unable to finalize the deal since we already registered the other foreign player by the time you sent the documents this morning. We gave you several deadlines but you and Gor Mahia took a lot of time to finish,” SportPesa News saw an official communique sent to Gor Mahia.

“We will see if we can buy him again later after the season but please tell the club to make decision early so that we don't pass great opportunity and waste time. We wish Benson the best to finish the season strongly then we see after,” the statement concluded.

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